The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Making Level of Technique Chart

Fresh Mama's picture
Fresh Mama

Bread Making Level of Technique Chart

Is there a chart or graph or something to measure your level of learning or bread making skills? 

Quick breads are the simpliest breads.  I have to assume that.  No kneading, I'd think would fall into that catagory.

Yeast breads, by country etc.

Which breads are considered the most difficult to make?  I'm up for a challange!!!  I have no idea what level I'm at, if I'm still novice or have I tried something difficult yet? :)

FlourChild's picture

I haven't seen a chart or graph like that, but if there were one, I imagine it would have a lot of detractors!  Different skills come easily to different people.

That said, some breads that I think of as being challenging might be baguette (shaping/scoring), ciabatta/pugliese (open crumb), croissant (laminating), high percentage rye (sticky dough and fast fermentation), and sourdough (lots of variables-must learn to read the dough as it's developing).

Easier breads might be straight dough flatbreads and chemically leavened breads (irish soda bread or quickbreads).

dabrownman's picture

I would say there are 3 things:

1. Any bread requiring shaping

2. any bread requiring a slash

3.  any bread not requiring a slash

Other than that it is pretty easy :-)

proth5's picture

consider my years of showing dogs when I think about the continuum of bread baking.  "Why?" you ask.  Well, I learned a very important concept there.  The breed standard.

Now each of our own dogs is the cutest dog in the world - but that's not what the judges see.  They see, in their minds eye a standard of perfection of the breed.  Each is written so that the dog that fits the standard will perfectly fullfill the intended use of the breed.  So while little Fifi might be the apple of your eye, if he doesn't stand between 10 and 15 inches at the shoulder, have a black nose, a springy, water resistant coat, dark eyes and no dewlap - he's no prize winning miniature poodle (breed standard shortened to make a point.)

So it is with bread.  We look for each to be the perfect example of the intent of the bread. A baguette is prized for its airy quality with a high crust to crumb ratio, a crisp crust, and scoring that displays a distinctive ear.  A baguette tradition can contain only flour, salt, water, and yeast.  It is the skill required to manipulate these simple ingredients to obtain the bestpossible representative of this style of bread that makes the simple baguette the test of the baker's skill.

Breads that rely on the taste of the grains require skill and patience to get the fermentation absolutely correct to extract maximum flavor from simple ingredients. ("My teacher" speaks often of the skill that it takes when ingredients are simple and "there is no place to hide.")

Brioche leans a great deal on eggs, sugar, and butter to give it much of its flavor, but its mixing method is fairly rigorous so as to provide a "bready" not a "cakey" texture. And the correct shaping of a brioche a tete is of supreme importance - although scoring comes into play not at all.

A ciabatta must, buy its nature have large holes - a pain de mie must have a smooth texture with no holes.

Even quick breads have standards to aspire to in term of texture and crust formation.

So each bread is easy - and each is difficult.  To understand each bread - what it might be at its most perfect is the challenge of the baker.  To attain that perfection each bake is the chart to follow. 

Happy Baking!


MANNA's picture

BRAVO, proth5.