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This and That


I would like to let everyone know that my 16 year old son, Wyllis, is back to making the lames again. He finally got enough equipment here in Hawaii to get back to production.

The  lames are even more beautiful than before, being made from a Hawaiian wood, Koa. I will be offering one of Wyllis’  lames (which I bought from him) free to one of the people making a comment on this post.

This is to help jumpstart Wyllis’ little business. His lames are available for sale in my store at: http://www.northwestsourdough.com


In another direction, I would  like to ask anyone who has used a gas/propane and an electric oven to comment on which type of oven they like best for baking and why.

I have a small propane oven right now and Ihave a lot of trouble getting it to bake a good loaf of bread. I have problems with uneven heating, and mottling of the crust.

I don’t know if it is just this oven or if gas/propane ovens in general have problems with baking breadstuffs, but I sure would like your opinion on the matter.


Also, I would like to encourage you to visit one of the most talented bread bakers I have known at: http://mariana-aga.livejournal.com/


This blog is Mariana Aga’s Bread Journal. Spend some time checking out the bread recipe links as well as the different pages and if you can’t read them, download Google’s translator.


Mariana has been baking breads from around the world for years and has been baking hundreds of the classic Russian breads. She has a Russian following of interested bakers in the many hundreds.


Don’t email her, as she is a friend of mine , I know she has limited time to respond to emails, but leave a comment if you wish. Here are just a few of her amazing breads:








With this small selection, you can see what an skilled baker she is. I highly recommend you visit her bread blog , then print out and try some of the wonderful breads she has been baking. Hi Mariana! This is in salute to you!


Happy Baking everyone!

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  1. MuratallicaMuratallica
    September 28, 2012    

    Yeah man, these are fantastic. Very very good job… Also please tell me how can I get Mariana’s recipes? Thanks…Hope to respond my message a.s.p.

  2. May 14, 2010    
  3. Jane McBrideJane McBride
    April 3, 2010    

    Those are awesome looking lames and bread. I’ll make sure I will look at the links provided.

    Thank you,


  4. CarolineCaroline
    March 8, 2010    

    I have had wonderful success with a gas oven, and a horrid time with my electric oven. It seems that everything burns on the top or the bottom, but is not done all the way in the middle.

    If I bake 5 traditional loaves at a time on the middle rack, I still struggle through over done tops… I have been making bread form the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day book, and those have less issues with getting overdone. Perhaps the higher hydration level? I am now jumping into the world of sourdough,a nd hoping to seem improvements there.

    Beautiful lames! Tell your son to keep working! =)

  5. DennisDennis
    February 21, 2010    

    I have been baking bread for over 30 years and used different ovens. I have found that although all ovens looks similar they are not built the same. 15 years ago I spent more money and bought a Jenn-Air range.. Oh the difference. I have baked 6 loaves per week for many years. Until the Jenn-Air, I have uneven baking and just barely acceptable quality. Bread tasted good but did not look that good. However, I now bake 6 loaves which completely fills the rack with each loaf baking perfectly even. Now with my new sourdough “habit” I have been just as happy. I think that baking quality is more dependent on the quality of the range not if it is gas, propane or electric. I live in Guam for a few years and those propane ranges were not built well
    Just my thoughts.
    PS Can’t wait for the book! Will want to bundle it with the lame. wish your son all the best with his business venture.

  6. February 19, 2010    

    Thankyou everyone for your nice comments. Wyllis came and took a look at what you said and is very pleased.

    Congratulations Mimi, on winning one of Wyllis’ lames. Please send me your contact info.

  7. February 19, 2010    

    Those are beautiful. Kudos to your son.

    I like my gas oven, but its ancient. I do notice that it’s slipping a bit but adding a baking stone to the bottom has helped a bit. One on the top and bottom creates a really even zone.

  8. RobinRobin
    February 18, 2010    

    Wyllis, those are beautiful lames! I’m very proud of how you are developing your skills.

    Love to all of you,
    Aunt Robin

  9. BettyBetty
    February 18, 2010    

    What a beautiful lame and I would sure love to try an alternative to the french lame that keeps ripping the dough. From the shape of your son’s the blade seems to be at a much better angle. Thank you for your lovely blog.

  10. PatriciaPatricia
    February 16, 2010    

    I have used propane, electric, natural gas, and convection ovens. The propane never seemed to really get warm enough to bake bread the way I like, but I have never had any problems with natural gas or electric. That said, my favorite type of oven is a convection oven. The convection ovens have fans that spread the heat around so that the oven temperature is more even with no more hot or cool spots.

  11. ChadChad
    February 16, 2010    

    I keep checking back to see when your book will be published. I can finally make a decent loaf of bread, but I still can’t get the sour flavor to really develop – please update us on when your book will be available for purchase. I’ll have to buy one of those lames at the same time. Thanks.

  12. February 16, 2010    

    A pal recommended me to check out this page, great post, fascinating read… keep up the cool work!

  13. AlmostsourAlmostsour
    February 13, 2010    

    Great Lames, Wyllis! Nice work!

    Mariana seems a really magnificent baker & woman. No wonder you two would connect well. The translation software yields a pretty rough translation – takes alot of concentration to fill in the blanks, but wow.

