The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recipe overload question

SallyBR's picture

Recipe overload question

Due to work constraints, I only bake bread on weekends, although I've been making my dough on Friday to get ahead of the game.


that means that every Thursday (yes, that would be today) I start to develop "bread anxiety" - which recipe to try? Repeat an old favorite again? Go for a totally unusual loaf of bread?


I have a list of bread recipes "to try very soon" that is getting to be ridiculous, but I still get more, download more, print more, bookmark more... it's pretty pathetic actually


So I am wondering how the bakers out there deal with it - do you have a "method" to this kind of madness?


PaddyL's picture

I've got so many bread books it's ridiculous.  I take one or two out from time to time and look through them, come across a recipe I've never tried before so I'll give it a whirl.  Generally, there are two breads I make every week or ten days, my buttermilk sourdough (rolls and cinnamon swirl raisin loaves) and whole wheat sandwich loaves, either sourdough or more probably, regular bread, but that doesn't stop me going through the books at random and picking something new.  Fortunately for me, I'm retired so I have more time on my hands.

ivyb's picture

Wow! I should have realized that I am not alone! Let's see... I almost always make a challah and my grandma Hannah's yeast cake on Thursday nights for Friday. Saturday nights will usually see pizzas; this week, I made my cinnamon sticky buns three times (yes, THREE!), bringing to work and watching them fly. Sunday is usually sourdough or honey whole wheat bread. My poor husband is always saying, "no more breads", but..... we are always invited to friends' for dinner, knowing that I have just baked a bread or cake. :-)

I try to alternate the bialys, breads, etc, but, alas.. so many choices, so little time!

Susan's picture

Sally, if I made and ate all the bread I want, I'd be as big as my house!  There are just the two of us here, so I've limited myself to only sourdough.  I get some variation by substituting a small amount of different flours, and adding whatever seeds or grains feel right at the time.  I just made a loaf with both black and tan sesame seeds, and another the same but with added poppy seeds.  Both loaves are lean, and made with high-gluten flour and a little whole wheat flour. 

I dream about bagels and cinnamon rolls, coffeecakes and donuts and pretzels, but I've set my limits and am keeping to them as best I can.  I, too, regularly peruse the many baking books I have, but try to read them as fiction, just for the enjoyment!

Here's hoping you find a way to satisfy your baking genes!

Susan from San Diego

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Sally.

You have described my thoughts, feelings and behavior beautifully!

I generally plan to bake 4 different kinds of bread each weekend I am home, but rarely make more than 3 ... or less than 3, for that matter.

In the past few months, I have actually managed to catch up significantly on my "to bake list." Some of the breads had been on that list for well over a year. One of the downsides of making so many kinds of bread is that many months can go by without making a particular bread that I really do love. I just couldn't fit it into the schedule.

How to "deal with it?" Well, I'd say just accept it. My criterion for having a real problem would be the process of collecting recipes consumes so much time you can't find time to bake. In addition, it will help you feel less out of control if you have an efficient and effective system for filing and retrieving your recipes, so, when the urge hits to to make a particular bread, you don't have to waste too much time searching for the recipe.

During my "catch up phase," I developed the pattern of making at least one bread off my "to bake list" that I'd never made before each weekend. At present, I don't feel as much pressure to catch up. However, there are still more breads I want to make each week than I can get to bake, we could possibly consume or I could possibly fit into our freezer, which is usually completely full.

So, for example, there are 6 different kinds of bread I want to make this weekend. I know I'm not likely to make more than 3 of them. I know  two of them I'm going to bake for sure. So, I have to choose one more bread out of a list of 4. 

What? Me worry?


Jw's picture

and recogize what you are writing about. Here is my 'recipe': I do the 'to bake' list one at a time, also make one kind of bread that I am trying to make perfect.

The good thing with bread: I might be unhappy about the shape, the audience never is....btw I make my starter thursdaynight late, then progress early fridaymorning (or put it in the fridge then) and then start again at five in the afternoon. I bake the bread as late as possible fridaynight.


LindyD's picture

So far I've had good excuses to ignore the breads that I really want to try: I haven't had all the ingedients (such as high gluten flour, diastatic malt, non-diastatic malt, malt syrup, and certain flours). 

With KAF's recent reduction in shipping charges, plus my own flour quest over the past two weeks, my excuses will soon run out and I'll have to make some decisions and create a written list of the to-be-baked, just to get the mental mise en place in gear.

The only bread I can make midweek (after work) is Hamelman's Vermont sourdough; it has only a 2.5 hour bulk fermentation before it can be shaped and loaded in the refrigerator for the night.  Perfect for my schedule.

I do know what I will baking this weekend: a sourdough I had once made with dough mixed during a class at a local artisan bakery.  It used organic flour and a levain from the baker's very stiff Chef.  It was superb and had a much more mellow taste than my own culture.  So I've been building that culture over the past ten days, using the same flour.

I had hoped to make the levain tonight, but didn't have time to refresh the culture this morning.  I did so immediately after I got home and it's halfway there, so maybe I won't lose a day after all.  

When all my ingredients are in place, my excuses will have run out.  Maybe I'll write the name of each bread I want to try on a slip of paper, then put the slips in a jar and pull one out each Wednesday night.  


sybram's picture

Yes to all the above and this also:  I'm just now making my sourdough starter, so all my baking has been yeast breads as well as the no-kneads.  Like you, I have my recipes planned out three, four and five in advance.  I plan on making this bread, and as soon as we (only DH and I) finish it off, I'll make this other one.  Problem is, I seem to always not be quite satisfied with my loaves and feel I need to repeat the same recipe over a few times until I get it just right.  It takes me too long to get to the next recipe.  I love learning from you guys, and I assume I will get better with time. 

Another thing--do you usually only make one loaf?  I can't for the life of me seem to do that.  I've raised a large family, and just think in big quantities.  First thing when I start to bake, I find myself thinking, "OK, how many loaves will 10 C flour make (what my KA will take), and should I make two batches or three."  I do give bread away, although I'm not too keen on that until I'm happy with my loaves.  This thinking makes my bread making quite a time consuming project.  Guess I just need to MAKE myself think "small." 


SallyBR's picture

Good to know....


I am not alone! I think I'll try to make a little list with just small details of the most tempting recipes, for instance, kind of sourdough, times of rising, shaping.. or if it uses commercial yeast, pate fermentee etc etc

Then at least I will have a little easier time picking one or two for the weekend.


so I guess it's time to logout and get into decision-making mode....

cake diva's picture
cake diva

The more pressing question for me is what to do with the goods.  I am not really keen on breads;  I prefer to eat pastry and sweat bread.  But I get more enjoyment from making bread, especially sourdough, because I am drawn to the unknown (not the paranormal, rather, not knowing how the bread will turn out), and I enjoy the making process.  My fridge is crowded with starters and my freezer with all kinds of bread and entremet.  When I had a job, this was not be a problem.  With no family members around to eat my products, I just don't know how I can channel my creative baking energies and not be stuck with a lot of goods.

Any ideas?

Oldcampcook's picture

Do you have a local fire staion close?  they are always grateful for home made goodies.  I bribe my butcher, my vet, my produce place with bread.  I swap bread for grooming services for my three dogs.

Plus my co-workers eat well!

One of my neighbors grades the gravel road, so he gets bread, too.

Any soup kitchens around?  Wonder if a nursing home would be amiable to taking some (if they can, legally)?