The Fresh Loaf

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Advice Needed for First time baker

hreik's picture

Advice Needed for First time baker


Our son wants to try baking bread.  I"m supplying him with a combo cooker, a brotform and a lame.  He's leery of a recipe with 'too many steps'.  He needs to start with a straight dough. I'll scale it down for him for a single loaf.  I cannot decide between having him do Hamelman's Country bread,  Forkish's Overnight White Bread or Forkish's White Bread with 80% Biga

I remember beginning with the  80% biga and being ecstatic when I got a lovely loaf.  I waited 6 months to get Hamelman's book and by then was doing only Sourdough so never tried his Country loaf.  All opinions deeply appreciated esp. from people who were very nervous at first.  He's lives too far away for me to help him directly.

Thanks in advance.

Above is my pain Rustique from last week.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

How about 1-2-3 SD that other bakers had great success or Jim Lahey's no knead bread where you virtually do nothing. Sorry, I'm not familiar with the recipes that you mentioned. I was nervous too when I started baking especially having no oven and no one to consult but cold books and online sources but I was not afraid to fail at that time believing that I could always try again. It took me a lot of fails before I began to taste and eat my little successes. With you providing him equipment and an advice or two on the phone, he is on his way to success. Just tell him not to be afraid of failure especially at the start and encourage him to always strive for improvement.

That loaf looks so beautiful.

hreik's picture

For a newbie, I want him to start with a straight dough, not a sourdough.  I thought 1-2-3 was for sour dough only.  I could be wrong.  I'll check it out.  Thanks for responding.


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Otherwise what's the 1?

Unless you make it some other kind of preferment like a poolish. 

Arjon's picture

and as newbie-proof as possible. So, commercial yeast not SD, and keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. Good old AP, yeast, water and salt plus a straightforward no-knead method like Lahey's is very likely to let your son produce a nice, tasty newbie loaf, thereby starting his breadmaking journey on a positive note. 

Mixing different flours, addins, stretch and folds, etc. can wait until at least loaf #2.  ;p

hreik's picture

I'm not familiar with his bread recipe.... I'll look it up.  Again, thanks


hreik's picture

I just took a look and it's just perfect for a first timer!!!

Very grateful.


Danni3ll3's picture

no knead bread. It makes great bread and you can’t get simpler than that. Actually that is the first bread I made that got me to here. 

hreik's picture

I'm trying the recipe today / tomorrow so I can help him.  Need to try it myself so I can advise.

Ty so much

Southbay's picture

1 bread = 1 cup of water + 2.5 cups flour + 1 tsp salt + yeast or starter

Make the dough, let it proof in the brotoform, bake it when it doubles. 

With a combo cooker, preheat oven and combo cooker to 450F. Bake 20 minutes covered at 450, then remove from combo cooker and bake 20 minutes at 350. 

This is deliberately simplified, but not by much. The amount of yeast/starter can vary, the type(s) of flour can vary, things like seeds or olives can be added, and scaling up is simple. The dough can be kneaded or stretched and folded, although quick yeast doesn’t allow much time for that, and autolyzing some or all of the flour can be explored. Without exact, to-the-gram measurements, he will need to develop a feel for when the dough has reached the desired consistency, which I believe is more helpful than a digital scale. Figuring out details like what to put on the pan and brotoform to discourage sticking, resting sourdough overnight, the best flour for the results he wants, how the ingredients are combined, add-ins, etc is a big part of the fun and joy of discovery. A simple recipe leaves room to develop your own style and technique.

hreik's picture

I appreciate the help and advice and recipe.  I'll hand it over to him.  Thanks again.