The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings From the Pikes Peak Area

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Junius's picture
Junius

Greetings From the Pikes Peak Area

Greetings from Colorado Springs, CO. I just now joined the site after stumbling across it. I have not been lurking so I don't know a lot about how things are done here.

A bit about me: I am a single guy and I like to cook for myself. I may not be the greatest cook but I like to try new things in the kitchen. Years ago ( probably over 30 years ago) I made beer bread. I don't remember much about it but it is safe to say it was not wonderful. More recently I have baked several cakes with very good results using recipes from The Cake Mix Doctor book.

Recently I developed an interest in baking bread. After educating myself a bit (thanks to the Internet) I decided to try my hand at baking sour dough bread. I made a starter and fed it for about a week before baking the bread. I baked the sour dough in a cast iron Dutch oven (to generate steam while baking). The results were mixed - the flavor was not bad at all but the texture of the bread was not great. I realize now I should have started with something easier.

Since then I have been reading through a couple of books I checked out from my library - Artisan Breads (from The Culinary Institute of America) and Amy's Bread (by Amy Scherber). I have learned a lot about gluten development and many other things I should have learned before trying to bake bread.

Over the past 20 years I have made numerous batches of beer - many from scratch - and that experience should come in handy when baking bread. Beer, after all, is really "liquid bread". The ingredients are similar: grains, water, yeast. When making good beer you have to provide a proper environment for the yeast - a skill that should come in handy when making bread.

Please bear with me as I learn. I will probably ask a lot of questions along the way. Thanks in advance.

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Junius, you have come to the right place to find many answers ;-)

To get some idea, try the [Search] function at the upper left of the page, for a few topics.

Ron

proth5's picture
proth5

to another high altitude baker.

Good Luck - we're here to help...

jcking's picture
jcking

Junius,

There are no mistakes when trying new things. Only learning experiences. If you learned to make beer, you can learn to make bread. My learning experiences turn into croutons and bread crumbs. {:-))

Jim

Junius's picture
Junius

Thanks. I am looking forward to learning.

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

Greetings, we are in Castle Rock, not far from Co Springs. I have really enjoyed making bread up here in the clouds, I get great tall loaves with relatively few problems. Sourdough is fun, and not that hard once you get the hang of it, but as a beer maker you could get all crazy and go medieval style using the beer yeast to make bread. I have no idea if that is good or not or how you would do it, but it sure sounds fun! Search in here on the pinapple starter, it is really easy to get a strong starter going quickly. This week mine was so happy it bubbled out of its little container and got glop all over my cabinet =/

Junius's picture
Junius

Howdy, neighbor (jlewis).

When I made the sour dough bread I made my starter using whole wheat flour and unsweetened pineapple juice. I ran across the instructions somewhere on the Internet. My starter worked fine - lots of little bubbles from the fermentation and a good smell. I suspect my problems were more related to 1) inadequate gluten development due to insufficient or improper kneading (due to my lack of experience) and perhaps 2) not making adjustments for baking at 6,200 feet. I was not upset with the results. Rather, I was pleased with the flavor (which was evidence I did something right - namely the starter). I was trying a lot of new things for the first time and I fully expected the bread to turn out less than perfect. I look forward to making improvements a step at a time.