The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Lancashire

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Martyn's picture
Martyn

Hello from Lancashire

Hello all, I'm new to The Fresh Loaf and to bread making. I've been on long term sick leave and needed something to occupy my time as well as save a few pennies, so I started baking bread. I've always admired folks who produce nice crusty bread, filling their homes with that lovely aroma of baking.


The kids bought me a bread machine for christmas but my success was very limited, producing heavy flat bricke that got fed to the birds. Determined not to be beaten, I started making by hand and baking in the oven. I used the Jamie Oliver cookbooks as a guide and was soon turning out bread that looked and tasted good. I am now pretty much obsessed with bread making and decided to sign up here to learn more.


My next project will be sourdough, and I've even given though to building a clay oven in the garden.





PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It's very satisfying when you can make something like this with your own two hands.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

hello and welcome Martyn from Perth Western Australia,
your bread looks great. And what a good project to build yourself an oven in the garden, it will certainly keep you out of mischief, be loads of fun and take you to a new level.GO FOR IT. I am still waiting to build my first oven but have 4 ordered from the family.
regards Yozza

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Hello Martyn,


Hello from this side of the hill - Leeds. It's good to see another northerner here :-)


You're doing well and I do encourage you to make your own outdoor oven but clay might be less long lasting than stone or brick in our weather. Yes, I know it's easy to 'repair' or remake but I'd be frustrated with something which wasn't reliably permanent. 


Mary

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Thanks for the warm welcome folks and thanks for the nice comments on my loaves. I'm pleased with the way they look, but I still feel they're a bit more dense inside than I would have liked. The crusts are super and crisp just the way I like it so I hope I don't loose that in my efforts to find a softer crumb (I think that's the right expression) I've been reading and watching vids on kneading and folding, I think that's one area I need to work at.


As for the clay oven in the garden; it's early days yet. At the moment I would be happy just to see the garden, it's under six inches of snow.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Ah, so you're having a big thaw ;-)


Mary

the apprentice's picture
the apprentice

Your breads look very beautiful! I hope that the crumb starts to turn out the way that you like. TFL is a very good resource. Good luck!


I just started baking bread a couple weeks ago. My bread is definitely coming out much better than my first couple of loaves. At first they were very dense until I learned how to handle the dough better. I have learned that you mustn't overwork the dough and you should keep it at a certain level of hydration. If you need to, let the dough rest and then fold it every so often. Mark at back home bakery has a very good video that helped me a lot at this:


http://thebackhomebakery.com/Tutorials/KneadFold.html


 

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Thanks for the video link, that makes very interesting viewing. It also raises a lot of questions:


What is the time interval between foldings? Does he fold only after the dough has doubled in size? Does this mean there are three or more raises befores shaping and baking?


Maybe there is already a thread where this video is discused in detail, but there are so many threads on this forum I haven't found it yet.

the apprentice's picture
the apprentice

The search tool in the upper left corner of the web page is a great tool. I did a quick search for "folding" and it came up with some good results:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/searchresults?cx=partner-pub-5060446827351852:9bvu1n-clx1&cof=FORID:9&ie=ISO-8859-1&cow=folding&sa=Search


One of the results is Lesson 5 on Folding and Shaping:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_6_fold


You can check out the other lessons by clicking the Lessons link at the top of the page. I know how overwhelming this site can be as I have also just started to bake bread (you probably even  have more experience than me!) and it can seem like information overload at times. But TFL and its members are great resources that I am glad to have.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Looking forward to hearing more about your bread baking adventures!


Betty

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Thanks again for the info folks. I was looking for a search facility on the forum pages but it's on the home page. I've read loads of stuff and watched more vids.


My kneading technique must be getting better 'cos a couple of weeks ago I was covered in flour with dough stuck to every surface I touched. Today my hands are almost flour free, the worktop has a light dusting of flour and the dough is soft and silky, fully under control. It's as if we have come to an agreement; if I am gentle but firm with the dough it will not mess me about :-)


I'm just waiting for this batch to rise them I'm going to try the folding technique...... fingers crossed!

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Wow! I folded the dough for this loaf and put my usual three slashes across the top. The dough rose so much in the oven that it stretched out the slashes then burst out longways. I can hardly wait for it to cool to slice into this loaf.


Knead and fold seems to be the way forward :-)


Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Yes, it IS the way to go. And as you get older you'll appreciate how much less demanding it is on arthritic hands. It's win win win - the third for the power saving if you've used a machine for kneading :-)


 

the apprentice's picture
the apprentice

Glad to hear it's working out for you and can't wait to find out what the inside of that loaf is like! Good luck, and may this be only the beginning of your bread adventures!

yozzause's picture
yozzause

MARTYN


checkout thetraditionaloven.com great site we used rado's disk and built an oven here at tech school  you will see how many have gone to uk on the site cd  is cheap


regards yozza

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Well, I went to bed before the loaf had cooled down so I didn't get to cut into it; I'm back at work now so I had to have an early night. My wife made my sanwiches out of the fresh bread, it was awesome. The crumb was much lighter than previous loaves; nice, soft and tasty with a crispy crust. I thought to myself, "I must take a pic of the cut bread to post on TFL when I get home." When I got home she said that the bread was so tasty the family all had bacon butties with it and finished it off.

It was definatly the best bread I have made to date, and as a thankyou she bought me several more bags of flour including a wholemeal. I guess that's a way of saying, "get baking!"

the apprentice's picture
the apprentice

I think that is the true test if you had a good loaf or not: whether or not it disappears quickly. If your family loved it that much, then it must have been good! It's a great feeling to think that you have produced something like that, and it only will get better. My first two loaves nobody even touched because they were dense and dry. I persisted and continued to practice. I just baked two loaves last night and they are both already almost gone! And I just started baking on New Year's Eve, so you can see how quickly you can learn.


Here's to a new year and many great loaves of bread to come!

sojourner's picture
sojourner

Martyn, welcome from a Southerner in slushy Devon. The snow has been melting here today, the first time in 10 days.


Your breads look good, really good, and are much better than I achieved when I started. Like you, I had a bread machine, a Panasonic. I gave it to a good friend about 12 or 13 years ago and then gave up bread making until a couple of years ago. Now it's something I can't let go.  I love it - and, thankfully, my family and friends seem to enjoy them too.


I tend to work with two standard recipes, one for a loaf using a pre-ferment plus the main dough and the other for a country loaf. I made a sourdough that was out of this world (well, out of my world) then promptly lost all my notes and let the starter die. Things have been hectic, one way or another, for the last 7 or 8 weeks but I'll get another starter going as soon as I have time to slow down and take a good breath.


If you get a tenth as much enjoyment from baking as I have, then you'll be a happy camper. Good luck with it all.


Sojourner