The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need suggestions for teaching a beginner

KipperCat's picture

Need suggestions for teaching a beginner

I haven't baked bread for a couple of years now.  Eating that good bread every day is what finally made me accept that I don't do well eating gluten!  A friend's daughter is interested in artisan bread baking.  Everything I remember about artisan bread is a low and slow rise, with lots of time and little yeast.  I'd like ideas for a method that doesn't require frequent intervention.  We live only a 10 minute walk from each other, but somehow I can't picture having her drop by for a quick fold every hour!

I do have Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day, but wasn't very impressed with the results.  Most of the bread I baked was some variation of the NYT no-knead bread

Salilah's picture

One thought - think separately about techniques and timing?

e.g. techniques for someone who has never done bread making (less for someone who's done their own bread)
* mixing up (hand or machine) to rough dough
* kneading - couple methods if wanted
* kneading to get towards windowpane (so you know what a window pane might look like)
* S&F and the physical change you get in the dough
* what a less-than-proofed loaf "pokes" like, and what a more proofed loaf is like (the poke test)
* shaping properly into e.g. a boule

These could probably all be done in a couple of hours, if you had one dough prepared earlier?

Then - the other details e.g. timing, recipes etc could all be done on the phone / paper / online?
It depends I guess on how happy she would be working on her own with a recipe - some people follow recipes fine, others don't quite! <grin>

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And go from there...  Use a recipe that doesn't take long.  Curiosity comes naturally to those who want to learn but one has to understand the basic process to ask questions.  Learn first the basic process.  Then elaborate.   One on one is a good way to learn.  With longer ferments, she can just take the dough with her and bring it back to shape.  

It will come back to you like riding a bicycle.  :)  

placebo's picture

The main difficulty I encountered as a beginner was not knowing how the dough should feel. Was it too wet or too dry? Did I knead it enough? That's probably what I'd concentrate on first.

Use a simple recipe for a lean bread. Mix and knead a batch of dough in a mixer. When it's ready, take out and let her hand knead it a bit to see what properly developed dough looks and feels like. Show her the windowpane test. Then while that one is rising, have her mix and knead another batch by hand so she can see how the dough develops as it's kneaded.