The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What does it take to become a "good" bread baker?

Steve Petermann's picture
Steve Petermann

What does it take to become a "good" bread baker?

We see a lot of new bakers on this site. I myself am relatively new to artisan baking. Now obviously, "good" is a relative term but I'm interested in what experienced bakers think is essential to becoming a good bread baker.

hreik's picture

and failures and successes and reading.  And more practice.

just my 2 cents


DanAyo's picture

Agree wuth Hester. IMO, the evidence of a good baker is the ability to bake good bread with consistency.


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

and repetition is the mother of knowledge. The things that helped me become a competent, (not great) baker are as follows with all carrying equal weight

1. Availability of reliable information

2. Determination  

3. repetition

 Without being lucky enough to live in the information age, I think it would have been virtually impossible for me to learn bread making without some kind of education either formal or otherwise. That being said, it was a determination to keep trying that helped me gain the most important kind of knowledge, the almost innate ability to know how the dough should be reacting to your interaction with it. When we start out we hear people say you will get a "feel" for it. Personally, I was baffled by that phrase. However, little by little unknown to my conscious mind I did develop a feel for the dough I make. In order to become a "great" baker, it would be necessary to continue to push one's self to try new techniques and master the ones already known to us.


Yippee's picture

ask sensible questions

learn from the best

pay attention to details

follow reliable formulae and instructions

set high expectations for self


love's picture

There are two kinds of breadmaking progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter.


We have to walk the razor's edge between heuristics and theory, emphasizing a sense of practicality while setting the bar very high for where you want to get. We want to get good bread while learning as little theory as practically possible. It is however very important in the "formative phase," the childhood of our skill, to emphasize good theory and strong guidance as the first information tends to be the most influential.



We must have an understanding that it may take many cycles of failure & adaptation to end up at a suitable level of skill that achieves our desired ends. 

It is like the perfect golf game... while knowing that we may never attain it, we are driven by this striving for perfection.

Steve Petermann's picture
Steve Petermann

Yes, I think a good baker is someone who has both become skilled at the techniques involved and also attained enough knowledge of what's going on to draw correlations when things go right and when things go wrong and then make adjustments accordingly.