LOOKING for: A Beginning Bread Maker: So Intimidated!

sayhellonowOctober 16, 2008

I really would like to learn how to make bread, but I've heard all kinds of stories about how long it takes (I don't care), how you have to use this and can't use that, stay away from drafts in the kitchen, etc., etc., etc.

I know some of you great cooks can give me a really easy close-to-no-fail method of making bread. Once I get the basics down I think I can move on to whole wheat (my preference) and sourdough (friends love it).

Thanks in advance everyone.

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Why would you be intimidated? If its' not good you have only wasted abhout $1.00 worth of flour and yeast....lots less if you only made a 2 loaf batch.
Just try a simple bread, mix it up and bake it.
I would start with basic French...
put 1 1/3 cups water, warm water....about the temperature of a baby's bath....shouldn't feel warm but just about blood temp....better too warm enough that too warrm.
Add 2 packages of yeast and a teaspoon or 2 of sugar....doesn't really matter....you could add more...or less....
Let it sit until you see some bubbles on the top...or not...you could start adding flour right away...
Mix 1 1'2 tsps salt with a cup of flour and stir into the water and yeast...
Then keep adding flour until you have a batter so stiff you can't stir it...,.
Turn out on a lightly floured counter and knead for 10 minutes...add only enough flour to keep it from sticking to the counter.
then put the dough into an oiled bowl....scrape it up with a spatula or dough scraper....cover with a piece of plastic and keep it comfortably warm....and it will puff up after an hour or 2.
Turn out onto a board and pound flat and wad up into a ball again and put back into the bowl for another hour or so.
Again turn out onto the board....cut in half and make a couple of loaves as best as you can...put on a greased baking sheet.....cover with plastic....let sit until it ;ooks twice as big....then put it into a 375 oven until it's browned....about 30 to 35 minutes...
Eat hot with lots of butter!
Even if its' bad it's good!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 8:18PM
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Follow the link below to the Cooking Forum FAQ and the excellent tutorials from Tricia on making bread. I would advise that you try a couple of simple white bread recipes first and then move on to whole wheat once you have mastered the first recipes.

Here are two basic loaf bread recipes to get you started:

English Muffin Bread
Yields: 20 servings
"This recipe will make 2 loaves of chewy English muffin bread. It's leavened with yeast and baking soda."

2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active
dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1. Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm (125 degrees F/50 degrees C). Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle cornmeal inside pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff batter is formed. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

Shaker Daily Loaf

2 pkg. fast-acting dry yeast
1/4 C. warm water
1 3/4 C. milk
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tea. salt
5 C. flour

Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a lrg. mixing bowl. Warm the milk and melt the 3 Tbsp. of butter in it. Stir in the sugar and salt and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Add this to the yeast bowl along with 3 C. of the flour. Beat until smooth with a mixer. Add the remaining flour and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 min.

Place the dough on a plastic counter and butter the top of the dough with about 2 Tbsp. butter. Cover the dough with a very large. stainless steel bowl and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Punch down and shape into 2 loaves for lrg. bread pans. Place in bread pans, then again brush the top of the dough and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 min.

Both of these recipes make excellent toast!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking Forum FAQ page and bread tutorials

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 6:43AM
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There are few things in life so satisfying as making bread. It relieves tensions while being kneaded, smells wonderful while baking, and then tastes marvelous!
Don't worry if your first loaf or two aren't perfect--it's the taste that counts, and with practice the appearance will improve.
Linda C is right (as usual)in saying that French bread is easy for a beginner. Try her recipe, don't worry over the small stuff, and enjoy your efforts! Come back to the forum in a week or so and tell us how you did (great, I'll bet).

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 8:05AM
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I would also like to try to make bread. I actually bought yeast yesterday (had a double coupon) - but have never attempted to make bread before. I have a very basic beginner question. Do I need to use a specific type of flour? (Sorry, I am baking impaired).


    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 8:50AM
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For most recipes I use unbleached all purpose flour. If you want to follow a recipe exactly that calls for bread flour - then go buy bread flour. Gold Medal, Pillsbury, or King Arthur unbleached a-p (all purpose) flour is fine for your first loaves. If all you can find is bleached flour, then get that. Do not use self-rising flour for yeast bread recipes unless the recipe specifically calls for self-rising flour.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 9:41AM
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No Work Bread or
No Knead Bread

I adapted this from an adaptation of Jim LaheyÂs at Sullivan Street BakeryÂs No Knead Bread recipe. It's even simpler than the original. Yes, if you don't try this now and you wait a year or a month, and you do try it, call me over and I will surely perform your request, which will be to kick your backside for not making this bread sooner.

