The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice needed

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

Advice needed

My wife and I recently purchased a bread machine and weren't happy with results of our first foray into bread baking. Therefore, we returned it and decided to try making bread with a Kitchenaid  stand mixer. She told me that bread making was my responsibility. I have never used a mixer, let alone tried  making bread dough. I'm 71 years old with a learning disability and very nervous about the whole process. With the bread machine she did the bread making using Fleischmann's rapid rise yeast. Any suggestions about the yeast or the whole process would be encouraging.  Thanks all..

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

There are a lot of steps in bread making, so it would not be easy to summarize how to do it.  Depending on how you learn best, there are books, online articles and forums (especially here) that answer any question you could have.  There are countless videos for every step in the process.

Like any mastery, it takes time and experience to learn how to do it well, and you must expect a steep learning curve with a lot of failed experiments.  In the same way, you can expect some miraculous results.

Most people here bake with sourdough starter, not commercial yeast.  Sourdough takes longer than commercial yeast.  Baking with commercial yeast can be quite a bit easier, and still quite satisfying

I gather that the science of treating learning disabilities has improved by leaps and bounds from when you were younger.  You might find that you can work with a specialist and make big improvements.

Good luck.

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

Thanks again for an informative reply

BethJ's picture
BethJ

A lot of bakers bake with yeast and stand mixers (myself included). 

What type of bread (breads) are you interested in making first?  I find it motivating to start out practicing on something you enjoy eating.  Maybe we can help you find a good starter recipe.

 

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

Beth, thanks for taking the time to respond. I thought it would be much easier to start with simplicity.........a sandwich bread and toasting. Would you have a recipe for this or could I locate one on this forum? Furthermore, a previous responds  suggested using a sourdough yeast rather than a commercial one. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

There are many many many first timers who have success making bread following Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread recipe, and for good reason...it is very simple and makes great bread (using instant dry yeast, not sourdough).  While it is often made free form, in a dutch oven or combo cooker, you can make it in pans for a sandwich loaf (in the final shaping, just nudge the dough into a roughly oblong form after making the folds in the directions, and set it in a loaf pan, seam down).

I would start there (or here, that is): 

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11376-no-knead-bread

watch the videos too (and there are many more online)

You can make that bread without any special equipment, but a few things will help you out. A mixing bowl, a plastic scraper, and perhaps a bench knife...a digital scale and instant read thermometer would be great too, but not necessary).

Buy some Instant Dry Yeast (not Active Dry, or the stuff in packets), along with unbleached All Purpose or Bread Flour (the latter has higher levels of protein that can make getting lofty loaves a bit easier, but is not needed).

Finally, give yourself time and expect some goof ups, remembering the words I've seen attributed to master baker Jeffrey Hamelman:

"Experiment, play, realize that failure isn’t really failure, it’s an edible part of your evolution as a baker."

If you have questions, post them here with plenty of info on what you are doing, and include pictures if relevant.

Good luck!

 

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

What a forum eh!!!!!  Thanks soooo much for the response and information.....very informative.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

are also lessons.  Might want to try a start there and play around with each loaf.  Don't know your disability but it isn't difficult to mix by hand just to get the flour wet.  :)

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

Mini, thanks for the great information. I have also read your bio and how interesting. It is people like you and others who are so gracious with your time, that makes the world a different place.  Thanks again

BethJ's picture
BethJ

My suggestion would be to start with yeast breads, and save the sourdough starter for when you have built up a bit more experience (should your interest take you there).

The King Arthur Flour website - www.kingarthurflour.com -  has a wealth of information regarding baking, including baking sandwich breads.  KAF offers not only recipes, but a variety of instructional guides and videos, all of which are free.  Most of the KAF recipes have hundreds of reviews by bakers who have tried the recipes, and the insight and tips contained in the recipe reviews can be quite useful (I find it beneficial to read through the reviews before choosing and/or trying a recipe).  

Hope that helps!  Here are some links, for starters:

White Sandwich bread:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/white-sandwich-bread-recipeClassic Sandwich Bread:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/classic-sandwich-bread-recipeClassic White Sandwich Bread:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/king-arthurs-classic-white-bread-recipe

 

amateur4sure's picture
amateur4sure

Beth, You are a saint for passing along a wealth of helpful information. The world needs more people like you!!!!!! Thanks again and extremely grateful.