The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

best advice for the new baker?

flour-girl's picture

best advice for the new baker?

Hi --

So, what do you tell those people who are so amazed that you bake bread, who say they could never do that, who claim to be terrified of yeast, petrified of kneading?

I want to tell everyone how easy and wonderful it is to make homemade bread but people are so freaked out about it!

So, I'm doing bread 101 on my blog today at Flour Girl.

The best advice I've gotten so far? It's only flour, water and yeast. What's the big deal if you mess up? Toss it out -- or try to fix it -- and start again.

What's your favorite piece of new-baker advice? Or maybe you have a favorite first, confidence-boosting recipe ... I'd love to hear it ...

Happy baking!

Flour Girl

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

Use too much flour.

Be in a hurry

Use water (liquids) tha are too hot

dlt123's picture

Good thread... For those who are petrified of kneading, search your local Thrift Stores, Goodwill or even eBay for a used Oster Kitchen Center.  They're very cheap and do a great job of kneeding bread dough.  Here is a picture of what I am referring to..

Oster Kitchen Center:


Make sure you get the Dough hooks to kneed your dough using the Oster machine..  They look like this and can be found on eBay or usually come with the Oster Kitchen Center.

Dough Paddles or Hook:


This "Cheap" machine has really made my bread making MUCH easier and because it was so cheap to buy, a real bargain.

Also, if possible make a sponge or Biga the day before making your bread.  It spreads out the labor entensive nature of making bread.

Just my 2 cents.


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Belief has no affect on reality.

My Website:


althetrainer's picture

Oh that's exactly what I have.  I have an expensive mixer in the basement but I don't make large amount of bread so I always turn to this old timer.  It works very well.  I bought the original set from a garage sale 6 years ago.  I made so many loaves of bread that one of the dough hooks actually broke.  My husband wanted to throw the unit out but I was, like, having an affair with it so I refused.  I finally bought another set from another garage sale last year.  The dough hooks were different but they fitted the first unit just fine.  I am trying to get my husband hooked (no pun intended) so he will use the Kitchen Center to make breads.  So far, he's staying away from it.  But I am sure when he tries it out and will love it. 

JoeV's picture

For all new bakers that are fearful of yeast, I start them out by giving them some instant yeast (I buy it in bulk), and show them how to make a loaf of no-knead bread in their Corningware casserole dish. Once they eat that first loaf and smell that wonderful flavor, they are hooked.


I then invite them to one of my bread baking classes to go to the next level.


SulaBlue's picture

I would love to find some artisan bread baking classes in my area! I'm afraid that even if I go whole hog and go to the baking courses offered by the local college that the kind of baking we're doing here, IE 3 day builds, just won't be covered. I don't really see how it could be in a course that doesn't meet every day, and even if it did, wouldn't necessarily fall into the timing of bread.

flournwater's picture

I hear that so often from newcomers to bread making.  They seem to be under the impression that a pretty loaf tastes better.  Go figure.  I tell them that as long as they didn't burn it and didn't take it out of the oven before it was done they've made it to first base.  Second base is the texture/crumb.  Third base is the flavor and if, when you've finished eating the first piece you have difficulty resisting the temptation to eat another, it's a home run.  A new comer should, IMO, work on correct baking time (I use 205 degrees internal temperature as "done"), nice texture and good taste.  The rest of the issues, if they're important at all, can be addressed one at a time when they've become proficient with the first three.


Once you've made two or three loaves of bread, if it seems like more work than fun, find something else to do with your time.  As I began to assemble the ingredients for a loaf of bread this morning,  my wife asked me why I decided to bake bread when we already had an uncut loaf on hand.  The only thing I could think of, in answer to her question, was "because it's fun; something I enjoy doing.  If we don't need it I'll give it to the neighbors".

ClimbHi's picture

LOL. That reminds me of the tag line for a game I used to play with my kids -- I think it was called "Go". The deal was, there was a board. like a checker board, that you placed chips on. The chips were black on one side, white on the other. One player was Black, the other, White. If you placed a chip such that there was a chip of your color at both ends of a row, you flipped the whole row over to your color. The one with the most chips at the end of the game wins.

The tag line was: "Takes a minute to learn, a whole lifetime to master."

That's kinda how I feel about bread baking. I'm at the beginning of a long, but fun, journey.

Pittsburgh, PA

flour-girl's picture

You all have had such great thoughts on this topic ... And I totally agree with flournwater; I find myself putting off other "chores" to go bake bread -- even if we don't really need it! And, like ClimbHi, I feel like the more I learn, the less I know!


thanks everybody!

Flour Girl

Jw's picture

well, maybe.

plan, take your time.
don't follow a recipe 100%, "feel the bread"
write down what you experience, maybe helpfull for a next time
see failure as a chance to learn for a next time (and smile about it)

tell "those people" than one time, every family knew how to bake.
that a levain was their way of life.
that you know what is in the bread you eat
that there is no greater thing to share among family and friends.

and, is it really that hard? no-knead takes me 20 minutes, incl cleaning up.
BTW I don't use a helper, all manual..

Happy baking as well!

JoeV's picture

Don't forget the salt. It tempers the yeast and pulls out the flavor in bread.