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups warm water

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

2. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. And yes, the 1/4 teaspoon yeast is the right amount.

  1. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

4. After 18 hours punch down the dough and transfer to a large bowl coated with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Flip dough over so itÂs covered with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise for about two hours.

5. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.

  1. Dough may be stuck to the bowl so use a spatula to loosen it from side of bowl. Then slide dough into pot. Dough may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

  2. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned to your satisfaction. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

This No Work Bread that [you made] is better or as good as any you can buy from a bakery; great crust with a light and holey interior similar to Ciabatta. Do a Google Image search on No Knead Bread [most links will have the recipe-I only improved the method-I think I did] and the pictures will drive you bonkers.


P.S. Let us know how great it was.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 6:44PM
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Earl's right.....good stuff.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 9:24PM
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Gosh, thanks so much everyone. OK, if you Linda agree that Earl's recipe is "good stuff" then I think I might start with it, although I would like to learn the "old fashioned" way, kneading it eventually.

Could one of you explain what it means to put a 6-8 quart pot in the oven as the dough heats? Does that mean to put the dough in the pot? Or does it mean to heat the pot while the dough is getting ready for it? Also, all I have are some non-stick standard bread pans. Would they work with this recipe? (You see, Joy, I'm more baking impaired than you, I'll bet.) These probably sound like really stupid questions, but I was raised in the South and grew up on biscuits and cornbread. I've read that wheat grown in the South does not have enough gluten for yeast bread.

My only other concern is the waiting - it takes so long. Oh wait! I just remembered that I bought on e-bay about 15 years ago, a bread-baking container made of what looks and feels like a clay pot, but it says Microwell Ceramic, Knuspertopf, W. Germany. I put it back in the cupboard and forgot about it until now. I think I'll try using it.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 12:05AM
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You put the 6-8 quart pot in the oven to heat as the OVEN heats, for the last half hour of the dough rising. So, if you're letting the dough rise 2 hours, then after 1 1/2 hours you turn on the oven and put the 6-8 quart pot in. After it's been in the oven 30 minutes, you carefully remove the pot from the oven (presumably carefully because it will be very hot) and then follow the instructions from step 6 on.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 7:12AM
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I don't think that regular non-stick loaf pans will work for the No Knead recipe. I also would NOT recommend that you use a glass pyrex pan for this recipe. Heating an empty pyrex loaf pan or bowl in the oven and then adding the dough to the hot pan will quite possibly cause the pyrex to crack and could be dangerous. You are putting the risen (room temperature) dough into the preheated hot pot, a technique which promotes rapid oven spring (or rise) and a very crisp crust.

While many people have been turned on to bread making by this No Knead technique, I would suggest that you will learn more about the nature of yeast doughs - what they look like, feel like, and how they behave - if you first lean to make bread in a more traditional manner. Also, you are making more of a round free-form loaf using the No Knead recipe. If you want to use your loaf pans to make loaves, you might want to try a traditional recipe first. You should NOT put empty non-stick loaf pans in the oven to preheat at a high temperature.

Just my opinion.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 8:50AM
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Actually the no knead recipe is harder than the traditional method....and requires you think about making bread the evening of the day before you want to make it.
And handling that dough that soft is not easy....just getting it into the pan is rather like trying to scoop up the Blob.
Just make regular bread for a few times. M ix it up and knead it....should take no more than 20 to 30 minutes at most. cover and let rise...maybe 2 hours? maybe less. punch down and fold the dough over....pull the out side to the inside of the dough...or not...maybe just punch down.
Let rise about another hour....depends on how warm your kitchen is.....
dump out on a board....maul into 2 lumps or loaves, put on a baking sheet well covered with corn meal, give about 30 to 45 minutes to rise..covered with oiled saran and bake in a 375 preheated oven for about 35 minutes until golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
About 3 1/2 hours from start to finish....if your kitchen is warm enough for the bread to rise quickly...and that includes rising and baking time...your "work" time is about 45 minutes.
Just DO it
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 9:35AM
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OK Linda. I will just DO it either today or tomorrow (Sunday) and I'll let you know how it turns out. You are such an inspiration to me here in this forum.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 1:23PM
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Colleen and Teresa, I just noticed your tips also, so thanks so much. My original intent was to learn the traditional way of making bread, so I'm going to take the advice of those who recommend the simple French bread and try my hand (or hands, grin) at that first.

