The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A few recipes or many recipes?

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Ronan's picture
Ronan

A few recipes or many recipes?

As a new baker, I am have been pouring over books and online recipes.  Given my personality, I want to always try different recipes and tinker with things.  On the other hand, my mother-in-law has baked the same 3-4 recipes for 50 years.  Her wheat bread is always the same, her rye bread is always the same, etc.  I know this says something about our personalities and also our level of baking experience.  I would be interested to hear if you settle into a few recipes that you love or if you like to experiment with lots of different recipes.


After trying a few wheat recipes, I found one that I really like.  With my "what's around the bend" personality, I am tempted to keep switching the recipe.


What advice would you have for a new baker?  Just stick to a few recipes?  Keep experimenting?  


If you are like my mother-in-law and stick to a few recipes, how did you settle into a recipe.  


I know that there is no wrong or right answer hear, but I would be curious about your thoughts.


 


Thank you,


Ronan


 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I like to experiment, that's part of my nature. That said, I gravitate to about 7 different breads that I've made in the past, constantly changing, revising, revisiting, but really just riffing off of those recipes. 


One of them is a no-knead sourdough


Another is soft buns/rolls


Another is a buttermilk wheat/rye


Another is Floyd's Daily Bread


Sounds like you're having fun with it, do what you enjoy, that's what matters most.

AW's picture
AW

Hi Ronan,


I have a little rule that I use to acquire bread-making mastery. I make a bread 3 times successfully before I move onto a new recipe. That said, I frequently break the rule. :) Like you, I love to try new things. I believe practice is important to refining your craft as a bread-maker, but you should have fun too. Far as I know I only have this life so I might as well enjoy it while I'm here!

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

I stick with a few recipes. Usually it's just the same dough but shaped differently, or a few ingredients added to the dough. 


If I'm trying a new recipe, I work on a small scale just in case if something goes wrong. Better to have a few duds than lots of  them. I use less than a pound of flour.

rolls's picture
rolls

You know I've always been curious bout the same thing. I once read in 'village bakers wife' to stick to jus a few recipes at first till you know them like the back of your hand. But my problem is that there are too many recipes out there and not enough time to try them all lol.

I guess I'll keep trying new recipes but if I'm making pizza for a crowd for example I'll stick to the dough I always use and know will be successful.

I hav to second floyd's daily bread that is one of those classics that you'd come back to as well as heaps of good ones frm this site eg Italian bread, anis bouabsa baguettes etc

I think like me you'll probably keep trying new recipes but going back to a few stand out special ones you find along the way :)

Happy baking

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I have a few "standards" that, IMO, I've mastered.  I rely on those when I need a predictable outcome.  But, very much like you, I enjoy experimenting  -  I learn a lot with experimentation; not just what works but what doesn't.  One of my "standards" is based upon experimentation with a formula I first saw in one of my bread making books.


As previously stated, you should do what you enjoy.  However, if your experiment produces a failure and you can't identify what went wrong you're not likely to be accomplishing much more than wasting good ingredients.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I do both.  When I find a recipe that I like and that works for me, I keep it.  But I keep trying other recipes for other things.

jrudnik's picture
jrudnik

Personally, I am always looking to try new things. However, there are some things that are just so amazing that I have to keep making them over and over again (like Tartine Country Bread). But, if I'm not happy with something I tend to get stuck on it, I remeber last year I think I made 4 batches of pastry cream before I was truly happy. Then again, most of the stuff I make usually employs the same techniques (shaping bread, cooking custards). My mother, however, has a few things that she makes quite excellently, but perhaps a little too frequently.

jowilchek's picture
jowilchek

I started bread baking almost two years ago. MY rule is


company coming/ use a tried and true


everyday baking for my family/ usually bake one batch tried and true (would not want to be without any bread AND try a new formula. This way if the new formula does not turn out we still have bread, if it does turn out we just have extra to eat or share with friends. Basically I have a white loaf formula, a ciabatta, a focaccia, a wheat and rye in my tried and trues file. But like you I love to experiment and discover new tricks, ingredients and shapings. I just learned how to braid and have a loaf of braided bread rising right now, so excited!!


My next adventure in bread making is fougasse....love the shape


I think I am addicted to baking.

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

necessary breads...for example pain de mie and bagettes.  My list started with 17 breads and a big notebook.  Now 5 of the 17 are "finished"  Some of the others are down to two or three recipes. for example, I have a straight dough baguette and a polish baguette recipe. And,once a week I make something new.  Often I love the new bread and add it to my "finished"list...like cheese monkey bread served with marinara sauce. You need to be methodical.


Pam