The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Recipe for beginner

katlyn's picture

Bread Recipe for beginner

I have never made a loaf of bread in my life. Steered away from yeast items.  Not enough time 4 active children involved in everything, and my active career, not to mention my husband's.  Now that I am retired and the nest is empty I would like to learn to make bread.  I would appreciate any and all help.  I have zero experience in this area, but I do have a kitchen Aide mixer with a dough hook that has never been used. ha!   Is there such a thing as a simple loaf of bread? Something simple to start with?     I just found the "Lesson" above.  Wonderful, going to start my first loaf today.

richkaimd's picture

Considering that professional bakers learn their trade from experts, why shouldn't you?  If you're not going to go to a school, you can learn from a bread baking text book.  I don't mean a bread cook book; I mean a real school text book.  If you want to learn bread baking in an organized fashion, rather than hit or miss, this is the way to do it.

Look at these two books:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  They're quite different.  I wish I'd had the DiMuzio text when I started over 40 years ago.  I do, however, know people who start out with Hamelman's and love it.  Both books can be purchased used on-line at Powell's or Alibris.

I also think you should spend the time it'll take to watch all the videos linked to this web site.  Even if you don't understand what's happening you'll get a sense of things and know what to go back to.

One last piece of advice:  learn the distinction between Northern European and Southern European breads.  One difference is that Northern has a "cakelike crumb", that is to say, inside the crust the bread is fairly dense and has no visible holes.  Southern has a crumb which is full of holes.  Think of baguettes and Italian breads.  It is my recommendation that you start with Northern European breads first.  A basic white bread loaf, you might call it a sandwich loaf, is where to start.





pmccool's picture

can be found by clicking on the Lessons link at the top of the page.  Work with the bread in Lesson 1 until you can reliably produce good results, then move on to Lesson 2.  As you work along through the lessons, you will develop the skills and knowledge that you want.


dabrownman's picture

and good luck with your bread quest.  You started in the right place ans as time goes on we will look forward to you posting your results.  Bread baking is one of those things that go so well with retirement.  Have fun and Happy Bread Baking.  Hope you find it as rewarding as I have.

cranbo's picture

A few hints on Floyd's Lesson 1 (if you're using your KitchenAide mixer) that will make it easier, faster and quite possibly a better tasting bread:

1. Instead of kneading by hand, knead with the dough hook anywhere between speed #2 and #4 in your KA mixer for 10 minutes (no less! use a timer). 

2. Let the first rise happen a tall, clear container (like a large transparent measuring cup or clear pitcher) where you can actually see when it doubles (it's harder when it's doubled in a wide, flat, non-transparent mixing bowl or other container). Watch the dough, not the clock: it may take 60, 90 or 120 minutes for it to double, depending on how warm your kitchen is and how warm your dough it. 

3. Don't "punch it down" after the first rise, and skip the 2nd rise. Just shape it into your desired shape (round, loaf pan, etc), then let it have its final (3rd) rise (also called proofing) to a little less than double. If it's in a loaf pan, that should be about 1" above the edge of the pan on all sides. Again, watch the dough and not the clock; it may take 20, 30, 45, 60 minutes or more for the dough to reach 1" over the top of the pan. 

Bake as Floyd instructs. 

Share the results with us! We can help you figure out where you went wrong.