The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from Portland, OR

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Theresse's picture
Theresse

Hi from Portland, OR

Hi there - 

About 15 years ago (!) I got a bread book and made a few loaves of bread.  Haven't done so since - even though I loved it - and now have a family and would like to start baking bread again.  I also thought the kids would enjoy helping and the smell of it baking - and most of all, the part where they get to eat it. :)

I have either tendinitis and arthritis runs in the family so I doubt I'll dodge that bullet...so I'm going to look into getting a stand mixer.  Never thought I needed one before but I want to be able to make whole grain breads that are denser so that could potentially be hard on the body.  What a wuss!  Plus I like the idea of being able to get other things done in the kitchen while the thing's going instead of having to stand over it like I do with the handheld mixer.  I'll probably get the Bosch.

I'd like to find a couple of nice recipes.  I wish I could find one that's close to the Good Seed kind made by Dave's Killer Bread.  We spend a fortune on that bread!

I've noticed a couple things have changed since I last made bread, which is interesting to see (or maybe I just didn't notice these things before) such as it seems most people are putting oil down instead of flour...and I noticed a lot of people are grinding their own flour!  Has that always been the case?  I'm wondering if that's cause of that Wheat Belly book?  I didn't read it but a friend told me about it.  I'm curious about the benefits of grinding one's own wheat.  But a simple search will undoubtably bring up lots of results! :)

I'll buy a couple of bread books based on suggestions here, and do searches on here...I also want to learn about the different general methods like whether or not to do a sponge, and what types of general ingredients have best results.  But it seems every author has his/her preference - hard to know which to do but I guess that's what experimentation is for.

Well, that was a pretty long introduction!  

Thanks!

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

I would suggest Ken Forkish Book; "Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast." Also, he is in PDX so you can go taste his bread and do check out his YouTube bits on folding, proofing, shaping, baking bread. With his method I don't think you will need a stand mixer.

Cheers,

Wingnut

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Excellent Wingnut, thank you!  Sounds familiar actually.  Will go check out the youtube video too!

 

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

Consider this:  there is a difference between a text book and a cook book.  I suggest that, instead of buying a bread cook book, look into buying a text book written specifically for the purpose of teaching students a broad overview of bread baking.  You'll likely find all the answers to the types of questions you want in such a text.  Once you choose one, you can work your way through it.  Even if it take a year, what a year that would be!

Here are two very different texts:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  

Your public library might have them to loan.  Powell's and Alibris will help you find a used copy of such books on line.  You'd don't even have to look for parking downtown if you search on line at Powell's.

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Wow - hadn't thought of that!  My first reaction was that I'm not sure if I want to know that much (ha) but then the more I thought about it (and it depends on how good the book is), the more I thought that if I'm needing to learn this stuff anyway, I might understand the why's of it all as well as have a more interesting perspective.  I wonder if there are reviews online...I'll check it out.  Thank you!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

whole grain breads more than 1 loaf at a time - do not get a Kitchen Aid mixer.  It is not made to knead bread.  Great for everything else though. 

Welcome and happy baking. 

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Nope - had not planned on getting a Kitchen Aid.  Great for lighter things I'm sure and I'd love to have that classic look with all the great colors to choose from but no point if I can't make a good chewy bread!  I know the fancy one that's more expensive than the Bosch comes in different colors (the one in which the bowl spins) but the Bosch costs less and it seems might make a denser bread because it works the bread harder?  Maybe it's not hip of me but I don't like breads that are very airy/fluffy/light (I'm sure there's a correct term out there somewhere!).  Thank you!

Petit Batard's picture
Petit Batard

I used to work at Fleur de Lis bakery on 40th and NE Hancock. It's owned by Greg Mistell who was one of the coaches on the American team at the coupe du monde. The Pastries are pretty friggan good.

Theresse's picture
Theresse

You know, I'm embarrassed to say that as much as I recognize that name (as a local establishment), I don't know that I've been in there!  And it sounds like I'd remember if I had!  I love a good pastry so may have to check it out.  Thank you!

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I recommended that you consider buying a text book.  From your reply, I'd suggest that you consider the DiMuzio over the Hamelman.  The DiMuzio text is far better for a person who doesn't want to know EVERYTHING right now.  It will teach you the basics quite well, even explaining how you can control the mysteries of the texture of the crumb (crumb = everything inside the crust.)  With practice, you'll learn to see and control so much that you never even knew anything about in bread!  

As for buying a mixer, I, too, am in the DON'T BUY A KA group, especially if you think you'll be making dough for two or more loaves at a time.  I have an older model KA, which I do use for single loaves sometimes.  I have no experience with the Bosch and hence nothing to say on the subject.  I do have the Electrolux DLX (Anksarum).  Like the "get a used text book" advice I suggested, you might guess that I got the DLX, not new but on the cheap at a garage sale.  I was quite lucky.  It seemed new when I bought it and still does, more than fifteen years later.  I love it because of how big the bowl is and how, because of design and engineering features, it is easier to use than all the devices that are or look like the Hobart/KitchenAid designed ones.  If I look back at what a DLX cost me, prorated over the past 15 years, it's cheaper than the KitchenAid. 

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Thanks so much Richkaimd!  That books sounds wonderful.  I'm pretty stuck between those two mixers (Bosch and the DLX).  I keep going back and fourth between the two!  

Pizza specialists swear the Bosch is better for pizza.  DLX people say the Bosch over-processes the dough.  Bosch people say the DLX doesn't produce enough gluten or something like that (oh and that you have to babysit it more).  And others have said the Bosch is better for lower-hydration recipes and the DLX is better for higher ones and ones meant to have softer dough.  Then of course the DLX probably does a better job with more delicate things like egg whites and creams.  Ugh. 

Ok enough whining for now (real first world concerns eh?)!!