The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Service Bread

Peter.granger4's picture

Service Bread

I am new to bread baking (about 9 months) and am glad to find a community of bakers, amateur and professional, that truly enjoy sharing their stories. I love the discussions about successful and not so successful baking adventures. I’ve quickly learned that there is no such thing as a bad loaf of bread if it has some of the baker’s heart and soul in it. 

I started baking after being encouraged by my wife to try something new. I’m a retired US Army infantry officer and about 10 years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD after three combat deployments.Years of therapy has helped me cope with day-to-day life and heal parts of myself. Yet I was yearning for more.

Then, I found bread. I received a copy of Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bread from my wife and started to read. Long before I started my sourdough starter (which I am still using) I found myself drawn to the stories. What I quickly discovered, as you all know, is that bread is a living thing. There is a connection between the baker and the bread. This connection extends to those who get to enjoy in the fruits of the baker’s efforts. 

Baking has become more than way to fill the dinner table with healthy food. Ok, the lunch and breakfast and snack tables get filled too. Baking is a way to connect to myself and others. It is not the only, or even the primary, tool in my therapy plan. But it is a really nice addition to it.

I have added sprouted Einkorn, semolina and buckwheat to my basic country white sourdough repertoire over the last few months. The sourdough is still my go-to bread, while the others are for fun and experimentation. I recently bought a Komo Fidbus 21and started experimenting with home milled flours (with mixed results, but I’m keeping notes in my log). 

I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories and tips. I’ve picked up a few pointers from here already and I hope I can share my adventures to help others along the way. Cheers.


idaveindy's picture

Thank-you for your service.  And welcome to TFL!

Only nine months in to bread baking, and you bought a mill?  You've caught the bug!  ;-) 

If you do Kindle ebooks, Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads is on sale for $5.99 in Kindle format.  That goes well with a home mill.

Robertson's books occasionally go on sale in Kindle format too. You might want to get Tartine No. 3, as it goes into higher percentage whole-grain loaves, and the specialty/ancient grains.  As in the first book, it has excellent photography.

In my opinion, Reinhart is the better teacher, but Robertson is the better "artiste" and photographer.

My favorite/best loaf so far was with 90% home milled grain, and 10% King Arthur All Purpose flour.



clazar123's picture

Isn't it interesting how we all have stories about how we got involved in this soothing, crazy, challenging, connecting craft? Congratulations on finding a path forward through difficulty. Part of the success people have in healing or coping is "merely" persisting. In quotes because there is nothing easy about that.

My story had a gentler call than yours. My mother was the youngest of 12 children. She spoke highly of her mother who baked 1-2 times per week and filled copper washtubs with baked goods and loaves of bread. It was a huge family with both grandparents coming from large families themselves. Family gatherings were legendary. My grandmother had 12 children in an 18 year span and this was back starting in 1915. Being the youngest-and with her mother in ill health as she became a young adult- my mother never learned much about bread baking. She was great with biscuits and cookies/cakes but her loaves were usually bricks. So I wondered how my grandmother made legendary, light loaves so often and probably with natural yeast. Cake yeast was available but expensive. She did not have any written bread recipes-only cake, bathtub gin (:) ) and cookies were written down in her hand. And so I learned how to make the bread my Grandmother would make and my Mother could not make. I finally learned how to make light and fluffy biscuits that my mother was renowned for.It was a mission for me and I did succeed.

So my start into bread baking connects me to my loved ones. I understand what you mean by that. Every time I make a loaf, I remember my mom and uncles (who were better bread bakers than my mom but unable to tell you why/how). I never knew my grandmother except through family stories but I cherish her strength through the stories. When I give bread, I know the effort that goes into the loaf and gift some of that spirit to the recipient. Sometimes the best healing is giving of self.

Keep posting and show some pics! No such thing as a bad loaf. And always bake some delicious love!

Peter.granger4's picture

I made these for our family Thanksgiving. Two of them are straight sourdough and two I made with a poolish. All of these went over well and it was so much fun making them.

idaveindy's picture

PG:  If you're in Utah, check out this company for whole berries:

If you're within driving distance of Petaluma California, check out which also sells all Central Milling stuff.

If you're in the Midwest, from Arkansas through Wisconsin, check out , and visit the two links at the bottom of the page, Delivery Information, and Delivery Schedule, to see if you are in their direct company-truck free delivery area, $400-$500 min order.  But, there are buyers clubs along those delivery routes too, so email the company to see if there is an informal club for group orders near you. I am fortunate there is one for Indy, which orders once or twice a year.

if you live in Amish country, they sometimes have outlet stores what sell whole berries.  E&S Sales in Shipshewana Indiana is one.

Whole berries are pretty cheap at the farm.  It's all that shipping, farm to wholesaler, wholesaler to retailer, retailer to you, that makes it expensive.

Go here:

and click on "bulk order form" to see how cheap!   But the catch is you have to buy 4,000 pounds to get that price, and then you pay truck-freight shipping from their farm/mill to you.  (I was once part of a group order that did that. But it took a lot of work and book-keeping on the part of the coordinator, and then helpers on the day it arrived, to unload and collate two tons of berries and flour.)

Peter.granger4's picture

I'm not near any of those areas but do live near a number of Menonite communities. I've purchased a good number of food items in a few different stores, but haven't visited since I started baking. The tough part about going there and looking for wheat berries is that I know I will leave with a ton of fresh baked goods. I guess I can offset the sweets with fresh vegatables and other goods. I'm like a kid in a candy store in local shops that deal in fresh produce and cookies.