The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An the Cult of Bread

AlexL's picture

An the Cult of Bread

Hello everyone, I've been lurking on this site for awhile now and thought I'd introduce myself to this wonderful community of bread, baking, and food enthusiasts. It only seems fair since I've secretly been sharing in your various baking exploits, yearning for your triumphs and encouraged by the "failures" (if it happens to the masters then maybe it's not always me, maybe it' flares!)


I'm a 26 year-old accounting student who's never baked before, never cooked, and honestly never even liked bread. My family wasn't much into carb-consumption growing up, except for white rice with dinner. Then one day I was wandering around YouTube and came across a video promising "French Bread in 10 minutes." Sounds easy I thought. I recalled that I had a bag of flour hiding under my sink behind a ratty pair of dish gloves, some garbage bags, and I think a toilet plunger. What the heck I said. If it doesn't turn out I have all the supplies I need to get rid of the evidence. That first loaf came out of the oven like some kind of tropical insect, the kind that masquerades itself like something inedible to protect itself from predators. In this case it was disguised as an iron ingot. And the plunger came in handy cleaning up the epic mess I made of my kitchen.


Despite this, I felt a strange attachment to that first oven-creature, as you naturally would anything born of your own loins. It might have been an abomination of all things baked-good, but it was mine. I made it myself, with my own blood, sweat and tears. So I asked Google, "how can I make my bread less hideous?" And it told me to go to The Fresh Loaf for the answer. And here I am a couple months later, hands still crusty from the dough I made this morning, a now permanent film of flour coating every surface in my kitchen, a total unabashed bread junkie.


I blame you, TFL community. The passion for your craft and enthusiasm with which you offer your knowledge has made me a convert. A card-carrying member of the Cult of Bread. I've come to love the process as much, maybe even more, than the end-product. It's not just what's necessary to hold the sandwich meat and processed cheese together anymore, it's the point of the whole exercise. Making my own bread has taught me to appreciate the simple, hand-crafted things in life. There's a beauty and deliciousness in something you make from scratch. And I think it's translated into other aspects of my life as well.



Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Welcome to the Machine, Alex!

I recalled that I had a bag of flour hiding under my sink behind a ratty pair of dish gloves, some garbage bags, and I think a toilet plunger.

LOL!! : ''D


I felt a strange attachment to that first oven-creature, as you naturally would anything born of your own loins.

OMG... this must be the revelation that is missing in my baking! It has never occured to me that... well, nevermind. Fodder for a whole 'nother thread, methinks.


Making my own bread has taught me to appreciate the simple, hand-crafted things in life.

Aye. = )

And remember how when you were 25, you already knew everything? hehe Welcome in.. I guarantee there are far worse hobbies to obsess on, so please, knock yourself out! Remember that going to sleep (or rather, passing out) from exhaustion due to something that you did for YOU, is the best sleep you can get!

- Keith

leahweinberg's picture

I loved reading your message. I have a pretty similiar story- law student becomes crazy obsessed bread baker. still struggling with the last batch of sourdough failures, but eagerly anticipating the next success!

Welcome to the cult, and good luck with your loaves. 


gcook17's picture

Alex, I loved reading your comments.  I think you're missing your calling.  Maybe you should consider journalism.  I think you'd make a great food writer.


Nomadcruiser53's picture

You post was a fun read. Welcome to the group and I look forward to more of your baking adventures. Maybe a scary kids book cooking up under your kitchen sink. Dave

photojess's picture

welcome to the club here!  I still lurk more than I post, but I love this place.  It has superceded the photography forums I usually hang out on!

Continue baking, and sharing some more of your can start your own blog and keep us all entertained, while sharing us your baking entries too.

Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

You don't write like any accountant I've ever met :-)

I do hope you'll blog along your bread journey.

Welcome to the TFL community,

AlexL's picture

...for the welcome everyone, and for the encouragement. I guess I had bread on my mind this morning when I wrote this. I actually just took the two baguettes I was working on this morning out of the oven not long ago. It's true what someone from this site said about baking being a lifelong learning experience.

For example, today I learned that my oven stays on "broil" even after turning the heat down. Another lesson I learned today is that a citrus zester does a great job of scraping off charred crust. It's a good thing bread made with your own hands tastes delicious because if anyone else made this I wouldn't be able to enjoy the delightful smokiness of my "Blackened French Baguette."


photojess's picture

even that made me chuckle out loud!  I can just picture it...charred baguettes....

Soundman's picture

Hi Alex, I come to the bandwagon late, but I'm jumping on your post anyway!

I'm worried however. Will we be reading such entertaining posts once you start making the masterful loaves that are sure to be in your near future? I'd hate to have to wish you more bad luck just so you can keep making me laugh... ;-)

Welcome aboard, and as Debra suggests, blog on!


AlexL's picture

Thanks, I think. Yeah, the blog sounds fun - I'll definitely give it a shot soon. I think I'm about ready to take off the water-wings anyways and make the jump into sourdough. I'll be sure to document the ensuing chaos. Y'know, I do feel kind of left out not having my own starter to bring to the party while everyone else talks about how pretty their starter is, or how good my starter smells, or isn't it just adorable how starter bubbles up when I feed him? Alex wants to know what it's like to wake up on a Sunday morning to starter making him breakfast in bed too, dammit.

Soundman's picture

Yes, it's true, we members of the sourdough starter admiration society can sound a little self-congratulatory at times. But let's face it, we have a lot to congratulate ourselves about! :-)

If yeasted bread is in itself a small miracle, than yeasted bread without yeast (so to speak) is a miracle of proportion. Don't you want a piece of that action?

Gentlemen, start your starters!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Always in need of fresh (blood) loaves.   Welcome and thank you for the laughs, Alex.