The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from a newcomer

Miller's picture

Hello from a newcomer

I started being interested in baking bread less than a year ago. I don't know exactly why the inspiration came to me to start baking, but I am now hooked on it! The magic of creating bread, such a wonderful, tasty and versatile product, from a few simple ingredients will never cease to amaze me.

I don't bake very frequently as I have to travel abroad about twice a month, but I mostly try to bake once a week when I am at home, especially during the weekends. I have stocked myself with many books on the subject, but most of my efforts to date have concentrated on a small number of recipes. I actually found this site through a mention about it in one of the books that I read. Browsing The Fresh Loaf website is a very pleasant way to spend some long hours in airport lounges whenever I get the opportunity!

I have a number of very basic questions to ask, which I shall hopefully make in the appropriate forums. I think that my questions generally arise because of information overload and I trust that the experienced members of this Forum will be able to help me out.

pmccool's picture

And welcome aboard the good ship TFL   Questions and answers and posts are always welcome.


richkaimd's picture

I've written this note before to newbies.  Here I go again.

I suggest that you learn from a text book, not from a bread cook book or even much from this website.  The difference is striking.  Text books, unlike cook books, are written for students with the explicit effort to teach from the foundation up.  There's so much to learn that you could spend months learning from this website what can be taught in a chapter of a text book.

Consider this:  professional bakers take classes; why shouldn't you, too, learn from an expert's text book?

You could be reading a text book on your travels.

Two very different texts:  DiMuzio's Bread Baking and Hamelman's Bread.  I, myself, wish I'd had the DiMuzio text when I started.

Floydm's picture

Plenty of folks have learned to bake starting on this site.  Or from a friend. Or a class. Or from cookbooks, not text books.  "Different strokes for different folks" and all that: you may prefer to approach a new hobby as an academic pursuit, but a lot of people would prefer to take a less formal approach.  As much of a bookworm as I am, if every time I decided to try something new for fun it was recommended I read a textbook I would hate it.  

Also, since when is the goal necessarily to mimic a professional?  I've brought it up before, but the tagline for this site uses the word "amateur" with the intent of emphasizing the original sense of "lover of" regardless of skill or experience. One does not need training to love something.

Welcome, Miller!  Your questions are welcome; we're always happy to have another baking enthusiast here. I do agree with Richkaimd that DiMuzio and Hamelman's books are excellent, but so are Reinhart's, Robertson's, Leader's, Forkish's, and many others.  Find one or more source of information that works for you (us included) and run with it!


Miller's picture

Many thanks for your welcoming comments!