What aspect(s) about bread making scared you the most, and how did you overcome that?
I had been interested in bread making for quite a number of years and even acquired a good number of baking books. However, all of the books required a stand mixer or recommended hand kneading for an extended period of time. When I attempted hand kneading, I was simply guessing and my results weren't that spectacular.
Like many people, I started making bread when introduced to no knead/dutch oven baking. And so for the past 2 years, I bake every weekend, using a variety of techniques and making different styles of bread and some viennoiserie.
those look delicious, what are those? care to share the recipe?
Sorry for the delay! They are my variation of the much beloved morning bun. Instead of a croissant dough, I use a more bread like hydration (had been baking kouign amann). I'd done 2 folds vs 3 folds, and while 3 folds are nice aesthetically, I haven't had anyone tell me that they prefer or notice the difference.
Here's the morning bun recipe.
And a crumb shot.
Looks dangerous :)
Getting to know how much time to give bread dough to rise, or what it should look or feel like when it's risen enough, or even over-risen. That was years and years ago, and after much practice and a lot of bread, I can tell by looking at it when it's ready to bake.
Someday I'll get there... now I generally do the side poke for lower hydration dough.
The scariest part for me was kneading the bread enough and knowing when the gluten was fully developed. Also how the dough should feel, of course different doughs have different textures. In the beginning I was so afraid I would overknead it so did not knead enough. It's still always a delight when the bread rises, especially watching oven spring. I still turn the light on in the oven to watch the magic happen.
Not to mention messy hands... I really didn't know how to deal with that. Then it was like magic, the dough changed and all wanted to be with its own kind.
I've sat in front of the oven for 30 minutes once, watching...
Yuhp, adding the salt. Every time, even now. Had one bad day a long time ago, and it still haunts me.
As in putting in too much? I once halved the batch but forgot to half the salt. Caught myself in time and scooped it out.
What I feared the most when I first made bread was that bits of the latex paint on the wooden countertop would get kneaded into the dough.
I got over this when I finally moved out into my own apartment, which had a Formica countertop.
Mmm extra texture! I'm still afraid to work directly on the countertop. I always use some kind of board... wood, plastic, cookie sheet...
Flaking paint on a wooden countertop would scare me plenty! If I did not have granite, I would buy a piece of marble to work on. Nice smooth surface that is cool so dough doesn't stick to it easily.
I often bake using a wood fired oven.....and then the scariest part is "is the bread done." I have a laser thermometer and a probe type which are wonderful tools. Somedays, especially if it is windy, the outdoor oven does not hold temperature well. A few times I've had to finish baking loaves inside using the electric oven. (not ideal results, obviously!)
How did the bakers in Pompeii work without thermometers or a back-up oven? : )
For me it'd be the fear of my dough not rising during the proof. I blame it on the unpredictably cold weather in the UK.
the fear that the house would burn down. The oven hadn't been cleaned in well....forever possibly at least a good many years and it hadn't been over 350 F either. So when I cranked it up to 500 F for a preheat to bake David's San Joaquin the oven sort of caught fire and smoked to high heaven and the smoke alarm went off and it was a disaster even before the fire was out . Oddly, the bread came out A OK . David said that my bake proves how fool proof his recipes really are :-)
Now I just worry about setting my apprentice on fire now and again..... so no worries :-)