I absolutely love making bread! The smell, the texture, the feeling of satisfaction when a freshly baked loaf comes out of the oven. Love. It!
I’m still quite new to bread making and although there have been some inedible bricks of bread along the way, I’m making progress. I can now make basic bread and sourdough bread, and I’m experimenting with baguettes and focaccia among other things. There’s definitely things I know nothing about yet…cold ferments and something called a levain (I think it’s another word for something like sourdough starter. I shall find out soon!). I also don’t really ‘get’ gluten – if I’m honest – and I’ve also only just discovered the joys of a banneton.
But I’m definitely better than when I started!
Realizing this prompted me to think of all the really helpful resources that have got me to where I am now (bread making wise). They currently form my bread making toolkit.
So, in an effort to help others in their bread making journeys, here are my top 5 bread making go-to’s:
Much as I love the internet, and you can get such a lot of advice and recipes on it, sometimes it just helps to be able to ask specific questions to someone who is more experienced.
My mum taught me how to make my first loaf a few years ago and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. I always find it helpful to ask my mum, as well as other people I know who make bread, for recipes or advice.
Unfortunately I’m not about to give out my mum’s deets here, so… I recommend finding a friend who bakes bread. That said, there are great ways of asking experts through blogs, online communities and email. One great example is www.thefreshloaf.com.
Bake With Jack
I love this site! It has advice, recipes, videos and bread making courses, run by a guy called Jack. One of the best things is the weekly bread making tips. Jack gives these tips on his YouTube channel to address something bakers might find tricky, like how to shape a loaf, or how to use a banneton. He is super engaging and encouraging and everything I find/read on his site I love!
America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
I first came across this PBS show when I moved to America, and I was an instant fan. I love how they test everything until they have made the best version of it that they can.
They do all sorts of recipes, not just bread, but the bread recipes are great. Sometimes the recipes are a bit difficult as they don’t assume beginner bread making status. But, they have a great ‘Why this recipe works’ section for each recipe, where they explain all the science behind why they chose certain methods or ingredients. It is always helpful to read even if you don’t use the recipe because it gives an understanding of the process involved in baking bread. It also provides me with fodder for my ‘to attempt when I’m a better baker’ list.
Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’
Well, I mean, it’s Paul Hollywood. Bread making royalty. His book Bread is a great introduction to loads of different breads, from basic to actually-quite-difficult.
If I’m honest, I have had some major disasters when attempting his recipes, but when I’ve mastered a recipe, it always tastes amazing. He also gives recipes for things to eat with each bread. I love this idea as it makes the bread into a meal, rather than just, you know, toast.
My husband put me onto Reddit and now a spare moment is often a chance to disappear down a Reddit rabbit hole. The ‘Reddit’ for bread is ‘breadit‘ (geddit?!) and it is a great place to learn tips and tricks as well as to see how other people bake. People also put up pictures of their failures and mistakes, which makes it a great place to learn. There are lots of experienced bakers who can give advice on what might have gone wrong or how to improve it. There are also lots of other bread or baking themed reddit’s….just don’t get lost down the hole!
So, that’s what’s in my bread making toolkit so far. What bread making resources do you use? Let me know – I’d love to expand my toolkit!
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- 4 Easy Ways to Create the Perfect Crust
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