The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Louisville, KY!

heavyhanded's picture
heavyhanded

Hello from Louisville, KY!

Hello hello! I am a new cook and new to baking. I just got my own kitchen and am using it as much as possible. Currently I am on Lesson:Three, letting my short baguettes rise and the oven heat. The lessons and all the comments and replies... it's so helpful, so many of my questions already answered. Really nice for someone who hasn't cooked much. Thanks - to everyone.

 

Cheers,

<3M

 

...and yes, after several sad bricks, I finally got my bread to rise! Yay!

then my mother gave me these baking stones and I made this:

I've learned to slash harder and at an angle, this was my first attempt at slashing a loaf:

 Looking forward to the road ahead!

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hope your handle doesn't relate to your dough handling!  :-)

Welcome to the wonderful world of TFL - and cooking in general.    Food is so much better when you make it yourself from scratch.  Even the proverbial bricks can make good bread crumbs.

Your breads look pretty good.  Are you steaming your oven the first 15 minutes or so?

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

Welcome and your breads look fine. I was visiting my brother and asked if he had any flour because he didn't have any bread. Well he had a bag that had been sold as surplus off Noah's ark. I mixed a batch of bread and it would not delevope the glutin and was generally just awful. I had this happen before at another relative's house and I knew that a fresh bag of flour would save the day. We got some and I made a new batch but baked the first batch anyway. Those that didn't get homemade bread thought the first batch was great and I told them when the second batch made with fresh flour was finished they could feed the first to the birds.

The second batch turned out as expected but they KEPT the first batch and ate that too! Even a really bad batch of homemade bread is better than store bought.

 

heavyhanded's picture
heavyhanded

I had to learn the use a candy thermometer to check how hot my hot water was - the person showing me tested on her wrist and could tell that way.

My brother, who is a big bread machine user, thought my sad bricks were just fine and ate them anyway. That is the best part of baking bread - you can eat the mistakes!

 

<3M

Ps. Thank you for your reply - I have to go check my flour now

heavyhanded's picture
heavyhanded

I do love to knead! It's the shaping I am currently working on, I think I handle the dough too much and yes, way too roughly.

I only steam when I want a hard crust - like the baguettes I am working on. When I do sandwich loaves, which was my first baking project, I baste the tops in butter for a softer crust. Is there more to steam than hard, crusty loaves?

<3M

 

Ps. Thanks for your reply, btw!

 

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

The danger with following instructions that put yeast in warm water is that somewhere around 117F, the yeast gets killed.  With modern instant yeasts, yes, including the stuff in the envelopes at the grocery store, tap water works fine.  In fact, there's usually no need to start the yeast in warm water with a little sugar unless you suspect the yeast has gotten hot.  Many recipes here mix the yeast as a dry ingredient with the flour before adding the liquid.

Here in the South, getting yeast "fresh" from the grocery store still risks buying dead yeast.  All it would take is too much time in a truck or out on a loading dock in the sun.   I'm glad it only happened to me a couple of times before I learned from reading TFL that  buying yeast in bulk is the way to go.  Yes, a pound of yeast takes forever to use but in a closed container in the fridge it lasts a very long time and is incredibly cheaper than those little envelopes from the grocery we tend to start out using.  Even though I'm making bread for only two of us and an occasional neighbor, I buy yeast 4 lbs at a time via Amazon and freeze the pounds that aren't open, spending less than $20 on the year-plus  supply of yeast that represents.

The learning that occurs from spending time reading on this site is amazing.  The people here who are expert are so sharing with those of us who  are beginners.  I now rarely make a door stop unless I mean to -- which I sometimes do.  Today we are gnawing on some very  dense, very moist whole wheat anadama rye as a change from several lighter breads in a row.

Enjoy your bread making!  And eating!

ssorllih's picture
ssorllih

I buy my yeast once every three or four years at BJ's (same as Sam's , Costco) I keep it in the foil bag it comes it wrapped with a rubber band and in the freezer. Modern yeast doesn't even seem to need to be warm to raise bread . I make dinner rolls that go from mixing to the a 32 degree fridge and next day to shaping with complete success. Cold tap water works fine.