The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

How you log what you do?

Brotaniker's picture

How you log what you do?

How you guys log what you do? I have a little logbook where I write down the recipe basics, water content, pre-mix details, sourdough, polish, temperatures, baking times, etc

It's a good source to look things from the past up, but over time it gets a bit messy. You follow where I'm going to?

Are there some apps or similar that can help with the logging. Adding pictures would be great too.

I'm just wondering how other people keep their records.


JeremyCherfas's picture

I use a paper notebook too, but there are apps like DayOne that are very easy to use and that accept photos easily.

BreadLee's picture

My personal preference is using pencil and notebook. It's easy to manage and update it.  And some things I just like to go old school.  

ifs201's picture

I have a folder in Google Drive for all of my bakes. Each worksheet has the recipe formula on top, the process for making the bread in the middle, and post-bake notes at the end. I like doing it this way because if I have a note like increase oats, decrease hydration, then I just save a new copy of the file and adjust the formula on the top of the sheet next time I want to attempt that loaf. 


Benito's picture

I keep recipes in the Notes app that way they sync across all my devices. For each recipe I keep notes and photos of each of my bakes that way I can refer back to what I did and know how it looked previously. Also because it is synced too all my Apple devices I have my iPhone with me when shopping and can refer back to ingredients to know what to buy. It’s on my iPad when I cook or bake and on my Mac when at my desk. 

ifs201's picture

Works well for me too

Gratefulbean's picture

I use Bread Tracker for Android.

Mamabread's picture

I only just started but I’m using a notebook too. I like to be able to flip through it. But it is messy and just this morning I found myself wishing I had a Polaroid camera so I could add pictures too it.   

JerrytheK's picture

I keep a cooking hard-backed notebook.

When I'm trying a new recipe, I take notes on it so if the recipe doesn't work, I can look at the notes to help determine what went wrong.

I also log every loaf I bake, noting the kitchen temperature and outside temperature.

I don't write terribly detailed notes, but do track the relevant times and temperatures along the way.


Brotaniker's picture

Thanks for all the replies. I will look at each in more detail.

Of course I use pen and paper too, in fact, that is the first thing I do. It's also better rather than removing dough from your phone or notebook. 

I bake already for a while, but I am new here. I do mainly rectangular wheat bread, just recently switched to sourdough-no-yeast only and now working on do-at-night-bake-in-the-morning, which fits my schedule better. The overnight proofing does give me some headache though. Image samples aren't overnight breads.

agres's picture

I was a member of ASTM and ASQC. I know about logs.

In bread, I think that hydration is important, and actual hydration depends on the moisture content of the flour, which depends on how it is stored and recent weather. Do you know the actual moisture content of your flour?

In bread, I think that the protein content of the dough affects how it should be treated and handled. Protein content of commercial brands of flour vary by 2%, which is more than enough to affect dough performance.  I mill my own flour, so my flour varies more than the commercial flours.

I assert, that as you handle the dough, you should be able to feel what the dough needs. Does it need more water?  Does it need more flour?  Does it need to be folded again?  Does it need a longer cold retard?  Does it need a longer final rise? 

A few weeks of warm dry weather may have dried your flour, so that your doughs need more water.  Your logs of previous bakes are not going to tell you about such needs for changes, but touching the dough will.

I have very general methods and procedures that I know work, and produce the kinds of breads that I like. Then, I touch the dough, smell it, and let the dough tell me what refinements the method and procedure need.  When I get a new shipment of grain in, I run a set of experimental bakes just to calibrate my senses to the current flour.  Such tests do not generate quantitative results that are easy to log, but I can remember for the duration of this batch of grain the touch, feel, and smell of the doughs that bake well.

I have lots of books on baking, and the recipes that I like are flagged. I like the books because they are indexed and flagged.  And, every recipe that I like has substantial annotations (in pencil) about how I can make it more to my liking. Then, I just need to remember what my current flour wants.

Are you a baker or a logger?  If you are a baker, spend more time with your dough.


Figment's picture

Could someone show an example of a good format for a pencil&paper log?