The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

i confess - i use random recipes

pcake's picture

i confess - i use random recipes

sometimes i use recipes from people here on TFL or a book, but sometimes i look around for something on google - searches like "fast yeast bread", "cottage cheese bread" or whatever strikes me at the moment.  sometimes i'm literally heating up the oven when i feel like trying something often fairly random.

the first time i tried that, it didn't work out well, and i learned something about baking reviews.  i found a 5-star rated bread recipe, and it didn't work out at all.  then i went back and read the user reviews.  almost every 5 star review was based on mods the people baking it made - less sugar, different amounts of stuff, even different ingredients and temperatures.  since i had been baking for less than a week, i wasn't really able to figure my way around it.  and it really was more of a 2-star bread without mods.

these days, i read a bunch of the 1 star reviews and the higher reviews on a recipe to find what - if anything - people are consistently changing.  and now, with going on three more months of baking and over 30 loaves under my belt, i can make some of changes or decide not to and it works pretty much all the time.

btw, i'm currently baking a recipe that was found randomly two weeks ago when i wanted something fast.  i typed in "fast yeast bread", and it was delish, so i'm doing it again :)

love's picture

if take one step further and learn that most bread is basically just slightly different proportions of flour, water, salt, and yeast, and get a basic understanding of fermentation, you don't need to look up recipes at all, you can just make up your own recipe off the top of your head that will rival the best.

dabrownman's picture

make up bread recipes, so can most humans who are breathing occasionally.  Yes it is pretty easy once you get the basics of bread down and that can take a bit of time and effort, not to mention the failures, not that I have had any since Lucy became my 2nd cass apprentice and formula maker-)  It's just flour, water, salt and yeast if you aren't doing Lucy's  Whole 15 Grain No More Than 30 Ingredient Challenge Bread - which no one seems to want to do for some reason

HeidiCooksSupper's picture

Yup, that's how I do it any more.  No recipes.  It's more learning how different flours and other ingredients behave and the effects of changes in hydration and method.  Using the same percentages and amounts, a bread made using white bread flour may be large and chewy whereas the same made with rye is a doorstop ideal for thin slicing and cream cheese.

It takes awhile to get here.  Reading TheFreshLoaf is a great place to start and I still come here for research.  Nothing beats just taking wing and trying things.  For me, each loaf is a new experiment.

pcake's picture

i thought "yeah, i could try doing my own", so i did. 

i wanted to make cottage cheese bread, and i bought cottage cheese, but couldn't find a recipe i liked, so i put together ingredients that made sense to me, threw it in my compact with the dough hook, and after a minute, saw it was too wet so added some flour till it was the texture i wanted.  did the rise, fold, rise and put it in the oven.  came out better than great - my husband said it was my best yet, and i thought it was, too.  yum!


dowbright's picture

I've learned tons from reading the reviews or replies to recipes. People have such creative ideas, and in making the recipes, from here and elsewhere, I'm getting many more loaves that work, compared to some of the "attempts" I had earlier. 

Luckily I had enough semi-successes early on that I kept at it. It's a lot of fun now to have more confidence!