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trfl

Feedback on new 'low entry barrier' bread kit

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I will come back tomorrow with more detailed answers for the technical questions. In the meanwhile, a couple of shots of the bottom of the loaf. The first two  are made with the final product (hence the correct shape). This is the same loaf that is sliced in the gallery on our website. So you can see the browning on bottom is quite close to that of the top.

The third image is from an earlier prototype (of different shape). The loaf is normal no-knead loaf. You can again see the browning on the bottom.

The perforated mesh gives a nice dotted structure similar to professional tray baked baguettes and loaves. This does not affect the release of the loaf.

And lastly, a crumb shot from the older prototype made with our method without second raise. The picture is not good enough for 'marketing' but I am sure folks on this forum can see beyond the stained chopping board :)

 

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And one last image showing crumb and crust baked in earlier prototype of LoafNest. This was not a no-knead bread but traditional bread baked in our baker.

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I think it looks like an interesting concept. The name troubles me slightly because of the word "Nest".  At first glance I thought it was somehow to interface wirelessly with the nest system of house monitoring and management. Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

 Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )

Google owns Nest, so it's quite possible that some sort of cease-and-desist would be forthcoming. 

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Could this be adapted to a baguette shape?  After having made some loaves in a dutch oven lately, I'm thinking that that size would be more useful day-to-day.

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12 hours ago, trfl said:

I am sure, in the end, we all want more people to eat better and healthier bread 

 

How does your product achieve this? Or do you simply mean better than mass produced bread?

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15 hours ago, Duvel said:

Nice idea.

 

Are you expecting the fermentation / the final proof to take place in the inliner ? If so, does the perforation affect the shape - as most no-knead breads have high hydration I'd expect some sort of "migration". How does the final loaf look like ? The perforation part is a bit hard to see on the pictures.

 

If the inliner doubles as a fermentation / proofing container you may consider adding a second one to the set, given the long fermentation times of NKB ...

 

In our current implementation, we are not expecting any fermentation/proof to take place within the liner. We did try that in an earlier version but since we then had to use a non-perforated liner, the browning and crunchiness of the bottom was affected. It was 'OK' but we were not satisfied with that. In fact this was our first thought since we even wanted to eliminate the 'pour' step and just place the liner with dough into the casserole. But the results we achieved were not upto what we wanted to make.

 

High hydration dough (85+ %) does indeed migrated a little bit into the holes. But since there is casserole stopping the migration immediately and since the dough there is solidified in seconds, it ends up giving those nice bumped pattern I tried to show in an earlier picture.

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15 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I've never made no-knead bread and would not be a customer, but here's my 2 cents -

 

The offset handles drive me nuts.  I realize that's probably so you can get a grip on them when they are hot and you're using bulky hot pads or oven mitts, but visually I want them to line up.  I can't handle those handles!

 

I don't love baking in silicone.  I like silpats for certain sticky or delicate things and silicone molds for frozen desserts, but dislike silicone cake pans because thy don't brown the same as metal.  Does perforated silicone brown better?  I'd want to see the bottom of that loaf.

 

I'm a pastry chef, not a bread baker, but I'm skeptical of your claim that the punch down is unnecessary. I'd want to see side-by-side photos of the crumb.

 

Do the top and bottom nest for storage?

 

The domed lid seems like a great way to collect burning hot steam.  Is that shape going to be any more dangerous to the user than a traditional flat lid?  And if it is good for steaming but not burning fingers, that makes me wonder if a metal rack or another insert would make it multi-functional.  Of course, I never steam food either, and that might be too small to be practical for much. but that's what comes to mind.

 

Good luck!

Offset handles may take some getting used to, but they do work really well. We designed them so that you are forced to hold all the 4 handles for a higher stability and safety. The handles are not that large (~1.5 inch / 4cm) so can fit easily into each hand. But I respect your personal preference. It is the Coke v/s Pepsi or as in this forum, blue v/s brown thing :)

 

Indeed, normally silicone is a very good insulator and the bottom of loaves needs much do be desired. But perforated silicone is a complete different story. Firstly, the liner still leaves still ~60% area uncovered. This allows for much better radiative, conductive and convective heating. Secondly, the perforation allows allows surface moisture to escape that helps to achieve higher temperature as well as good browning. These liners are used in professional/industrial kitchens specifically for bread baking. We are trying to bring it to home kitchen.

 

I posted a crumb picture earlier in the thread. I don't have a side-by-side but I am sure you agree it is a nice crumb.

