The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Introduction from Arkansas

alabubba's picture

Introduction from Arkansas

I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Allan and I am a house husband in Arkansas. I started baking bread several years ago and bake a couple times a week. We almost never buy baked goods.

I started as a way to make ends meet. But it has turned into a love affair with bread. There is almost a Zen quality of taking such basic ingredients as Flour, Water, Salt and Yeast and by using my hands create one of the essentials of life.

I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes from this site and also adding my .02 cents worth now and again.



Just another day.

Here are a couple of loves of white bread, My standard sandwich loaf.


samson's picture

Hello Allan. I too have just joined this group. Since retiring we also almost never buy baked goods. There looks like a lot to try and a lot to learn on this site. Enjoy.

ehanner's picture

Welcome to the Loaf. I think you will enjoy it here, most of us men do a lot of the home cooking here. It looks like you have the yeasted breads down. When you get the curiosity for natural yeast there are plenty of helpers here to help you get a natural yeast growing..

I look forward to seeing more of your work.


catpoz's picture

Hi Allen.  This is Cathy from Miami.  I've been on TFL now for a few months.  I started out with baking brownies and cakes, coffee cakes, peach cobbler, cheesecakes and looking up loads of recipes online.  I found myself giving my own little twist to most everything I was making.  I love the creativity aspect of baking, and that you can continually try new things.  I stumbled across this site and was hooked right off the bat.  Having never baked bread before, I didn't realize the science involved with wild yeast and different flours, temperatures, etc., and dove right into making a starter for sourdough bread.  My starters were/are very active and I enjoy cultivating them, but I rarely get any rise in my baked sourdough loaves once they went into the oven and so wasn't really having much fun baking bread. *s*  I had a few decent loaves, but quite a few "bricks" that were making me wonder about my baking acumen, although my failed attempts did still taste good, especially toasted. *s* 

So, not wanting to totally give up on baking bread, I've retired my sourdough starters and have had fabulous success with baking bread with store-bought yeast.  Yay!!!  and... I haven't actually followed a recipe yet.  I've just been "winging" it and having great results.  I defnitely attribute that fact to everything I've learned while reading about and experimenting with sourdough.  I'm finally having fun with baking bread and am very excited to continue experimenting with different ingredients and techniques.  This is a fabulous site. 

I took some pictures of my last two batches and will post them when I figure out how to do it along with some background info.  I love to hear how others made their way to bread baking. 

I'm just glad that I switched away from sourdough before I became too discouraged with baking bread altogether.  *s*  You're going to love this site.

Cathy in Miami *s*

alabubba's picture

I don't have any problem with sourdough. (no mother at the moment) I have baked everything from English muffins and bagels to cookies, cakes, and even flat breads and crackers. I even make my own pasta and tortillas. I don't usually do the "Artisan" breads but really like some of the stuff on here.

I am not really a "Recipe" kind of guy either, I study recipes until I get the concepts into my head then I can usually make it.

I am not restricted to baking either, I consider myself a pretty good cook. I really enjoy my time in the kitchen and LOVE to here the feedback from my family and friends. My wife often takes leftovers to give her co-workers all a bite just to make them jealous.

Being born and raised in southern Arizona I tend to have a lot of Mexican flavors in my cooking. I make a mean Green Chili Ravioli! (Ya, that is what I said) with a sour cream and tomatillo sauce and jalapeno corn bread.

Anyways, On to today's bake, I have never done a "Poolish" (is that POOL-ish or POLE-ish) but decided to try it.  I baked 3 loves with it. First I did a simple Italian type loaf. Nothing fancy but I was making pasta for dinner and needed some garlic bread.


I also made a couple loaves of sandwich bread. I used the poolish along with about 7 cups AP flour, Salt, Water, and a blop of local honey.
The dough was very loose which I like and it rose beautifully. I used the egg wash leftover from my Italian loaf. I put it in a 500 degree oven and turned the heat down to 375 tossed in some ice at 3 and 5 minutes to create some steam and got a very nice spring.
The bread has a very nice crunchy crust and a slightly chewy crumb. I would post exact measurements but I actually don't have any.
I was absolutely pleased with this bake, I actually cant think of anything I would change about it. I am also sold on the poolish. What an easy way to develope some great flavors.





catpoz's picture

I'm not sure what you call it, but I've also been doing a poolish wherein I've been putting soaked seeds and grains and molasses, etc.  I love experimenting with stuff like that.  Could you please send me some ideas to ?  I would really appreciate it. *s*   What size loaf pans are you using?

Beautiful looking crust.  Thanks.

Cathy in Miami

jannrn's picture

First a couple of things....I generally HATE when my ignorance hangs out...but this site is just the BEST!! I am not sure what a Poolish is or how to make it but if I can get breads like yours Alan, I would LOVE to know....those are BEAUTIFUL!! Cathy in Miami....I am in Boca and had the same problem with making my starters here....must have something to do with the local flora....BUT I had better luck making it with a little potato water to give it a good foundation. I have been baking bread for almost 20 years and have made all kinds of things but am just now starting to get into the rustic breads. I love the more exotic (sp) grains like Qinoa and Amaranth and that I am using something used for thousands of years!! There is just SOMETHING about producing something so wonderful with your own hands!! My daughters are getting into it and even my boyfriend's grand daughter....her mother never really taught her how to cook anything, much less bake she is absolutely FEARLESS.....may have something to do with being 21!! But it is SO wonderful to see this passed on and the excitement in their faces!! Alan, you will LOVE this site!! Everyone is SO helpful and just more information that you can possibly imagine!! I too would appreciate if you would send me any ideas and Cathy....seeds and grains soaked in molasses?? PLEASE educate ....I would LOVE to do some of that!! THANK YOU BOTH!!