The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Student baker

spinypineapple's picture

Student baker

Hello! I'm a first year undergraduate student at LSE studying law, trying to bake bread while at university. The site has been fascinating me for a couple of years now, but it's only recently that I've really gotten into the bread baking habit and am now seeking to improve my bread skills. Throughout the years, I have realized that a lot of forum members are from America.. It would be nice to hear from fellow Britons :) 

I look forward to learning much from all the experienced bakers here. 

Also, I bought the river cottage handbook on bread more than a month ago, but find it rather lacking now as there isn't any mentions about bigas/poolish/preferments etc. As I am interested in baking with a variety of flours (wholewheat, spelt, rye), can anyone recommend a good book that would deal with that? I thought about BBA, but from what I hear, a lot of it uses white bread flour. Would his newer WGB be better? Bertinet is also quite well-known in London (if not for the cost, I would be tempted to attend a breadbaking course conducted by him) and he has written a number of books. Thoughts are appreciated! 

also, here is a brioche that I baked recently using the River Cottage Handbook. 


richkaimd's picture

First, this site has lots of recommendations for good books.

Second, my favorite for a serious beginning student's foray into learning isDiMuzio's Bread Baking (a well-structured short textbook with a series of graded exercises).  It's much shorter than the texts used in the lengthy breadbaking classes and explains lots more than the deservedly highly touted Bread Baker's Apprentice and the other wonderful books you'll read about on this site.

Third, while there's really nothing like the hands-on experience of a class, you might be able to find a local avocational baker who'd let you watch/touch/smell his/her work.  You might even send a note to this site telling us where you are.  Who knows but maybe someone who could teach you is on your block.

Fourth, never forget the wondrous Youtube.  Virtually nothing about the technigues of handling dough cannot be watched there.

I've been baking since college and have made more mistakes than I can count on the fingers and toes of my four children and three grandchildren.  Get to work making your own mistakes and learn from them.  It's so much fun!






spinypineapple's picture

Hello, thank you! I checked out DiMuzio on on amazon and it sounds like the sort of book I would really enjoy (I'm a bookworm) 

I've watched a few videos, that's how I picked up the slap-and-fold technique to make my brioche, and the stretch-and-fold from Mike at sourdoughhome. 

Will definitely be making more mistakes on the way heh 

jcking's picture

From what I hear The Queen frowns upon garlic, Poolish, Biga and wild yeast so be careful. {:-))))


Ruralidle's picture

Hello spinypineapple

I am a home baker from the West Midlands and I really got into baking after taking onme of Richard Bertinet's courses - but the price has increased dramatically.  There are quite of lot of other UK members on the forum, look out for ananda and Daisy_A in particular as they are frequent contributors and experienced bakers.   I have sent you a pm so please check the messages section at the top left of the page just under your username.


Patf's picture

S.P. - a wonderful hobby while you're studying. I spent a year at LSE ages ago.

Just a suggestion for a healthier loaf - try Dove Farm organic wholemeal flour, which is what I currently use. Though I do make a brioche-type bread too.

Breadmaking involves much trial and error I've found, still have a "flop" now and again.


spinypineapple's picture

A good and money-saving hobby indeed. No one quite believes me when I say bread-baking allows me quite a lot of time to study - all that rising time! 

I don't like white bread and so far have not made a pure white sandwich loaf; usually a mix of wholemeal/spelt with white or pure wholemeal/malted wheat, want to experiment with rye and pure spelt.. I like Doves Farm flours, have been using their flour for some time along with Waitrose flours. 

That's why I love bread-baking so much, it's different every single time and demands the best out of you every time :) 

Breadandwine's picture

I also recommend Dove's wholemeal flour. I use it in the proportion of 600g wholemeal to 100g white:

Nowadays the white flour is introduced in my recipe in the form of a sourdough ferment.

I'm a teacher of breadmaking down in Taunton - I've three courses running in the Autumn. I'll put the dates on my blog when I get them. 

Nice looking loaf, SP! Great name, as well. Whereabouts are you?

Cheers, Paul


spinypineapple's picture

Doves wholemeal flour is really fine, which I find useful. Been trying a wholemeal loaf using Reinhart's epoxy method, and the density is something to grow used to.. 

I would like a sourdough starter, but it's not that feasible in university (I think?) 

Thank you! I made brioche with a higher butter percentage (50%) again yesterday at my boyfriend's house and it was well-received. I'm currently in London, but I came from Singapore.