Hello, thanks for adding me. Eric
Welcome to Fresh Loaf. Floyd Mann is our host. We welcome questions, experiences, and answers.
Hello everyone, I'm so glad to have found your website. I received the Hamelman BREAD book over a year ago and read it from cover to cover. While I found it fascinating and loved the descriptions of the recipes, I was intimidated enough to take a year + to bake my first loaf of bread. I finally decided to just jump in a try a loaf, after all what was the worst that could happen, I'd waste some flour and yeast if it was too awful to eat. So, I began with the Whole Wheat Bread recipe on p.122. My first attempt, while tasty, was disappointing - dense and close-textured with virtually no oven spring. I fine-tuned a couple of the steps in the process and tried the same recipe again. There was a microscopic improvement, but still, leaden bread. I tried a third time, following all the instructions precisely, everything at the indicated weights, temperatures, and times. Same results. So frustrating.
Then, I looked at my bag of King Arthur Bread Flour and realized that it was past the stamped date by 4 months. I really didn't think that that would be enough to cause my disappointing results, but decided to try again with fresh flour, both bread flour and whole wheat. I had been so meticulous about all the other factors, I just didn't know what else to try. So, today I tried again and miraculously - it worked!!! The loaf is much larger, rose inches higher, has a soft, loose crumb and is at last a real loaf of bread! Who'd a thunk it!
Now that I have my first reasonably successful loaf under my belt, literally and figuratively, I look forward to baking my way through this wonderful book. I've learned a lot from these 4 first attempts and won't be so afraid the next time. And I look forward to the inspiration of all the beautiful photos on the website and access to your collective wisdom.