The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Introduction from Breadnik

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breadnik's picture
breadnik

Introduction from Breadnik

Having used this site for ages, and having greatly appreciated and learned from the collective wisdom of my fellow bakers, I finally decided to join the Fl. So now, I figured, is as good a time to introduce myself as ever.


Here's my story. A couple of years ago I did not know how to bake anything. All the foolproof recipes that my more baking-talented friends gave me simply said, "add as much flour as the dough will take" or "knead until the dough would stop sticking" -- but the dough would take as much as I'd give it or will never stop sticking, thought I! I honestly tried baking bread a few times, and failed miserably every time, producing absolutely ugly loaves that were as heavy as a brick, and as raw on the inside as they were burnt on the outside -- in other words, completely and utterly inedible. After a while the word "yeast" would send me into a major panic mode, even though in all other respects I was a very fearless and rather successful cook.


And then some kind soul sent me the link to the youtube no-knead bread recipe. Now THAT seemed totally foolproof. I worked up some courage and decided to try it. It came out! Not to push my luck too far I waited a few days and then tried it again. It came out again! At that point, having gained just the tiniest bit of self-confidence, I started reading cookbooks and trying some "real" recipes. Some came out, some didn't. But my failures ended up being even more educational than my successes -- I started actually "getting it."


One day early this summer I was at a local farmers' market. I had a loaf of my Russian corainder-rye bread that I brought at the request of a friend. Well, the friend couldn't come to the market, so I gave the loaf to the market manager. As soon as the market ended that day, she found me through common friends and asked me if I could become a vendor at the market. Apparently, my bread was different enough from everything else that was available that she wanted to have me join them.


It took me a little time to rework my recipes from cups/spoons into grams and milliliters (my brain works in metric only) and to figure out how to scale up from baking 10-15 loaves a week to over 100 in one day (for the market, I generally make a push and bake all of my 120-150 loaves on Friday, but that would be all of my weekly baking). By mid-July I started selling my breads at the market. I absolutely love it! It is very hard work, it doesn't make a lot of money (although I am not in the red, thank goodness!) but I feel that after a lifetime of working much less "real" kind of jobs I'm finally doing something that makes people happy. At least, my customers' faces make it all worth my while.

Comments

jannrn's picture
jannrn

How inspiring!! AND Awesome for you!! Congratulations on your new found career! You will find that the people here are very supportive and always willing and eager to offer advice and share information. I have baked bread for more than 30 years, (am I REALLY that old) and hve learned more in the 6 months I have been on this site, than I knew about all things bread in the years before!!


Again, enjoy and WELCOME!! Please post pics of your products when you get a chance!!
Jann

breadnik's picture
breadnik

Thank you so much for your kind welcome!


I just tried to attach pictures of some of my breads -- my staple Russian Coriander-Rye and my Peasant Semolina, but couldn't get the pop-ups on TFL to work for me in 4 browsers that I've tried so far. Hopefully, eventually I'll figure it out.

dstroy's picture
dstroy

Can you describe exactly what happens when you encounter the problems? You click the tree button and nothing at all comes up?

breadnik's picture
breadnik

My Internet Explorer blocks pop-ups, even though I seem to have disabled this function in Explorer in general AND added TFL to the trusted websites in particular.


My Mozilla, Firefox and Chrome open a pop-up but show an empty window with an address bar. All three seem to be JS-enabled.


I suppose I can try just posting the html-code for the pictures (like the picture-posting FAQ recommends) but I had to run and get my 300-pound order of flours so I haven't yet time to figure it out.

breadnik's picture
breadnik

Still no luck attaching pictures. My apologies.

Nancy Baggett's picture
Nancy Baggett

Your story is wonderful, and the breads sound wonderful, too. Would you be willing to share your recipes, or at least briefly tell how they are made. Of course, I'd love to see the pics, too, once you master the cranky technology of posting them.

breadnik's picture
breadnik

While I am working on figuring out html on TFL so that I could post pictures, I can tell you that all my breads are yeasted, direct mix, somewhat enriched (usually with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or butter). I keep promising myself to start experimenting with sourdough starters, bigas, poolishes etc., but frankly I'm still a little  apprehensive - don't fix what ain't broken.;)  Besides, I seem to have occupied a flavored breads niche at our market - that is, breads with various herbs, spices, olives and/or vegetables added (no cheese or meat for legal resons) - and my thinking is that flavorings will to a certain degree overpower a more subtle flavor of inderect doughs.