The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from California

BeaSmith's picture

Hello from California

Hey everybody,

I'm a recent grad and figured I'd take up baking as a side hobby with my spare time.  I'm hoping this site will sort of help me learn tips and tricks along the way and I'm looking forward to getting involved in this community.

- Bea

richkaimd's picture

I was about your age when I started baking.  I'm now a 3 time grandfather with children older than you.  I wish someone had told me this:  baking, as much fun as it is, can be learned more expeditiously from a text book than from a bread cookbook.  Text books, as you well know, are organized to present information in an orderly fashion by an expert.  Cookbooks, while they sometimes have sections about how to bake bread, are never as thorough as texts.  Take a look at DiMuzio's Bread Bak.  It's not much more than $20 and can be purchased used (Alibris and Powell's books, for example).  You should also click on "handbook" above, as well.  See what you think of it as compared to DiMuzio.  If you devoted a year to working your way through one book you'd know more about bread baking than most home bakers.  Unless you're really a serious learner, don't start with the more intense Bread by Hamelman.  Go there after you've made your way through DiMuzio.  Once you've been through any text you'll be able to distinguish the good tips here from the less so.

I recommend that you look at all the videos clickable from the link at the top of the page just to get a sense of things.  Later you can go back to them.

Finally, if you can find someone locally to watch working with dough, someone who you like to be with and who will let you touch and work with dough from whom you can learn the choreography, do that.  Post you interest on this website telling us where you live.  There may be someone close to you.

And practice, practice, practice.  It's fun.