The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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madzilla

So I have been learning to bake bread.  I did NOT buy a bread machine, which I did consider for a while.  I was thinking about what would be easy, simple, less time consuming.  But when it came down to it, I just didn't like the constraints of a bread machine.  The loaf pans are so small, sometimes square, and the whole paddle thing just leaves me cold.  I had a bread machine when I lived in Germany.  I used it and hated it. It dumbed me down and I never understood the whole process of bread baking.  This made it impossible to troubleshoot or use anything other than the basic settings. 


Now, without a bread machine, I am so happy.  I feel like I have found a new hobby [that hopefully won't make me TOO fat!] and it is very exciting to create such wonderful works of edible art.  The breads that I have made so far, that have been successful, are a half-white, half-wheat loaf that is very nice, and would be great for sandwiches, cinnamon toast, and just about anything else.  The other loaf I have made that needs a bit of work is the artisan bread.  I have managed to get the right size, rise, and color...but need to work on the scoring and taste. 


Next I will try making a huge starter in the fridge and flavor it with some sourdough starter I already have.  Another really interesting thing I am doing, is using the bread mixes I am getting delivered.  Hodgson Mills makes some great mixes, but I don't use them as is.  I use them as additives to my breads for more flavor and the dough conditioning properties.  I could buy dough conditioner, but this is much more fun to experiment!


I also am working with gluten, and this addition is particularly helpful up here in the mountains.  I am at almost 8000 feet, so the high altitude is also a challenge.  But I am figuring it out as I go.


Thats it for now. Will post my recipes soon.

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