The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Breadmaking 101 - An Introduction to Bread

raqk8's picture

Breadmaking 101 - An Introduction to Bread

Hello! I am a new food blogger at I am writing a series on beginning breadmaking. I know the majority of people on this site don't really need the tutorials, but I'd love some feedback! Here's the intro. Please see the website here at Ovenmitts for the whole post!

Breadmaking 101 – An Introduction to BreadPosted on October 23, 2011

I was going to post one of my favorite bread recipes today when started thinking about how I got into bread making. Let me tell you – it wasn’t easy. I did a little research, found a whole wheat sourdough recipe, and dove right in. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Wrong! It took me quite a few complete fails, numerous “just alrights,” and many “almost there’s” before I was able to make a loaf I was satisfied with. It was definitely a journey, but an addictive one. I would constantly think about how I could improve my loaves, what kind I could try next, how to make my sourdough taste sour. I bought books and tools and ingredients. I spent hours on end reading recipes, tips, and advice. I made loaf after loaf after loaf, and finally, after all my efforts, I made something I was pleased with. It was nowhere near perfect. I could still think of many things I could change to make it better. But it had good flavor, good texture, and was something I was proud of.

I’ve come a long way since then. I never buy any bread at the store anymore because I love the stuff I make at home. I consistently make bread that I am happy about, and I feel proud every time I eat my PB&J.

Just for reference, I eat PB&J almost every day.

I understand the ingredients – what they do, how they react with other ingredients, how they will affect the flavor. I’ve made – many times – a sourdough bread that my boyfriend calls home about (no, I’m not joking!). And I LOVE making bread. It takes a while, sometimes up to two days, but it is totally worth it.

So, I thought I’d share my two cents with you on beginning the process of bread making....

Again, please see my website for the whole post and to leave feedback or ideas. Thanks so much!


linder's picture

I read your post with interest.  The path of breadmaking is not a smooth one.  I made many a brick bat before I finally achieved a loaf of bread that actually rose and was edible.  The first successful loaf was a white sourdough bread that also had a 'ton' of yeast in it, but I have to admit that bread did rise and was very tasty.  From there I began working with the Tassajara Bread Book recipes, whole wheat, oatmeal bread, light rye and other breads closely followed.  I made bread on and off for a number of years until about 3 years ago when I decided the bread in stores was so awful and expensive, I had to make my own.  I was lucky enough to join a CSA that where the farmer grows wheat and sells the flour and wheatberries.  Another experiment began, milling my own flour.  In the past years, I've begun to experiment with more exotic loaves - baguette, ciabatta, pagnotta.  My guides have been the Il Fornaio cookbook and Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.  I'm still learning and experimenting, attempting to increase skill and knowledge about bread baking.  It's always a good day when the bread dough rises!

raqk8's picture

I would love to be able to mill my own wheat someday! As a college kid, I still can't even afford the really good flours (for example, KAF), but I know I will someday, and I will appreciate it so much! Thanks for the feedback.

codruta's picture

hello, raquel. I like so much your journey, or the introduction to it, mostly because I find myself in your story (well, not in your PB&J story, but in the rest of it). I'm a new blogger myself, I try to share with my readers what I learnt from my past mistakes and experiences, and I know how important for them it is to find all the answers in the same blog, unsophistically told and to encourage them to ask anything (like you said, "No question is a stupid question"). The beginning is always hard, but keep doing what you're doing, and be true to your thoughts... you'll be surprised after a few month to see that you'll have a lot of readers and be prepare to bond with them. I'm sure you'll do a great job!

codruta, from Apa.Faina.Sare.

raqk8's picture

Codruta - Thanks for the feedback and comment on my blog! I visited your blog and really like it - I just wish it were easier to read! The google translator isn't the best... Thanks for the encouragement about the readers - it's sometimes tough to keep posting when not many people are reading! It's a good thing I love to bake and write though; it helps keep me motivated.