The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from an amatuer baker in michigan

  • Pin It
n3rdchik's picture
n3rdchik

Hello from an amatuer baker in michigan

Hello from the Great Lakes State -

Though I live next to and work in Ann Arbor, home to Zingerman's, there $6-$10 bucks a loaf is a bit steep on the budget, but now I have an appreciation for good bread.  But with work, little ones, and a forgetfull brain - I am still trying to integrate into the "bread lifestyle".   I'll probaly be peppering you with questions on flour storage, buying bulk and adding baking to a full schedule.

Peace, 

n3rdchik

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

Wow, I'm a student at uofm (hence the name...creative eh? : \ ), and I've been wondering if anyone on TFL was in MI. Though its not the same, I can sympathize with a full schedule, being a full time student, part time employee, and also being a bit forgetful as well... It seemed that everyone was either a west or east coaster, and it made me kinda sad. Good to know i'm not alone here! Best of luck to you in your breadscapades, i'm sure you'll find lots of help. 

-Cyrus

n3rdchik's picture
n3rdchik

So where do you get your flours?  You know Eden Foods has a distribution center in Clinton? - I have been contemplating picking up a 50lb bag of their Organic Hard Spring wheat flour, but I am just tracking my consumption...  I bake once or twice a week...

normally I pick up KA flour at the local grocery store... 

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

I'm a member of the people's food co-op in Kerrytown, and up until recently i had just been buying small bags of their bulk flours (they have white, whole wheat, and high-extraction bread flours, as well as rye, spelt, barley.....you get the idea). I just learned how to order in bulk, and recently bought a 25lb bag of heartland mill golden buffalo to use for something like $13-14. Their regular bulk-bin ingredients are at a pretty fair price. I shop there because it's just about 2 blocks from my house. I've been very pleased with what i've bought from them, when i got small bags from the bin and also from the 25lb order. I don't know if you'd want to grind your own flour, but i know they have hard spring wheat there as well.

-Cyrus

jeanldw's picture
jeanldw

I love this site!  Learned so much already and I just found it last week.  I've baked bread in the past, but mostly plain white, baked in a loaf pan - boring!  I've been trying the Italian loaf in the recipe section and I thought I'd try a baking stone.  I'm using two pieces of slate tile - leftovers and therefore free from a flooring store!  Can someone tell me if I cut down on the baking time when using the stone?  Today's loaves turned out great, but the other day they seemed a little underdone.  I'm new at this so I'm not ready to fool around with changing recipes!

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

There is a big US Midwest presence here on TFL. I grew up in Jackson and live near Milwaukee, just across the lake. Mini Oven is a U.P.er and there are many others. Ann Arbor is a great city.

I would suggest that you find a locally available All Purpose flour that is inexpensive and learn to make good bread with it. I started off buying King Arthur AP along with all the other specialty flours by mail order for the most part. When Gold Medal introduced Harvest King last year to the retail market I discovered a great flour at half the cost. Our local stores carry HK for $2.09 for a 5# bag where KA is$4.90. How you handle the dough is more important than which brand you use.

The baking stone thing is tricky. Suggest you check out the "Eye Opening Techniques" link on the front page of the site. Most breads can be baked on a sheet pan using Parchment paper and many Fresh Loaf members no longer preheat for extended times. Many times I turn on the oven and when the temp reaches around 300 F I put the bread in. No more wasting the energy preheating a stone for an hour at 500 degrees.

I look forward to seeing your progress and welcome to Fresh Loaf Central!

Eric

JERSK's picture
JERSK

   Cooking on a stone may decrease cooking times a little if they are properly heated. The oven temp , hydration and weight of your loaves have more effect. I suggest getting an oven thermometer and instant read thermometer. Oven thermostats can be off quite a bit. If you have a gas stove they are east to calibrate, probably electric too, I just haven't tried. the instant read thermometer will tell you the internal temp of your bread. Take it's temp when you think it should be done. Loaves are done between 200-210 degrees F. 205 is optimum, but if they are at least 200 you should get some carry over cooking. Also, they are still cooking until they cool to room temp completely. If you cut into a hot loaf it'll probably be underdone and won't continue to cook.

jeanldw's picture
jeanldw

Thanks for the comments!  I will look at "Eye opening Techniques".  I'll also look at getting an instant read thermometer.  I have a beautiful gas stove.  Right now it's set at 425 and the thermometer I have inside reads 425.  The recipe baking time was 40 - 50 minutes.  I took the loaves (2) out at 40 minutes and cut into them about 45 minutes later - although it sure is hard to wait!  They turned out really well!  I also had put the stones in the oven then turned it to 500 to preheat them, then down to 425 to bake.  Great crust both top and bottom.  I'll be trying more and different bread recipes and it looks like I should maybe purchase the Brad Maker's Apprentice.

Jean