 

The top and bottom do nest but not all the way since cast iron is quite thick. Also, I would not do it to avoid accidentally scratching/chipping the enamel. On the positive side, we do use it as a bread box to store left over bread. It is beautiful enough (we think) to keep on the counter.

 

You can use it as a normal casserole to steam or braise but I would do that without the liner because the liner is meant to be only for the bread. The 'sealing' without liner is still good enough like a normal casserole. The top of the casserole is designed with condensation groves (you can see it one of the pictures in the gallery on our website) that prevent  all the condensation to drip back in one place. Due to the elongated shape, it may be hard to find a suitable stove-top that can fit nicely. We use with a induction stove that has a feature to combine two small heaters into one big heater. You can also use it in an oven. It works as you would expect a normal enameled cast iron to work. At this moment, we don't have a metal rack planned, but I do like the idea. May be in future?

 

There is no worse steam collection due to the shape compared to other dutch ovens. The burn risk depends on the temperature (which is same as any other Dutch oven method) and amount of steam which is smaller in our case since the loaf will occupy most of the available space near the end.

 

Thanks a lot for all the questions, comments and ideas.

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13 hours ago, kayb said:

I like it a lot and will be inclined toward participating in the Kickstarter and/or being an early purchaser. I love the blue. The offset handles will take some getting used to, but they make sense. I'd also be thinking in terms of multi-use (I don't like having single-use anything in the kitchen, beyond my coffeemaker). 

 

I can also see a need for the ability to purchase extra liners. I've never done much baking with silicone, but I can't imagine it would be as durable as the pot itself.

 

Anxiously awaiting availability!

Thanks for the encouragement! Hope you signed up on the newsletter to get the earliest deal.

 

Offset handles were indeed a deliberate design choice for better safety and unique design identity. The casserole is multi-usable like any other casserole (as long as you have a heat source that fits) for example for braising. The liner is intended for bread making only though.

 

The silicone liners are rated to last 1000 uses and normally last longer if properly cared for. They don't require special maintenance, just was it in a dishwasher and keep them dry and away from mechanical abuse.

We will of course make separate liners available (for example on Amazon) if the Kickstarter campaign is successful.

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12 hours ago, Smithy said:

I think it looks like an interesting concept. The name troubles me slightly because of the word "Nest".  At first glance I thought it was somehow to interface wirelessly with the nest system of house monitoring and management. Is it possible that the name will confuse other potential buyers, or (worse yet) draw unwelcome attention from the Nest company? (So far I haven't thought of a better name. :) )

 

10 hours ago, chromedome said:

Google owns Nest, so it's quite possible that some sort of cease-and-desist would be forthcoming. 

We chose LoafNest for the reason that the liner does look a bit like a bird's nest and we wanted to give a connotation of a bread loaf 'hatching' out of it.

 

Luckily for us, (from my understanding), trade marks don't work like that. We would be in trouble if a consumer who went to buy a thermostat ends up buying a bread baker instead :). I am simplifying a bit, but that is the intent behind the law. Moreover, we call it LoafNest as one word. Of course, if google came knocking on our doors, we will just change the name because we can not afford the lawyers and they sure can. We think the chance is astronomically low though.

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10 hours ago, IndyRob said:

Could this be adapted to a baguette shape?  After having made some loaves in a dutch oven lately, I'm thinking that that size would be more useful day-to-day.

Yes, baguette, dinner role or mini-ciabatta (or other similar breads) are a possibility. If we succeed in our Kickstarter campaign, they surely on our pipeline. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, keychris said:

 

How does your product achieve this? Or do you simply mean better than mass produced bread?

By better we mean more flavorful, more tasty, more textured bread. Most supermarket bread (at least here in Europe) tastes like cotton.

 

By healthy we mean more appropriate levels of salt and lack of preservatives/additives and having the knowledge of what goes into the bread. For example in the Netherlands, where we live, a recent study found illegal amounts of salt in 'artisan' bread from many bakery chains. [Source]

 

By reducing the barrier to bread baking at home, we believe we help people to achieve better taste and health. Of course, the knowledge of knowing what you eat is invaluable for a healthy lifestyle mindset.

 

By the way, we estimate our loaf costs about 75 cents (ingredients and electricity/gas) whereas an equivalent loaf will cost 2.25 (Supermarket premium bread) to 5.00 Euro (boutique artisan bakery). So, we believe it is also quite economical in the long run.


Edited by trfl Typo bred->bread (log)
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the reply :) I'm not your target market then, I haven't bought commercial bread for almost a decade, for exactly the reasons you mention. Except the cotton taste. I would go with cardboard xD

I'll check out your kickstarter when it goes live though!


