The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new to this forum

bread basket's picture
bread basket

new to this forum

HI, I am new to this forum yet follow it since a couple of month. I am so excited about all the information I can find here. I have been baking practically all my life off and on, but bake my own bread regularly since I live in the USA (I am from Switzerland, 18years in US) I remember baking my first bread when I was 12 years old. I never had the time and the resources to really dig in this "sience" so I learned over the years through trial and errors. I had learned in school back then the basics: yeast needs water, sugar and air to grow and how to need the dough. I developed my own basic recipe according to what my mixer and my oven can handle at a time. I learned that flour is a living material and that there is no set amount of fluid to add. so I go by how the dough feels and looks. I bake very few set recipes, mostly throw in what I have at hand or what comes to my mind. As you see I am not a very structured baker, contrary to some of you which are very sientific. According to your standarts my bread has probably not been top of the line but it always has been much better than the "stuff' in the plastic bag from the grocery store.  Since I have more time now (retired ) and thanks to you guys my baking has really taken off. I know that I am not yet ready to the commitment to a sourdough starter, so I will stay with yeast. I do have some basic questions: I love the preferment method. Can I use this for any bread type? What is the reason for salt in the preferment? Necessary or not? That's on my mind right now. More questions will follow. Thanks for everything I can learn from you.

ehanner's picture

Hello Barbaraetroyer,

Welcome to the site. Let me say that I think those of here that are structured bakers have great respect for those who can bake instinctively. I know in my own case, it took me a long time to be confident enough in my skills to be able to mix a dough with out measuring with a scale. So I would say we have as much to learn from you, as you from us. Besides, now you ARE us. Smiling!

Your question about pre fermenting; I can't think of any reason why a pre fermenting would not be good for any bread mix. Usually about 20-25% of the total flour is subject to a very small amount of yeast and allowed to ferment in normal room temperature for at least 6 hours and out to 12-16 hours. The longer times are where the need for a small amount of salt would be needed to slow the activity. For 12 hour fermenting, salt is usually not needed in my opinion. My favorite Italian bread recipe is one that uses a "Biga" which is a firm preferment for 12 hours. The aroma of the Biga is wonderful and the bread is too. Hope this helps. I look forward to seeing your work.