The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New member from SoCal

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Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

New member from SoCal

Hello, everyone---

I am a completely novice bread baker, having longed to learn this wonderful art for years.   I hope you purists won't throw anything at me, but I am making my start using a bread machine, in part because with arthritis, it would be difficult for me to knead and mix by hand.   Also, although I am an experienced cook and although I do have a sophisticated palate, I have never in my entire life baked bread (except for once, many years ago, when using a Cuban cookbook, I attempted to make a Cuban bread which turned into a lethal weapon---it would have severely injured anyone it might have been thrown at!!).

I have longed for so many years to learn how to bake bread and yet was so intimidated.   Finally, however, I made the choice to try, and bought a Zojirushi BB-PAC20 (the newest model with the ability to brown the top of the crust).

I am completely in love with this new hobby.   Although my beginner's loaves are hardly at the "artisanal" level, I am nevertheless utterly delighted with the results.  I cannot stop baking bread!!!

I hope eventually to learn to bake bread in the oven using a stone or a Cloche, but using the "Homemade" cycle on the machine for kneading and rising.  That will all come in time as I learn to intuitively understand the process of baking bread and develop more of a sense of confidence.  I love learning about it and am reading everything about bread I can get my hands on. 

I am just so amazed to be pulling fragrant, healthy, beautiful loaves out of the machine every time.    Each time I try a new recipe and it turns out well, I feel overwhelmed with joy! 

I am looking forward to learning a lot from this site and to sharing with all of you the passion for this amazing "art."

Blessings,

Liz

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

If you're willing to learn by reading (and even reading the directions for you bread machine seems to qualify you), I suggest that you start learning about bread and bread baking as a real student would:  read a text book.  This is such a wonderful website that I, a bread hobbyist for 40 years, rarely go a day without it.  But a new baker simply doesn't know enough to make sense out of what she's reading.  Think about this:  serious bakers take classes for years so why couldn't you read a short text book.  I alway recommend DiMuzio's Bread Baking.  It's short, to the point and not terribly expensive, especially if you find a used copy on line (try Alibris or Powell's Books).  It gives graded exercises which are well worth doing.  By the time you've worked your way through it, you'll have DiMuzio on your shoulder helping you understand the things you read here.

Two other hints:  watch all the videos linked from the top of every page on this site and consider using a machine to knead your dough.  Read about the varieties of such machines by find commentaries using the search function on every page on this website.  Kitchenaid's, DLX's, etc. all have their proponents and detractors.  You decided.  You just don't ever have to knead by hand any more, but nor do you need to be limited in quantity with a bread machine.

Finally, so much of bread making is the feel of the dough and the choreography of the hand movements.  If video's are teaching you this, find a local bread hobbyist using this website.  Post a notice saying your town and what you'd want.  "Friendly experienced home baker needed for advice in my area."

And practice, practice, practice.

 

 

Jn6-35's picture
Jn6-35

Thank you for your advice.  I am actually an avid reader and I tend to read everything I can when I'm larning something new.   I recognize what a complex (and glorious) art "real" bread baking is (I use the qualifier "real" because my own bread baking is hardly that;  it is a timid entry-level effort at best, but it IS something, at least....).

I will order DiMuzio's book. 

And I will most definitely "practice, practice, practice."   

Blessings,

Liz