The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from kid baker, returned

Gadjowheaty's picture

Hi from kid baker, returned

Hi All -

Fantastic site, just wanted to say hello.  My story is that I began life as a kid cook close to 40 years ago, by first baking and pastry making, then, with the seed given as a present by way of Jacques Pepin's La Technique, working it cover to cover, I began a life in French cooking. (few pics):


Braised lamb shank, flageolets

"Thon au Poivre," roast garlic-sherry sauce



Pear Napoleon









A spinal injury has ended my professional life, but somewhere over the last month, I've rekindled my first love, for the simplicity of wheat and heat....after viewing some thoughts and drooling over pics from this site, I had to get back in.  Literally, the first loaves baked in decades (so be kind!)....the smells alone were enough to send me back to heaven.


Levain loaf 2

Just wanted to say hi, and looking forward to dropping by from time to time.

(Edited to add:  apologies for the weird gaps, all...trying to figure out why, as the preview isn't showing them, but so far, not much luck).

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

because those are great looking loaves!  Welcome back to baking, and welcome to TFL.  I look forward to seeing more of your efforts.


Gadjowheaty's picture

Many thanks, Spoon! 


Well, lots to work on - broke into the first loaf (foreground), and although I was overall very pleased - crisp but very chewable crust, that crackled/cracked immediately on taking out and placing on the cooling rack, a good, complex depth of flavor, delicately sour, and chewy crumb - the one disappointment is that the crumb was too tight, for what I was shooting for. 

They did go into the proofing pretty dry, and I may have overworked them, is my first guess....a full 20 minute knead, with a 20 minute rest in between two 10 minute periods.  That, and I think I've forgotten what a proper proof looks like, because by my read, the rise was explosive, and I cut it shorter than I had intended, and the final rise in forms (jury-rigged bannetons with flour sack and mixing bowls) was also cut off earlier than intended, due to what I thought was also pretty explosive growth...pretty fearful of a blowout.

Next time, a wetter dough, a fuller proof, and careful kneading attention.  Anyway, it's a joy to know nothing, yet again!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

After your detailed analysis and assessment of your own loaf, surely you jest. 

But I can't help myself,  I've gotten those wierd gaps too.   Welcome to TFL where your knowing nothing is a new kind of freedom for you.  Enjoy it.  Those loaves do not look as bad as your critique. 

Guess you haven't caught the newest craze to make dough.  Don't knead it!  Yup, you heard me.  Throw it together, moisten the flour and let it sit 20-30 min and then fold the stuff.  I know, not as much sweat dripping fun.  Those are the breaks waking up to bread these days.  Keep your hydration about where it is and just try it first.   if you want to, you can go back to the old fashioned way.... anytime.   But give it a whirl.  :)



AW's picture

I'm glad you're here.


Gadjowheaty's picture

Thanks for the warm welcome and thoughts, all, it's really nice to be here - formerly active on egullet, wonderful to be part of a community of bakers. 

Mini, I had seen this notion of "no-knead" baking (was it "artisanal bread in 5 minutes?)....haven't yet combed this, but very intrigued, particularly as every time I knead by hand - and I do love to do it by hand, the sensuality of the feel and slightly sweet, evanescent smell of happy yeast and bacterias - I pay for it, as I do have a blown back. So I'll be checking it out, thanks!

Just an incidental sidenote, but really looking forward to delving deeply into the wealth of experience and expertise on this site.  Part of my peripatetic nature, I guess, but I've actually lived a few lives - in addition to working with French cuisine most of my life, a major segue into craft brewing, including a spell training through Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh (program in Malting and Brewing). 

In terms of brewing, I've always had a pretty keen interest in brewing microbiology, so am now really interested in learning more on the biochemistry, etc., behind the art of breadmaking (add, cheesemaking, as well - our son has an almost uncannily deep appreciation for artisanal cheese, as a result of spending his earlier years as a regular denizen of our restaurant, a French place, in the U.P. of Michigan). 

So, in a word, really looking forward to melding the sensual pleasures of this art, with the distinctively satisfying science backing it all up.  Again, thanks all, for welcoming me into your fold.