Bread - batch bake

For starters, please don’t get me wrong; I love French bread and there are a number of excellent Boulangeries in the town, 8km away.
But I also love making my own bread; nothing fancy, quick, one-step yeast and a really good (and cheap) flour which I found in Carrefour. Trouble is, I’m a victim of my own success and we go through quite a lot of loaves. I’d like try batch baking four loaves at a time but, as each takes about 10 minutes to mix and knead and I can only do one at a time, each loaf is proved and ready to go into the oven at a different time.
I’d really like to fill the oven and cook them all together (they freeze beautifully). So I have two thoughts: Mix and knead all four loaves then knock back loaves 1, 2 and 3 so that they all prove at the same time or, put each mixed loaf into fridge as it is prepared and then take them all out to prove together. Are there any baking friends out there with helpful suggestions; sadly, buying a mixer that will handle 3.2kg of dough is not an option!
Best wishes for the New Year

1 Like

Sourdough is healthier.


Our (sour)dough sits in the fridge for 17 hours or so, so I don’t think an hour or so in the fridge will over prove standard yeast bread.

Those time differences don’t seem that great for bread. Do all the loaves have to be exactly the same? If so then I would say the best chance is to prove them all in the fridge overnight. But I’m not even sure that’s necessary if you’re not using sourdough/poolish or some complex yeast.

If I used the fridge I’d take them all out and give them an hour, maybe a bit more depending on your kitchen temp till the dough springs back and it warms up a bit, then bake.

TBH I’d be more worried about putting 4 cold loaves into the oven at once and the effect on temperature and air being able to circulate round them depending on your oven size - I might be tempted to put the oven temp up a bit for when they go in then down after 5-6 minutes if they are small loaves.

1 Like

Hi Karen

Thanks for your helpful answer.

The last point you make, about oven temperatures, is one which has troubled me, also. I know I can bake 2x500g loaves together with no problem, save the proving. More than that is experimental and will indeed depend on the oven having enough “oomph” to come quickly back up to temperature after the bread goes in. On the plus side, it’s a fan oven so the hope is that the heat will be distributed fairly evenly around the pans.
Failing that, the local birds can expect to put on a bit of weight!

Do you put a dish of hot water in the oven when you bake?

Indeed I do - on the oven floor.

1 Like

Yes I was hesitating F. After all, some say you should bake bread in a rising oven. But for me such tips are in the realm of heating a roasting dish in the bottom of the empty oven when you’re pre-heating, then as you chuck the bread in to bake, also toss a trayful of ice cubes into the hot roasting pan so the bread ‘steams’…Might work for bagels, but otherwise a bit Nigella.

But isn’t the fun of bread, that it’s very resilient and it’s very hard to turn out a loaf that can’t at least be toasted :slight_smile: ?

We usually bake loaves sequentially, to keep oven temp right. The extra time in the fridge is fine for our sourdough and I wouldn’t have thought would make a deal of difference to ordinary loaves.

So loaf 1 comes out of fridge while oven (and pan of water, and baking stone) heat up.

Loaf 1 goes in oven, and loaf 2 comes out of fridge,

Repeat until baked all loaves……