home-made bread—there’s nothing quite like it!
© 2011 by KV5R — Rev. Jan. 28, 2011.
Taccuino Sanitatis (15th century Bread Shop)
Homemade bread is an ancient skill that everyone should master. It’s easy, fun, and best of all it tastes fantastic! I made machine-bread for years, but it never turns out as well as expected and it always looks like a block, so I finally decided to fix my broken oven and learn how to make bread from scratch. I avoided making handmade bread for years because I though it would be real messy and way too much work—all that flouring your countertop, kneading forever, etc. Well, on my first try, it didn’t make a mess and kneading for 10 minutes was rather fun, watching how the dough acts and getting a feel for it. My first ever hand-made bread was a large 3-rope braid, like a challah, and it turned out absolutely great!
If you’d like to start making breads, but haven’t taken the plunge, this article is for you. This is just about how it will go, step-by-step, all nice & concise. In the following pages are notes and photos I made while studying breadmaking and then making bread.
- Bread Terms Defined: Before you can learn breadmaking, you need to learn a little terminology. That makes all subsequent study much easier and more productive. Definitions collected from all over the web.
- My First Ever Handmade Bread - a big braided whole-wheat.
- Hybrid Bread - start it in the bread machine, finish it by hand—simple and easy!
- Bread Sticks and Fifteen-Bean Soup: the perfect crust for dipping.
- Getting started with sourdough starters!
- My first sourdough bread: wrong pan, but it turned out well—crispy crust and a coarse, tangy crumb.
- Getting better: Sourdough French breads in a perforated mold.
- Whole-wheat breads in a perforated mold.
- White breads in a perforated mold!
- Two whole-wheat challahs in 12-inch loaf pans—excellent!
- Kitchen Tips: Tools and things to get, without spending too much.
- (Stay tuned—more to come as they develop and I have time to write articles.)
Like making your own custom soap, making custom bread is an enjoyable and useful skill. Once you get the basic feel for making and developing bread dough, progressing to fancy artisan breads is surprisingly easy. After the first rise and punch-down, place it on a sprayed cookie sheet and you can shape it any way you want, top it with egg and/or butter, sprinkle on seeds and/or herbs, let it rise again, then pop it in and bake it.
My goal in writing these articles is to pass along some practical knowledge and give you the confidence to give it a try. Of course, you can always just go and buy fancy bread, but you already know it’s too expensive, not all that fresh, and not exactly what you wanted. So do a little reading online, maybe watch a few videos, gather your ingredients, and just go ahead and make a great bread! Then enjoy it!