Edited by keychris (log)

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I'm not what you would call a bread maker by any stretch of the imagination, but I do make bread in my bread machine quite a lot.  Still I am finding this thread wonderful and fascinating, to be part of an ongoing process in developing a new and better commercial product.  It's a first for me.  I wish I had more to contribute, but I am enjoying it a lot.  Thanks trfl.

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I can see the advantage of offset handles if they were ALL offset.   I have a roaster with offset handles that just barely fits in my oven. if the handles were at the ends, it would not fit.

Several manufacturers have adapted to the new, "compact" ovens and produced various ovenware with handles placed like this so the vessels will fit into smaller oven.  

 

Your concept is odd and awkward as shown.  I have arthritis in my hands - as do a lot of bakers I know - attempting to grip both sets of handles for people like me, or woman with small hands, would be impossible - and hazardous.

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.25.27 AM.png

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@andiesenji I agree. That handle arrangement looks very awkward. I'd probably just use the handles on the lower half and rely on the rim of the lid to keep it in place. It is odd

 

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I’m intrigued but I agree about the handles being a problem.

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I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

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19 hours ago, trfl said:

I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

 

There is a simple solution used by manufacturers of covered glass casseroles way back in the 1920s.  A  half inch "lug" on the top handle which made it easy to lift the tops off with a thick pad.  I also had an antique copper fish poacher with a similar extension on the lid handles.

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On 03/01/2018 at 10:51 AM, gfweb said:

I'd want it in red or black.  Blue is not a food color.

Apparently it is.  Here's the proof.

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@Darienne Blue is a food color only in Dr Seuss.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gfweb said:

@Darienne Blue is a food color only in Dr Seuss.

 

it's GREEN eggs and ham, not blue :P

 

And just what is that blue goo that they like to chewy chew :/ 


Edited by keychris (log)
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On 1/3/2018 at 9:51 AM, gfweb said:

 Blue is not a food color.

 

When we were kids requesting birthday cake colors, my mom outright refused to do blue  frosting. She grew up in a copper mining town and the color reminded her of the toxic tailings.... “blue is the color of poison “, end of discussion.

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On 1/5/2018 at 1:19 AM, trfl said:

I do understand and empathize with the apprehensions about offset handles. After all, they are a new idea and it is hard to guess if it works for you or not when you have nothing similar to compare against. Only way to know for sure is to use one. We have been using our prototypes for a few months now baking almost every day. We really do not find any issues. Of course, we have normal physical abilities and I can not judge how hard or easy it is going to be for someone with arthritis. We will keep a keen ear on the feedback of the first version.

 

There is a good reason behind those offset handle:

* Our lid is taller and heavier than a normal casserole lid. Since the bread raises to almost double its initial height, we had to make it taller and hence heavier.

* We need to be able to remove the lid easily when the pan is hot (to place the liner and pour the dough) and put it back again. This step is done wearing gloves or mitts. So, if the handles are lined up, the space between top and bottom handle needs to be quite a lot to allow for thick finger+mits to get into the gap.

* If we want to provide such a gap on our product (which is overall about 15cm/6inch) tall, we would end up with a funny looking casserole. Also, there are difficulties in manufacturing handles far away from the rim in cast iron. That is why you almost always see handles on the rim for cast iron. It is possible, but difficult and leads to inferior quality [For enameled sheet iron, like the one in the picture by andiesenji, that is much easier because they are made in a different way].

 

So, with all these constraints, we came up with offset handles so that both sets of handles can stay on the rim but can still allow easy lid removal and putting it back while wearing thick gloves.

 

I hope I have better explained the background behind offset handles.

 

That's all well and good, I'm just the kind of person who will straighten a crooked painting on someone else's wall.  My cookbooks are alphabetical by author and I've been known to alphabetize my spice rack as well.  It would bug me too much to look at because I'd constantly have the urge to line up the handles.  But if it works, and you can convince other people, more power to you!

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LOL Have you ever seen the movie "The Accidental Tourist," with William Hurt and Geena Davis? He's a very uptight travel writer (who actually hates travelling) and she's the free-spirited dog groomer who inexplicably falls in love with him.

 

In one scene she's helping his equally buttoned-up siblings (Kathleen Turner and David Ogden Stiers) put away the groceries, and is confounded to learn that they organize the dry goods alphabetically. She holds up a box of macaroni and asks them if it goes under P for Pasta or M for Macaroni, and is greeted by an uncomfortable and incredulous few moments of silence before Kathleen Turner says pointedly that it's E, for Elbow macaroni. :P

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