The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First

awloescher's picture
awloescher

About two months ago, I decided I wanted to try baking bread.  I began perusing allrecipes.com, a site I have begun using quite extensively since I really began cooking a lot a half year ago.  I found a recipe for "Amish White Bread", and as it had good reviews, I decided to try it, just for a sandwhich bread.  It went very well, considering the fact that I hadn't really taken much time to learn about bread baking.  After the bread had undergone its first rise, I discovered that the outside of the risen dough was a little dry.  After it had proofed, the outside of the dough was again just a little dried out.  I formed the two loaves, popped them in the oven, and had to take them out about ten minutes prior to the end of the prescribed baking time. 

The two problems I encountered came from me allowing the dough to dry out, I believe.  The loaves both had an enormous crack along the side and top, and as I found out when cutting and eating, there was a little portion inside each loaf that was not quite done. 

Now, these didn't prove to be too big of problems, however.  My wife LOVED the bread, despite the very small vein of almost-baked dough.   As for the cracks, although they were more accidental and pronounced than the natural cracking that (often purposely) occurs from the oven spring, they weren't a big deal.

Needless to say, I was hooked, and had to learn more about this (then) mysterious process of baking.  So the next day I went to the local bookstore, bought their only book on bread baking (The Art of Baking), and checked out two books from the library (Daily Bread and Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads).  Within about a week I had read through all three, and here I am...baking away! :)

 

Fence's picture

My First Sourdough Bread

August 30, 2009 - 7:07am -- Fence

Today I made my first sourdough bread! The starter had been bubbling for almost 11 days now, so I decided to give it a try. At first it didn't rise much. I guess I simply didn't knead it properly in the beginning, but by the time it came out of the oven there was a queue waiting to take a bite out of it. I got the recipe from here.

Here's the loaf when it came out:

bigphredo's picture
bigphredo

My first loaf

There it is my very first loaf of bread, honey whole wheat. It went pretty well, I had my first sandwich today. Boy was it good, so much better then store bought. I'm making another loaf tonight...I just couldn't wait. I'm make a different version of the honey whole wheat. I'll let you know how it goes.

flournwater's picture

First Edible Loaf

February 28, 2009 - 8:03pm -- flournwater

Because I had failed so many times to make a loaf of bread that I thought was worthy of serving to my friends and family I decided to reduce the size of my bread recipes to avoid wasting so many ingredients.  This loaf, the first I've ever made that I have any sense of pride in, is a "loaf for two" made with a scant 127 grams of flour, 89 grams water, 2.5 grams yeast, 2.5 grams salt, and an egg wash even got kudos from the LOML. 

It was a real confidence builder.

Stephanie Brim's picture

First real success on a stone.

January 19, 2009 - 5:33pm -- Stephanie Brim

I had my first real success today. I thank this site, obviously, for teaching me baker's percentage and how to use it.

I made a 70% hydration flour/yeast/salt/water bread today.  Everything was weighed and I came up with the following:

300g flour (100%)

210g water (70%)

6g active dry yeast (2%)

6g salt (2%)

This gave me a loaf that is 473 grams, or just over a pound, once baked. Perfect for a meal or two of pasta.

zhi.ann's picture
zhi.ann

This is from before I actually joined this site - actually this is the reason I joined this site.

Background:

In the States, I baked yeast bread. I had one recipe - from a craft, not a cookbook, so it used terms I was familiar with rather than the terms I more often find in baking recipes now that I'm looking around. It was a honey-whole wheat bread. I found all the ingredients in my local grocery store, used that recipe with no alterations except substituting applesauce for half the butter, and I baked it every Saturday, never with a problem.

Now, I live in rural China. I didn't bring the recipe with me. I don't have access to whole wheat. When I look at recipes, they confuse me. And yet my husband really misses bread. I am at a high altitude, but right now it's not dry at all, rather, close to 95% humidity most days. And, without air conditioning, heating, or well-sealed/insulated windows and walls, what it's like outside is a whole lot what it's like inside.

I found this recipe (I can't now for the life of me seem to find it anywhere!! I have it on a notecard) last week and tried it.

Oat-Nut Bread

830 ml flour
830 ml oats, ground to a flou
180 ml finely chopped walnuts
180 ml raisins
60 ml brown sugar
14 ml yeast (1/2 oz.; 14 grams)
10 ml salt
460 ml water
160 ml yogurt (I used vanilla unintentionally)
60 ml oil

1. Combine half the flour, all the oats, nuts, fruit, brown sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. In a saucepan heat water, yogurt, and oil over low heat, just until warm.
3. Add wet to dry ingredients, beating until smooth.
4. Add enough remaining flour for a soft dough.
5. Knead about 4 minutes, or until soft and elastic. Form to a ball.
6. Place on greased baking sheet, cover and let rest for 20 minutes or refrigerate overnight to bake in the morning (I did it overnight.)
7. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Unfortunently, this didn't work out for me so well. I did step 1, step 2, step 3. In step 4, I kep adding flour until I'd added way, way more than the recipe called for, and it still was a dough I could barely handle, it was so wet and sticky. I ran out of flour, and began adding oats, hoping to save it - I ground most of them but out of desperation began throwing them in there as whole rolled oats until I could finally knead the bread. Even then, it stuck to my hands, the cutting board, etc. In step 5, I formed it to more of a blob than a ball, since it was runny, and stuck it in a covered bowl in the fridge. In the morning, it was conformed to the shape of the bowl, so I dumped it on a baking sheet, stuck it in the oven, and let it bake.

The result was a very dense bread, tasty enough to eat mostly because of the raisins, but so dense I had to eat the whole thing (my husband didn't like it at all).

dough as I took it out from the freezer 

I tried the other loaf (this was supposed to make two) leaving it out all night after having frozen the dough (based on something I'd read online, somewhere). It came out just as dense, though it rose a bit in the oven whereas the first never did.

 piece of the bread

I'm munching on the second loaf now, hoping to get rid of it so I can bake something decent.

The only other note is that I won't be doing the walnuts again, even if I do come back to this recipe, because I couldn't taste nor feel them, and they cost the equivalent of $1.50 for so little!!

Any ideas, anyone, on what I can do better? 

 

Fenrir's picture
Fenrir

Well, after a bit of a break from baking I'm trying to get the hang of it all over again. I had a few loaves I wasn't happy with so I went back to the first recipes I used, namely the 1984 version of Laurel's. I came up with these, they're the best ones I've made, so obviously I could use some tips! I pretty much make only WW bread, this time with KA.

 

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