The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Checking in from Delaware

Wynder's picture

Checking in from Delaware

Greetings, folks!

My name's Rob -- I'm a 30-something year old father of two.  I work at the local college, one of the fringe benefits being we can take courses there for free.  Since we have a culinary arts program, I've spent the past year practicing my skills as a culinarian.  I'm currently taking Baking, which we're about 3/4 of the way through and, being on week 4 of breadmaking, I thought it fitting I finally register an account here.

I've loved making bread long before I started taking this class...  I've done a lot of research into the science behind it (many times landing me on this site) and have had some bad attempts and successful attempts at breadmaking.  I'm getting a lot more consistent and want to focus a lot more on the artistry and practicality of bread making.

I'm very much looking forward to getting to know folks on the site, learning from others and sharing what I know!


richkaimd's picture

You are the first TFL newbie whose opening introductory comment includes that you've taken serious classes in bread.  I regularly recommend to newbies that they choose to buy and read a bread text book on the theory that such texts teach from the ground up.  Thus they are better than most bread cook books.

What have you been given to read in your course on breads?


Wynder's picture

The 16-week class is general Baking, but we spend 4 or 5 weeks just on bread...  Sadly, because we cover so much over the course of the semester, it's little more than a cursory overview of basic techniques: blooming yeast, mixing straight dough and formation of a few different shapes, then a lot of putting those techniques to practice.

We're using "On Baking" by Sarah R. Labensky, which does have some good information about the stages of baking and what happens chemically along with some troubleshooting tips, but nothing as in-depth as I'd like or that I already knew from reading and research beforehand coming into class.  Honestly, each chapter is, perhaps, 6-10 pages of instruction with 10-15 pages of recipes.

While the hands-on is nice, I've actually learned a lot more from the Stella Culinary podcasts as well as asking questions of another gentleman who does the "This Week in Food" podcast who happens to be a Baking Chef Instructor of Baking at Le Cordon Bleu Chicago.  Out of personal interest, I also took the time to read some of Reinhardt's books, as well as baking at home on my own, giving me a distinct advantage over the typical 18-21 year old culinary student.

This is all for personal edification anyways, but the instructor gives me special attention and assignments because I usually finish so quickly, so it's nice to have that extra challenge and hands on time.

proth5's picture

Delaware!  No one's ever from Delaware - which although not the land of my birth was the land of my growing up.  Still have strong connections there.  Of course, I'm now fully transplanted to just about the diametric opposite of the Diamond State (the high, dry land of big skies - CO) but still  have many memories of the state of the Blue Hens.

Welcome to TFL - sounds like you are off to a great start for bread baking...

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Rob.

Welcome to TFL!

Is your work at the college as a chef or baker? Your pastries in the other topic are gorgeous. I would suspect you of being a culinary professional already.

What sorts of breads do you enjoy baking?

Do you have access to Michel Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry?" It's a text I believe you would enjoy.

Looking forward to seeing more of your creations.


Wynder's picture

My work at the college is as a web application and database developer, specializing in PHP, MySQL and Oracle.  I'm technically a culinary student -- I just take it fairly seriously. :)

I love making baguettes, just because of the tradition ensconsed in the technique and shape.  Outside of that, I'm also practical; I enjoy doing dinner rolls to have them on hand for meals.  I've just ordered one of the Brod and Taylor proofers as well as a brotform, so I'm hoping to get more into baking artisan style breads in the very near future.