The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Want to Bake Bread like Grandma

BakeonlytheBest's picture
BakeonlytheBest

Want to Bake Bread like Grandma

Hey everyone, I am very new to the whole bread making scene. My grandmother passed away earlier this year and I got her small bread making machine (Oster brand) along with a huge box of recipe cards. My grandmother used to bake bread for all of the men and boys in the fields to eat for a snack and I would love to learn how to make it as well as she did so I can bring a huge surprise platter to the next family reunion. 

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I started baking bread with the same intent. That was many years go now (12??). I never knew my Grandmother but the family stories abounded with her legendary capabilities in baking and sewing. Interestingly, my Mom could bake sweets  and made heavenly biscuits but her bread was always hit-or-miss. I found I had to forget anything she ever told me about bread-baking before I started learning how to make bread. I can make a decent loaf, these days, but I still make occasional loaves of bird food. The important thing for me was to figure out what bread is, how the elements are made and how different ingredients (different flours, pH, fats, enrichments,salt,etc) affect the outcome. The best way to learn all this was baking 1 recipe over and over and questioning what happened and what affected the outcome. This site is wonderful for help but you still have to sift the real info from the pseudo-science.

The most important thing is to bake some deliciousness and enjoy yourself doing it. Oh,...and take notes.

 

BakeonlytheBest's picture
BakeonlytheBest

I love doing pseudo-science in the kitchen. Just means I get to eat more of the 'experiments'!

the hadster's picture
the hadster

I know how you feel.  For me, preserving the recipes of our grandmothers and great grandmothers is so important.  The ability to stretch a strudel dough is being lost...

Anyway, I read this book and that book and finally happened upon Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhart.  The light bulb went off and I haven't looked back since.  For some reason, his explanations, methods and recipes worked for me.  

My cousin always wanted to make bread, for the same reason as you do, but for her, it was her mother who baked the bread and she had her mother's bread bowl.  I gave her a few chapters from Crust & Crumb to read and then took her through the recipe, standing beside her the whole, time, But I Never Touched The Bread.  She made a beautiful loaf.  I have her a copy of the book as a gift.

Simply begin.  You will find your way.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I've been wanting a copy of this for a long time! Now I have something to read while sitting in the little bread shop today. :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

there is in that little book.

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I learned to bake bread as a small child, at my Grandma's side. She made very simple white bread, baked in her old sawdust-and-coal-fired cast iron stove, and it was the best bread ever (at the time, of course!). She used to give me a small bit of dough to knead and shape, and I would have my very own little bun to eat fresh out of the oven. Yummy! It took me a long time to get back into baking bread, after a long busy career doing other stuff, but I never forgot those early days. Now I'm waiting for my own grandson to get old enough to 'help' me make bread. :)

BakeonlytheBest's picture
BakeonlytheBest

Thank you for all the lovely words everyone. It is good to know that you are surrounded by helpful, supportive people no matter if you are baking bread, or breaking it. 

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

is in that box of recipe cards.  My mom and grandma made little notes in the margins of their recipe cards that saved me all kinds of work trying to figure things out on my own.  Everything from the order in which ingredients are added, to favorite substitutions.  It's a treasure trove!

Have fun baking your way through the box!