The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings! New from PA!

Anelissablock's picture
Anelissablock

Greetings! New from PA!

Hello! I love baking (pies, tarts, muffins, cakes) but bread is a whole new thing to me! As a beginner, I am trying the no kneading method, and I am getting addicted to the smell of freshly baked loaf! The next thing I want to try is baking with a Dutch oven. I hope I will master the basics and be able to enjoy kneading my first loaf soon!

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Kneading bread is so good for you, mentally and physically. I love the feel of the developing dough and it's good exercise for your whole body. It really is a relaxation technique for me. Hope you love it too! Welcome!

studiowi33's picture
studiowi33

Hi Anelissablock-

You sure picked a good community to join. This is by far the best topical site I've ever encountered and knowledge is freely given here. I'm always finding something new to Google (which usually points directly back to here.)

Good to meet you.

 

-s.w

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

What I'm about to write isn't news to anyone who's read my many previous posts on this subject, but here I go again:  I strongly recommend that you take a cue from the folks who are extremely serious bakers (those who do it for a living) and learn bread baking from a text book, not from a bread cook book.  Text books are much better at taking you from the beginning up, helping you to build your knowledge foundation slowly and steadily.  While it's very tempting to work from a bread cook book, you just cannot get the same attention to the foundation that way as from a text book.  Pros go to school for months to learn what they do, reading from a text book and doing exercises in a kitchen under supervision as they go.  You can do the same, whether by taking a course locally or by buying a text book for a beginner and working your way through it.  I recommend DiMuzio's Bread Baking.  It can be fairly inexpensively purchased used at Alibris or maybe Powell's books online. 

Start at the beginning, reading and doing the recommended exercises, building your foundation of knowledge slowly and steadily.  You'll discover along the way that the questions posed by readers to TFL become ones you can answer yourself because you've learned from the text book. 

I also think you can learn from videos the choreography of bread kneading and shaping as well as the differences in the manipulation of high hydration doughs (for French and Italian breads) and low hydration doughs (for traditional white and whole wheat breads, for example). 

Think about it:  no pro would ever be where he/she is without actually studying the subject seriously from a text book.

 

 

 

LisaE's picture
LisaE

I'm feeling that was not a warm fuzzy welcome. It kinda sounded like, "Don't bother us here, we are bread snobs. Go read a book instead." Am I mistaken about this site? Is this a professionals only site?

Floydm's picture
Floydm

No, this site is very much not just a site for professionals or aspiring professionals.  It is a site for amateurs, in the true sense of "those who do something for the love of it" regardless of their level of expertise.

Welcome, Anelissablock, and happy baking!

-Floyd

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Thank you, I was really happy to see this reply. Sorry if I seemed so put off, I really like this site!

studiowi33's picture
studiowi33

+1

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

The OP has already said she does take her learning experiences seriously, so your advice may be great for her.  I will just note, however, if I'd had that sort of advice as a newbie, it would have put me right off of bread baking.  I wasn't aiming for total professional results - I just wanted some tasty bread.  Technical stuff would have intimidated me. 

I learned a lot from a few websites (mostly about what conditions the yeast needed) and by following the recipes in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  Yes, some bakers here will turn up thier noses at that.  But it worked for me, and helped get me to the point where I am now, ready to branch out into more challenging breads.  But for a family dinner, the BH&G roll recipe is still what I'll break out, because I've gotten so many compliments.  I'm more interested in feeding my family good food than in having anything perfect or professional grade or artisan.  Everyone has their own goals and personal tastes, for bread baking as well as any other hobby.

Anelissablock's picture
Anelissablock

yes- I have been reading some posts and feeling very motivated tdove able to bake bread using the traditional method. richkaimd: thank you for your suggestion and recommendation regarding the textbook- I am usually very serious on my learning experience- whether it's music, a language or baking a loaf of good bread! I was thinking about getting into a course and learn it professionally, but guess not before my kids are entering school! So far now it's limited to videos and textbooks- and that can be difficult as the possibility to get good advice and being assessed is limited. I will get the book you suggest and start from there. 

I am so glad thave be found this site and l am very much looking forward to learn more! :)

 

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I love TFL.  I visit it not once but several times a day.  It's a quirky, happy place for all levels of bakers.  Please don't be put off from TFL by my recommendation that you read a book.  My ideas come from my wish to help you learn about bread baking from an expert (DiMuzio, for example) who's always available to you because you've got his book.  Approaching the learning of bread baking by reading only TFL will take longer for a whole host of reasons, though it can work.   When I mention that the pro's learn from books it's only to say that they have a good idea that you might also take advantage of to speed up your learning curve and help you place your feet firmly on the ground about what you're doing. 

butterflyblue's picture
butterflyblue

Welcome!  I got into no-knead last year and did it often for awhile, but then went back to kneading, because I just enjoy the kneading process.  It isn't difficult, and can really be relaxing.  I've found these forums VERY useful whenever I have a question, and the people very helpful.

Anelissablock's picture
Anelissablock

I am overwhelmed by the number of replies here! You are all lovely people with passion about baking, even a simple loaf of bread! The thing that keeps me coming back to read all the posts on TFL is the passion you guys show to baking and also to such a diverse communityfeel have a feeling that I will be meeting a lot of wonderful, passionate, yet serious people like yourselves! 

 

Last night I baked my fifth experiment. A loaf of simple whole wheat bread. It did not taste good. I remember there were times when I came over a really good loaf of bread in a restaurant- I had the urge to simply run into the kitchen and ask how they made it. It's such a ashame sometimes restaurants with good entrees serve horrible bread.  I wonder if I will ever be able to take something wonderful out of my oven one day- and I know that takes time and persistence.

 

i thrown the rest of the bread in the garbage bin and wonder what went wrong. I know the no knead method also works for a reasonable loaf of bread, but so far not for me. It did not taste right- smells alcoholic and the texture was not appealing. it measured everything carefully and followed all the instructions. I could easily yield a good pie when doing the same, but with bread it's just different. Maybe that's why I am so attracted to it.

i am trying again tomorrow. I am still going to use the no knead because I have not yet able to solve the problem. We will see!

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Floyd (forum #1 boss man) reviewed a beginner's kit for no-knead bread that comes with a book and everything you need, or you can just buy the book and ingredients. 

Review: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/30961/average-joe-artisan-bread-kit

Kits: http://breadkit.com/overview

 

LisaE's picture
LisaE

Hi Annalise,

(Hope I got the name right) I have a heck of a time making whole wheat bread too! My daughter loves it and won't eat that store bought stuff anymore but I find it bland. One more reason to have started looking around for a realy good whole wheat sandwich loaf. I haven't found it yet, or am not making it right, but if I find it, I'll let you know! Floyed has a honey whole wheat recipe on this site and I thought it was not bad after all the mistakes I made LOL. I will be trying it again after the last loaf is gone, I'm sure it's fabuluos.

Lisa