I do appreciate your recipe Earl, and I've printed it out for some time in the future.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 1:32PM
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It doesn't have to be perfect....it doesn't even have to be something you can eat....but if you dont' do it...you will forever put it off.
Baking bread is a little like dancing. The equipment can cost a bundle or nothing at all. The first time you try you don't expect to be like Dancing with the Stars... but those who love you will say...'Oh Wow! That was great!"...and you will try it again maybe invest in a pair of used dancing shoes. And with practise you get better...and pretty soon you can start to show off to others...
Same with baking bread....just start and don't tell anyone what you are doing. be your own judge. And after a little practise you can quietly show some of your home made bread to someone else....and I KNOW they will tell you "That's wonderful!"...and soon you will be presenting a loaf with pride to a new neighbor or taking it to a friend's house for dinner.
But....you have to start!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 1:58PM
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This part of the recipe is from the original recipe=(cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic)

I've only used cast iron to cook the bread except once when I wanted sandwich loaf.

It really is easy,

To summarize=

stir ingredients together
add oil to another bowl
dump dough into oiled bowl and coat dough
dump dough into hot pot.

I can do all that without touching the dough with my hands.

Too, you can get a bread machine that has a dough cycle. It does all the work, well, except adding the ingredients. :-)

Here's a link no-work-bread I did awhile back. I dumped the dough into a bread pan, baked it for awhile, then turned loaf out onto an oven stone to finish off. As you can see looks pretty good.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 8:58PM
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But, why would you want to make dough without touching it with your hands? Dough is so sensual. Well kneaded dough should feel like a freshly washed and powdered baby's bottom.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2008 at 11:00PM
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There isn't much that's easier than this recipe. The main thing beginning bread makers do is kill the yeast by using water that's too hot.

WHITE BREAD (1 loaf)
1 1/4 cup warm water (baby bottle temperature)
1 pkg yeast
2 TBL butter or margarine
2 TBL sugar
2 tsp salt
3 cup flour (regular all-purpose is fine)

Mix warm water & yeast in a large mixing bowl. Stir until dissolved. Add butter, sugar, salt & 2 cups flour. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed with mixer OR 300 vigorous strokes by hand, scraping sides & bottom of bowl frequently. Blend in remaining flour wiht spoon until smooth. Cover & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until dough doubles in size. Stir batter down.

Spread evenly in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Smooth loaf by flouring your hand & patting top into shape. Cover & let rise 2 hours or until doubled. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.~~

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 6:18AM
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Yippee, I did it! I used your method, LindaC, and I can't believe how very easy it is. Also -- may I hear a drum roll please -- I noticed on the package of yeast a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. Sooooo, after it rose the first time, I punched it down and rolled it into a rectangle and sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar and raisins and rolled it up. Put it back in the pan to rise again and voila!

I'm so happy that I can make bread. The only thing I did wrong was not roll it up tight enough because there were air spaces between the rolls when I sliced it. But the crust was very flaky and the bread just yummy. In fact it was so good that I gave my neighbor half of it because I knew I'd eat it all (grin).

Now I'll try your version Ginger. It looks similar except for the butter.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 5:53PM
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Good for you! A whole new world of baking has just opened up for you! Have fun!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 5:59PM
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Thanks so much, Teresa, for your encouragement. I think I'm really gonna love this.

One more question, everyone: Before I started this, I went out and buoght a 25-lb bag of AP flour, bleached. Can I use this for the yeast bread and, if so, how do I modify the procedure?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 9:22PM
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You do not have to make any changes or modifications to bleached flour to sub for unbleached. Use in any recipe that calls for white bleached or unbleached flour.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 11:12PM
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I agree....if you need 2 votes!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 11:34PM
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I use a locally produced unbleached flour with no additives.
The admonition on the package side is to add one Tbsp lemon juice per four to five cups of flour in the recipe - whole wheat or white. "A natural bread dough enhancer - gives superior lightness and volume" Just a thought

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 4:37PM
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I think of myself as a "wannabe" bread maker but I've about decided I am really a collector of bread making cookbooks. I have just about all that are known to man. Have any of you made the "Grape Cluster Shaped Bread" that is on the Once Upon a Plate Blog? I have the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day cookbook she refers to but have not used it yet. Don't suppose that surprises anyone, either.
If anyone has used the above mentioned book, I'd like their opinion of it. It sounds like even I could do it


    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 6:31PM
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Just found this posting and it has great info...Thanks to all who contributed!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:37AM
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