The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi...new bread baker

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Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

Hi...new bread baker

Hi

In the recent rising prices, mom and I decided to start baking our bread at home. She knows how to make standard breads and adjust it empirically. I spend more time baking brownies and cookies and desserts. In terms of bread books, we had an all Betty Crocker Breads (from which I tried english muffins which came out quite nice and Egg Bagels which were...well...they got kinda squingy/shrivelled when I boiled them but they tasted okay...just well eggy of course).

Reading through my books I discovered their limitations and realized that I'd have to get...well better bread books especially if we're baking all our bread or as much as possible. So I caved and bought (well it doesn't take much persuasion to buy a cookbook...just money) Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible (and her other bibles too...:-D)

And my first attempts from BBA were the marble rye bread

Sliced Marble Rye Loaf

And I finished making his bagels today and they were awesome! They just tasted great and chewy. And we all think we've never had proper bagels, even such good tasting ones. I'm sold! Tho it may seem tedious to me right now (3+ days for a bread), I'm going to try to make my way through the WHOLE BOOK! Yay! I can't wait. I haven't uploaded any pictures yet.

Anywayz, nice to meet you all!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Lilandra.

Wow! You seem fully charged and ready to bake some bread.

Welcome to TFL! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in baking. Do look around at the lessons, photos and browse the forums. You will learn a ton and accelerate your learning a lot.


David

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

Hi David!

thanks for the welcome. 

Well, the bread, even the simple white loaf mom makes tastes so much better. It does sometimes get tiring to think oh no I have to put up a bread (machine) or make some dough but I think we're much better off for it.

When I was kneading the rye dough, I was sooo excited and called my mom so she could see it. I couldn't believe I was doing it...:-)

I'm sure I'll learn a lot here! thanks

 Lilandra

Marni's picture
Marni

 This is a great place to learn about bread baking- lots of friendly helpful people.  Welcome to the world of bread!

BTW- I also enjoy baking sweet treats- brownies, cookies etc.

Marni

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

hi!

I really love brownies and chocolate and truffles and cookies. Cookies are great because they can be made so quickly. If only I'd baked more refrigerator cookies then maybe making a 3 day bread wouldn't seem such an  insummountable task. But I shall overcome.

thanks!

Lilandra 

holds99's picture
holds99

Welcome to TFL.  You sound very enthusiastic.  You've picked 2 great books (Reinhart's BBA and Rose Levy's Bread Bible) to get you on your way...and TFL is a terrific community with terrific people, many of whom are truly first class bakers, willing to help with problems when they pop up.  Looking forward to hearing more about your baking adventures in the future.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

hey thanks for the welcome

i made a ciabatta from BBA but haven't uploaded any pictures yet. people like it. i'm not sure if it's holey enough (i've no clue) but it was nice! :)

 Lilandra

holds99's picture
holds99

Lilandra,

Here's a picture of ciabatta I posted a while back using Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible recipe.  She recommends using a Kitchen Aid mixer and the recipe is very easy to execute.  It's a very wet dough and really comes out best using a mixer.  Also, you can use the SEARCH feature on this site (top left of this page) and key in "ciabatta" and take a look at some of the other ciabatta posts and pictures. 

Good luck to you.

CiabattaCiabatta Loaves No 2 Loaves No 2Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

oh that looks really nice!

i intend to try her recipe next.

this is mine. i don't think it has the right look (not sure what the word is...holes?) and it was so tiring i'm not so ready to try it again.

But I was kinda prepared (I think I read here and other places where they said his recipe tends to squish loads of gas out...but I wanted to try it regardless).

We liked it, it tasted great but I wanted huge holes! :)

And I made anadama bread from BBA (no pix uploaded yet) and it came out not at all like it was supposed to...I might be able to track many possible mistakes! I'm going to read other people's experiences with this bread here.

Thanks for your pictures - I am encouraged to try RLB's method!

holds99's picture
holds99

Lilandra,

One thought.  No matter how tempted you may be, do not add addtional flour during the mixing and kneading process (because you think your dough is too wet).  Wetter is better.  Usually, the large holes are a result of very slack (wet dough) and "stretch and fold".  Adding more flour will reduce your hydration (moisture content) and cause your bread to "tighten up" and inhibit the nice rise.  Try a few "stretch and folds" during bulk fermentation, it will build the gluten nicely.  Here's a video clip from Richard Bertinet, a French baker who has a baking school in Bath, England.  In this video he demonstates how to handle wet doughs.  He's making a sweet dough but the same principle applies to any type slack dough.  If you haven't seen this techinique demonstrated before, you'll be amazed at the results.

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/video/2008/03/bertinet_sweetdough

Good luck with your baking adventures...and keep at it, you're on the right track.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

thanks for the video. i'll look at it later in the day.

i can't remember if i added more flour (i kept telling myself don't but i don't know if i listened to myself)

the thing is, with the other breads i made i had to add more flour than what the recipe called for...so how do i know when it's for real and when it's just the right wet?

Lilandra

holds99's picture
holds99

I wish there were a magic way to do it.  It's something you will develop with experience; the look and feel of the dough.  I have a Kithen Aid mixer that is an old friend, which I have had for 20 years.  But lately I have taken to making any new recipe completely by hand first time around so as to understand the look and feel (touch) of the dough.  Repitition is extremely helpful.  By taking a recipe and doing it a number of times, until you "own" the process, is the only way I know to do it.  One thing I strongly suggest is to follow the recipe/formula directions to the letter and don't get creative until you thoroughly understand the recipe/formula.  If you don't have a digital scale you should seriously consider getting one.  Accuracy re: the weight of ingredients, especially flour and water (hydration level), is a major key to successful results.  Also, there are a number of videos available on-line, which will help.  Watch them a few times until you understand the technique(s).  King Arthur offers some excellent videos on their site.  I have a couple of their videos.  The one that is the least expensive is, in my opinion, the best.  It's called: The Bakers Forum - Artisan Breads and features Michael Jubinsky.  My recollection is this video cost about $15 U.S.

Here's another link to a video clip from Julia Child and Danielle Forestier re: making baguetttes, which may give you some ideas.  The videos are at the bottom of the PBS webpage under Prime Cut Videos - Part 1 and Part 2. 

http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/free/baguette.html#

Good luck and keep us posted. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Lilandra's picture
Lilandra

thanks very much!

i do need to get a new scale (*sigh*)

the pickings are rather slim here (trinidad and tobago). i haven't found a good one to buy yet...or at least the places i've been too, i've only seen one digital scale that...well, i wasn't sure about it

i'm probably going to have to make a shopping trip

we have a mixer (can't recall model). but i figured since i'm now starting this whole bread making endeavour i shouldn't use it until i've made the bread by hand...i'm not my mom. thankfully she knows something about bread and sort of has an idea why i'm doing something or...what might've went wrong. I'm happily calling it the leaning process! :-)

thanks, Lilandra