The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie Baker from The Great White North.

fazeman's picture

Newbie Baker from The Great White North.

Hey there,

I'm Faze, from Toronto, and i'm new to this forum and to baking bread. I have came across the forum few times and read some articles and love the helpful fellow bakers tips and recipes and feedback.

I started baking about 2 weeks ago , the first loaf of bread i made was whole wheat bread in an oven. I'm really enjoying baking the breads and love the fresh smell and the of home baked bread.

The recipe i follow is for 2lb bread  for Whole Wheat bread, but we split the dough so we get 2 loafs and i give the extra loaf to my family members - (grandparents, aunts and uncle).they been loving the fresh baked bread.

For a long time, i really wanted to have baking/cooking project, my dad makes home-made yogurt and he inspired me to start baking. And i'm having fun time doing it and eating fresh loaf of bread.

I have been thinking of investing into bread maker, as i want to make breads often and also make different varieties - desserts, dinner rolls, french breads. and also gift breads to family and friends.

What is good way to package a bread so it dont get dry or bad? i was thinking like putting it in take out containers or those plastic containers like where they have cakes in?

Any good advice on Bread Makers? i'm debating on getting an Black and Decker Automatic Bread Maker Model # B900SC or Cuinsine Art and  saw Wal-Mart has an Hamilton Beach

I look forward to meeting new fellow bakers, and learn new recipes and tips for newbie about baking bread 



Bread1965's picture

Fazeman.. welcome to the board.. and from mid-town Toronto!

Don't get the bread maker. Save your money! You don't need one.

You can make the best bread of your life (and IMHO better bread than comes from a bread maker) if you just learn the craft.. buy yourself a dutch oven if you don't have one... if you're not sure, a dutch oven is cast iron heavy pot with a lid like "Le Crueset" pots.. Or better yet buy this combo cooker ..

When your bread is ready to go into the oven you preheat the oven with this combo cooker inside it - or the dutch oven if that's what you bought - on the middle rack.  The flat pan is on the bottom and the deep round part is on the top. Pull it out without burning yourself, place it on a cutting board or a surface you won't burn (like the stove or a metal rack), take the top lid off, drop your bread into the shallow pan, then put the top lid on and put it back in the oven. Your bread bakes in this "mini oven" within your oven.  Wait 20 minutes and then take the lid off.. keep baking for a while longer depending on the recipe.. / bread..

Doing this keeps the moisture of the bread in the first 20 minutes enclosed in the combo cooker. That lets the dough rise in a very moist environment. When you take off the lid after 20 minutes, it  releases that humidity into your oven and the air around the loaf is now drier. It continues to cook and brown the crust. Don't be afraid to get the crust darker than you think it should be.

Use an instant read thermometer if you're not sure if your bread is done. If the internal temp is around 195/200, you're done unless you want the crust darker. The temp inside the bread will keep rising after you take it out..

Fight the urge not to cut into it for a few hours until completely cold and cool.

Good luck.. most of all .. bake happy!

IceDemeter's picture

I'm totally in agreement with bread1965, with don't buy a bread machine!

You have already stated that you want to be able to make a variety of breads (different sizes and shapes of loaves, rolls, and dessert breads), and the bread machine really can't help with that.  It can mix and knead dough, and bake a very specific size and shape of loaf, but for everything else all it can do is mix the dough.  Honestly, doing it by hand is faster and easier than having to fill and clean the machine (or you could invest in a good stand mixer instead, which has multiple other uses).

A really great place to start learning about bread making is right here, just by hitting the LESSONS tab at the top of the page, and follow up by reading the HANDBOOK tab.  Another place to start learning is on the King Arthur Flour website, with their Guide to Yeast Breads.  There are many really great recipes here on this site, and the listing of Favourites on the front page is a perfect place to start.

Straight yeast breads (using flour, water, salt, and yeast) do not keep well, and are best served and eaten the day that they are baked.  Using some fermenting techniques (such as biga, or poolish, or sponge) can make them a bit more long-lived, as can using an "enriched" recipe (which can include fats such as butter or olive oil, or sweeteners like honey or molasses, and emulsifiers like eggs or flaxseed, among other things).  Enriched dough recipes can last for a couple of days at room temperature, when stored appropriately for the room temperature and humidity (often sealed in to a plastic bag to keep in moisture, or wrapped in cotton or linen to dry it out a bit).

Another way of keeping bread fresher for longer is to use a sourdough (wild yeast / natural yeast) starter instead of commercial yeast.  You can find lots of information on here about creating your own starter.

This is a seriously fun and delicious hobby that you've come across, and there is always much to learn and enjoy.  As bread1965 says, though, the most important thing is to bake happy!

Arjon's picture

in order to know if you should buy one. It might not be hard to find one. Personally, I know at least a handful of people who literally never use theirs. And that's basically without asking, just from people telling me they have one when they learn that I bake.

embth's picture

Thrift shops and second hand stores often have bread machines for sale for just a few dollars.  If you really want one, check out your local shops.  You may bring it back a few months later to be sold again (our local shop is run by several churches that use the profits to aid families in need.)

As my fellow bakers point out, when you've become comfortable making bread by hand, you'll never use a machine.  The bread baked in a machine is different in many ways from a hand made loaf.   Plus, it is much more fun to work the dough yourself and develop a "feel" for when the dough is good.   

Happy Baking!

man_who_eats_bread's picture

G'day, eh!

I've been keeping my bread in 2 gallon zip lock bags and it's been working pretty well. I usually re-use each one for at least a couple weeks.