The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi Everybody

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jgmathis23's picture
jgmathis23

Hi Everybody

Hi,

After 59 years of loving good bread, I finally decided to learn how to bake it.  Actually not sure of the first year or two- oh well, 55+ years anyhow.  We live near Philadelphia.  My wife Peggy and I have 2 grown children.  Of the four of us, I'm clearly the one who knows the least about cooking (and other topics, as 3/4 of my family would assure you).

Greetings to All

Jim Mathis

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Welcome Jim,

Pats or Genos? ha ha

Wingnut

jgmathis23's picture
jgmathis23

Depends on whether you're "Whiz" or "Whizout".  Both are Philly institutions of course.

Thanks for the welcome.

Jim

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

Welcome aboard!  May I make a suggestion?  It will take you a while to learn to bake bread if you use TFL and/or a bread cook book.  Neither can be counted on to give you a full picture of what you'll need to know.  I strongly recommend that you find an expert to learn from in an organized way.  People who approach this task to do it as a profession take courses from experts.  You can too at home if you buy a text book and take the time to work your way through it.  I have no doubt that I'd be much better than I am now if only, when I started baking in college, I'd taken my own good advice (I'm a grandfather now.)  

So, I strongly suggest that you buy a text book.  Here are two to choose from:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  Both are excellent, but DiMuzio's is for a beginner and Hamelman's is for someone who knows he/she needs a lots more thorough text from the beginning.  I know that if Hamelman's had been available when I started I would have dropped the hobby.  It would have been too much for me.  I also know that Hamelman's is available at the libraries in my area; DiMuzio's isn't.  But DiMuzio's available used for about half the price of Hamelman's.  Check out the prices for used copies of both at Alibris.

Once you have the text of your choice, work your way through it slowly, doing all the exercises.  It won't take long for you to realize that you're able to answer some of the questions that others pose on this website.

In addition to the work with your chosen text, watch the videos linked to on the website, try to find a local bread hobbyist in your area who will help you with issues of texture and the choreography of dough movement, and practice a lot.  You'll quickly discover that, in the eyes of the friends and family who eat your breads, you can do know wrong.  

Have fun!  That's the most important part.

jgmathis23's picture
jgmathis23

My approach to most things is "from the ground up", starting with a good textbook.  Problem is, when you're a complete newbie, you have no idea which textbooks are appropriate.  I already knew about the Hamelman book from a few references to it on TFL, but when I looked at the sample pages on amazon.com, my reaction was, whoa, maybe I should hold off on this one for a little while.

I did not know about the DiMuzio book.  That sounds like it's pitched more at my level.  I'll order that one.

Thanks for the advice.

You know, what really got me interested in the first place is a chance glance at RATIO, the book about cooking by Michael Ruhlman.  My daughter had it open on her kitchen counter while cooking something for a holiday dinner.  The idea that cooking isn't really about recipes, but about simple ratios between basic ingredients was something that really appealed to me.

So  anyhow, thanks again.  The longest journey starts with the first step, right?

 

Jim

ars pistorica's picture
ars pistorica

edit for: wrong post.

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Get Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast by Ken Forkish.

it rocks!

Wingnut

Pat's, wit wit, all the way.