  14. MimiMimi
    February 12, 2010    

    Tell your son he makes a beautiful product!

    My boyfriend has a koa wood guitar and it is the most beautiful musical instrument I have ever seen.

    I love how your son’s lame’s have a replaceable blade. The one I have now will have to be chucked when it gets dull which will be really soon.

  15. February 12, 2010    

    The lames are gorgeous – I may need to order one for my husband’s birthday. . . I wonder if he’d use it?

    From what I understand, electric ovens heat more evenly than gas, all things being equal. I am assuming you’ve checked the temps? However, my (natural) gas oven in fairly new, so it heats more evenly than the (old and busted) electric we used to have. . .

    Also, doesn’t gas produce a bit moister heat? I’m not sure it’s enough to matter much USUALLY, but you’re trying to bake in little different climate . . .

  16. BHBH
    February 12, 2010    

    Beautiful bread and lames!

    I’ve used both gas and electric ovens. Good quality ovens of either type will heat evenly, so I don’t think that helps decide between them. The major difference I’ve noticed is that gas ovens are vented more, for obvious reasons. So they do not hold humidity as well and it is much more difficult to try to add steam. But putting a bowl over the top of bread to trap steam given off by the bread itself is as effective in both types of oven.

  17. February 12, 2010    

    I love the wood used. they are beautiful

  18. February 11, 2010    

    Hi! I didn’t know Wyllis was so talented?! Just kidding. Those are beautiful!!
    We are going to miss having you all at the Library for our Valentine’s Program today!! It would be nice to have had some of those wonderful breads too! You all are so very talented!! We love you ,and miss you…C U Soon…

  19. IceIce
    February 10, 2010    

    Nice work Wyllis! I have one of your older ones. I use it all the time and I love it.

    I think I need to complete my set and get one made out of Koa.


  20. KatieKatie
    February 10, 2010    

    Wyllis, those are great looking razor blade handles! I tried slicing the top of a loaf with a knife – didn’t work. I never thought of using a razor blade like that.

    I’m new to bread making & only hope to have bread turn out one tenth as nice as the bread photos here – some are too pretty to eat! I’m just hoping I can learn enough to make a decent loaf of spelt bread. I’ve tried twice with dry yeast & made bricks – they tasted about as good. I’m just learning about bread making now, so I just bought a clay baker & proofing basket & will try to make sourdough spelt. I’ve already killed 3 batches of sourdough starter. Batch number 4 now looks like it will make it so hopefully this weekend I’ll get to try it out – wish me luck!

  21. Britta McCollBritta McColl
    February 10, 2010    

    Beautiful lames, Wyllis! You are a true craftsman.

    I now have a very old and leaky electric oven which seems to work pretty good. I used to have a gas oven and liked that too. But I’ve never tried propane. The breads you have gotten out of your propane stove sure look beautiful and tasty, though, Teresa

  22. JanknitzJanknitz
    February 10, 2010    

    Me again–I loved Mariana’s website. Her breads are beautiful and she is a prolific baker.

    I translated it with Google Translate, and now I’m having even more fun contemplating “Wallpaper with rye flour” and “Upholstery Biscuits”.

    Thanks for sharing that site.

  23. JanknitzJanknitz
    February 10, 2010    

    Love the lames! Your son is very talented and there’s something special about using beautiful tools.

    I have a gas oven and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It bakes very evenly and it’s easy to adjust the temperature. I like one without any electronic bells and whistles (digital controls, convection, etc.) so that I don’t have to worry about damaging components with steam or just plain age. The only thing I regret not having is an oven light that can be turned on and off with a switch.

    If you decide on gas, make triple sure they can really bring natural gas lines out to your home before buying an oven.

  24. Joe CJoe C
    February 10, 2010    

    Beautiful lames. Much nicer than the razor blades I’m used to using. Beautiful breads as well!

    As for the gas/electric comparison, I HATE electric ovens. In my experience they don’t heat nearly as evenly.

  25. JenneferJennefer
    February 10, 2010    

    The lames and the bread look wonderful. I am working on getting my whole wheat sourdough to work well. If I use white flour I can make good bread, the whole wheat is a work in progress.

  26. February 10, 2010    

    Gorgeous lames! I’ve got a gas oven right now and I love it. This is the first gas oven I’ve had (the rest have been electric), and the gas oven seems to heat more consistently. But I don’t notice a huge difference.

  27. February 10, 2010    

    Beautiful lames and beautiful loaves from your friend. Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve never baked in a propane oven but I’d be interested to find out more. Great blog by the way! Happy Baking!

  28. karynkaryn
    February 10, 2010    

    Absolutely gorgeous lames and some very awesome bread!

    I will check out the website for sure.

    I used to have a propane oven that never baked anything quite right. I always thought it was just that oven, but now I wonder if it was because of the propane. My current oven is gas and works fine, I just have high elevation issues sometimes.

    My mom’s oven is electric and seems to be a little too hot or maybe just flucuates more during heating.

  29. AdamAdam
    February 10, 2010    

    Those are beautiful lames. Those are also beautiful breads from your friend. I will make sure to check out that blog.

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