The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Birmingham

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nofe's picture
nofe

Hello from Birmingham

Hello all

I'm newish to bread baking and have stumbled across this site. For a couple of years I've been trying to learn to produce a decent loaf of bread but with minimal success, for every decent loaf there's at least more then one brick. I have an earth oven I built for pizza and bread, the pizzas are excellent but I'm yet to get a successful loaf out of it.

While looking about for a good book for beginners i found this forum, so I'm looking for a beginners guide to bread. Any advice about good recipes to start with and techniques to learn would be much appreciated. I'm going to hopefully master a decent loaf by the time the weather gets better so I can get baking in my earth oven.

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Hello to you. Is that Birmingham in the UK or Birmingham in the US, something about the trees in the background make me think it us good old Brum, but I could well be wrong. You are so lucky to have your lovely brick oven. I am sure you will get loads of good advice. I am clueless having never baked in one. Are you looking to bake sourdough or commercially yeasted bread? As I guess that will affect the recipes you get offered. I know there are lots of good basic recipes on this site.

nofe's picture
nofe

They are indeed good old brummy sycamores you can see. I'm hoping to learn sourdough, but for now I just want to be able to bake a decent repeatable white loaf.

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I thought perhaps they were, I grew up in Birmingham and remember flying the sycamore seeds as I walked home from school. If you are looking for a really good book with basic yeasted and sourdough breads in, I would really recommend Emmanuel Hjiandreou's book. His methods are really simple and his instructions very clear. It was recommended to me by a local lady who teaches bread making. He also keeps recipe quantities small. You could always borrow that and the Richard Bertinet book from the library before splashing out, (I hate buying a book that I find I don't use). 

Look forward to seeing some of your results from that beautiful oven!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I started my baking adventure in the fall of 2013. I used some recipes from King Arthur flour, and the bread was passable. But after three or four loafs I moved on to creating a sourdough starter, made a couple of loafs following a free ebook recipe and then decided I wanted to make one of those Tartine loafs because I wanted something special. So I bought Tartine Bread. And I have been thrilled with my breads. And my pizzas using the basic country loaf recipe. 

The book is not a "beginner" book but if you can follow directions the results are awesome and predictable. At least in an oven with a Dutch oven. I assume that would work in your earth oven as well, though timing would differ as your temperatures won't be as easy to control. 

Check out my pictures by clicking my name and you can see what I am talking about. You can google the basic country loaf and probably skip buying the expensive book. But I just got the book because I wanted to read it and see the other recipes. 

nofe's picture
nofe

Your bread looks amazing David, love a good crunchy crust. I've done no knead bread in a Dutch oven but would love to some loaves like that out.

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Welcome to TFL

Have a look at the "handbook" link at the top of this page.  There seems to be a good number of bakers on TFL who have found Floyd's creation to be an excellent starting point.  I think, if you want a good starter book, you can do a lot worse than "Dough" by Richard Bertinet.  Monsieur Bertinet has a particular way of working dough that is nothing like traditional British kneading but it really does work and loaves made using his method and formulae are almost invariably  edible.

nofe's picture
nofe

I got a days baking in. After reading the handbook, choosing a white bread recipe and being careful of the temperature and time I baked sine baguettes, rolls and two loaves. I watched some videos on YouTube (back home bakery) and managed for the first time to successfully knead and develop dough.

Really happy with the result, now to make sure i can repeat it before moving on to some sourdough

Thanks for your input.