The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

so whats a good bread to start with for a rookie

vince hav's picture
vince hav

so whats a good bread to start with for a rookie

i love to cook and can follow a reciepe pretty well. i normally cook main courses like meats and stews and such but i remember a neighbor cooking some zuccinie (spelled right??) bread years ago that was soo good. id like to try baken breads and stuff but dont really know sher to start.

the rookie

Yumarama's picture

If you look at the top of this space, next to Home and Forum is a link  to Lessons. These are designed to help beginners and progress you from the simple stuff so you can get your sea legs in bread baking and help move you along. 

This way you'll slowly get to learn the basics and have success early on, better than jumping into the trickier stuff and running into problems. 

Once you build your skill, learning the trickier things will be more rewarding and successful.

pmccool's picture


Why not start with the very first lesson on the main page of this site?  It is a very simple bread, no fancy ingredients, equipment or techniques.  It will give you practice with basic mixing, kneading, fermentation and shaping techniques. 

Make it several times so that you grow comfortable with how the dough feels (sorry, no cookbook writer can really explain that--you just have to do it to understand it) and how it responds.  You may be feeding the birds with your first experiments, no problem.  Flour is pretty cheap.  Even if the first few tries don't live up to your expectations, you are still learning what works well and what does not. 

When you get to the point that you are consistently turning out loaves that make you want to brag, move on to the next lesson and repeat the process.

Feel free to ask lots of questions here.  There are plenty of us who have gone through the exact same learning process and we will be glad to help.


vince hav's picture
vince hav


flournwater's picture

While I agree that the first lesson in the series is a good place to start, I believe it's a good idea to begin your bread making exprience using weighed ingredients rather than bulk measurements.  Using weighed instead of bulk quantities increases your chances for success or, at the minimum, allows you to assess the possibilities of what might have gone wrong (if anything does) during the process.  IMO, as you interest grows, you will want to become comfortable with baker's percentages (using scaled ingredients) so you may as well start getting your feet wet in that arena from the "get go".

I would re-write the formula as:

13 1/2 ounces flour  (383 grams +/-)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
9 ounces water (256 grams +/-)

The formula (as presented) is about 67% hydration which should give you a manageable dough that is neigther too stiff nor too slack.  Have fun with it.



fancypantalons's picture

While you're totally right about weighing being the key to long-term success and consistency in making bread (I bought myself a scale after catching the bug), it's important to note that not everyone is ready to dive right in and blow a not-insubstantial chunk of change on a kitchen appliance they may never end up using. :)

My point being, a scale is definitely helpful, but it's not an absolute necessity.  So, to the original poster, I'd say, if you feel like buying a scale and going whole-hog, go nuts (TBH, a scale is darn useful in general... it's very nice to be able to accurately measure portions of meat, vegetables, pasta, etc, when executing recipes that use said measurements), but don't feel like it's a must-have acquisition that's the linchpin to success.

But don't be surprised if you become addicted to making bread, and suddenly feel the urge to buy one. :)

fancypantalons's picture

Actually, I'd back up one step, first:  define "bread". :)  You mention zuchini bread, which, as I know it, is a chemically leavened bread similar in construction to banana bread.  But the process of making it is *very* different from a yeast-risen loaf, which is primarily what this website is dedicated to (although we can certainly help you in either case).

So, the question really is, what do you want to do?  For example, on the weekend I made up a bunch of stew and served it up with a quick batch of Irish Soda Bread (gotta love hot bread that takes an hour or so from start to finish!)  It's dead simple, chemically leavened, and tastes fantastic... but it's a *very* different beast from, say, a nice French baguette.  Similarly, I also love making cornbread as a meal accompaniment... also dead easy, but also chemically leavened.

So, yeah... what's your goal?  If you're shooting for a quick side for a meal, something like a soda bread or cornbread might be a perfect way to get started!  But if you want to make "real" bread... well, that's a whole other matter, and as the others have said, this place is the perfect place to start. :)

'course, if it is "real" bread you want to make, then at minimum it's important to know what kind of bread you'd like to attempt.  A nice, soft sandwich bread is always delicious, and is fairly easy to make.  Conversely, you could go the artisanal route and make something more akin to, say, a simple French bread.

So... what say you?

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

FancyPantalons is right... you have to consider what sort of bread you're hoping to make, a yeast bread like French or a quick bread like zucchini, or wheat or white or whatever... but my recommendation is to experiment and discover what you didn't know you loved!  I have only been baking for a year - with the help of TFL, always! - and the best part has been the adventures of trying different recipes, different flours and seeds and spices... the basic First Loaf on this site is a good place to start, and I recommend browsing the recipe exchange archives for something simple that interests you, and just playing around!  Welcome to TFL, and have fun!


vince hav's picture
vince hav

thanks to everyone for your advice. as a rookie it all matters to me. although i agree i should start with knowing what i want to start with. never thought of bread being so "complicated" sounding. but ill start with the lessons up at top of page.  but i think id like to start with some pizza crust. then i can add the cooking a meal along with bakeing some bread. what about hardware? bakeing pans? i love cast iron would that be good to use for loaf breads to slice an make sadwhiches with?


ryeaskrye's picture

If you are one of those people who never reads the manuals and just has to jump in and try things right away, I'd suggest Susan's Simple Sourdough:

I have found this to be a very forgiving recipe that produces rewarding results.