While I'm begging for help...bread hints....

Joined Apr 5, 2002
I've just started playing around with making bread(for myself not for customers) and just wanted to know if anyone recommends a certain flour, yeast, any tips?!?! I've just tried baguettes(sp?) so far but would like to try sourdough but I keep forgetting to start the starter:bounce:

Joined Aug 14, 2000
As someone here (no names but think large head covering) once advised me, go deep before you go wide. Find a white bread recipe and make it over and over again. You will learn to bake bread by feel rather than strict recipe adherence. I d mean feel. Your hands are the most important bread baking tool on the planet. Once you have mastered the white bread, you will have learned more about bread dough than you thought possible.

Sourdough should be Phase 2. There are so many new twists, vs. yeasted bread, that you will be better served by bringing your white bread knowledge to the table.

As to flour, yeast type etc, You can buy bread flour in most supermarkets. You should also be able to find RapidRisr, QuickRise or other forms of Instant Yeast. I prefer Instant yeast over Active Dry yeast cuz it can be mixed in with the drys and does not knead to be proofed. That is purely personal preference.

I would also suggest getting your hands on a good bread book. Peter Reinhart is A) A master bread baker & B) A teacher by profession. I started with his Crust & Crumb. He has since published The Bread Bakers Apprentice. Either will serve you well:)
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I totally agree with Kyle's advice. It's a curious thing but some of the most difficult things to produce have the simplest ingedients. Wine, after all, is nothing more than fermented grape juice. But making a good wine takes years of patience and practice. Bread is only flour, water, salt and yeast. How hard can that be? Yeah!
The first 100 pages of Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" is devoted to the science of bread and a great resource for anybody serious about the subject.

Joined May 29, 1999
If you can find the childrens book "the bakers" buy it. Simple, basic formulas I use at home again and agian!
It has basic bread, pita and bagels as well as hard tack!
fun, easy and informative on an informal basis.

No rushing and all enjoyment!!!!
Joined Dec 7, 2001
I've made good bread with many diff. flours --an awsome baguette with pilsbury gold medal (looked, felt and acted like bread but not much flavor).

so, practice with the cheaper flours, then, I (personally) like Giusto's and/or King Arrthur.

much depends on what you are making but i am assuming here you are working towards an ideal french (sour or plain) baguette/batard.

good luck,

a couple other good books are, if not already metntioned, are

Tassajara bread book

the village baker

Joined Dec 23, 2003
One thing I have learned from years of baking bread for myself - commercial products are superior to retail versions.

Yeast - buy fresh yeast and don't buy it in a supermarket. Find a bakery that will sell you a lb. block. I have a local bakery that sells me a block for $2. The yeast you buy should be solid, unchipped, bright tan, smell yeasty and have no graying/discoloration.

Flour - do yourself a favor and don't buy supermarket flour. Again, find a local baker that will sell you 5 lbs. of hi-gluten bread flour. Smell the flour you buy. Good flour smells wonderful. I've never bought a bag of King Arthur's flour (or any other supermarket brand) that smelled as good as the stuff I get from my local baker. I've also never had any supermarket flour develop gluten as well as my bakery stuff does.

It may take a little extra effort to find a bakery that will accommodate you, but believe me, the quality of your bread will benefit with the superior ingredients.
Joined Apr 5, 2002
Thanks for all the great info. I'll head to the bookstore when I have a little time but in the meantime I'll keep practicing and trying out recipes just to get myself used to the whole bread process. Just smelling the bread baking is worth it even if the end product could be used as a weight!:D
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