Newbie Artisan Bread Maker
I've just joined this group and have spent the past several hours reading through the forums - what an amazing bunch! I'm excited that I've found you all, and I know you'll be able to help me get started.
First, a bit of history, then my questions:
I've been baking bread at home for the past several years. Mostly "Betty Crocker" recipes, which have served me pretty well. The bread is tasty, and my husband doesn't seem to think that I should change a thing. However, in my quest to become a better baker, I've recently branched into sourdough - using a yeast-based starter. After more research, I've started a wild-yeast starter - hoping to switch to that one fully once it's ready.
My goal is to produce 100% whole grain sourdough breads with few added ingredients. From browsing the forums, I've gathered that this type of bread is more "dinner" style bread, and that sandwich bread needs ingredients like white flour and dairy to be light enough to stuff with sandwich goodies. I'm ok with that. I'll try that type too.
I've also just been reading up on stretch and fold (which is a bread-new concept to me!)
So... here are my questions:
I need a good recipe to start with. A basic, simple, preferably whole grain sourdough recipe that I can learn on. I have read that WW breads are a bit tricky for beginners because of the sharp grains (is this right?) but I'd rather jump right in with a few flops. It can't be worse than the sunken-topped bread with pores so open that honey leaks through that I've been feeding my poor husband for months now! (In my own defence, it does taste good and its moist... :-p)
After I get a handle on a basic loaf, I think I'll feel more confident in trying other, already posted recipes. When my hands know how to stretch and fold, how tight WW bread needs to be formed - stuff like that.
Oh... I don't have scales. I know, I know... I've just read the heated debate about them. I'm now instantly aligned with half the members of this group, and the other half will tell me that scales should be my first purchase. I can't make that purchase right now, so volume measurments would be appreciated.
Am I totally off base here? Am I asking the impossible? Do I need to start with plain white bread with eggs, milk and honey to get a good idea of what bread should be?? I hope not...
Thanks in advance for any help you can give. I look forward to your responses!!