As to books, get CRUST AND CRUMB. You'd be better off getting the breadmaking dvd from King Arthur Flour entitled: ARTISAN BREADS. Get the dvd first, perfect your manual breadmaking technique; then, finally get the book.
RPM - Check out THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE by Peter Reinhart - very good for the hows and whys of bread making plus recipes. Make sure to get on both the King Arthur and The Fresh Loaf websites - good info and support for us newbies to bread. Also talk to BDL and get his recipes and insights. As always he has been helpful.
Let us know how you make out using your KA for making your dough. I've been doing all mine by hand so far which I actually enjoy, but I've been thinking of buying the model you bought.
IMHO breadmaking is a visual experience: working the dough must first be seen with the eyes rather than read about using the brain. That way, it's easier to learn the desired texture and moisture content. And THAT'S why I recommend using the dvd to begin your breadmaking journey.
Well, there's a lot more to it than just the visual -- although that's critical too.
I already mentioned the Bread Baker's Apprentice in another thread, and Willie got it here. The guy who wrote it, Peter Reinhart, has a particular style for making European and American type breads that's based around an extra rise which is usually slowed (aka "retarded") with refrigeration. Because of the "extra" (compared to most home bakers) rise, it's not a particularly convenient or quick way to bake.
Nevertheless, it's part of the technique I usually use in my own baking; and almost always in the recipes I write for others. The improvements which come from the extra time are well worth it. (The trick is finding ways to give the dough time, without totally screwing up your schedule.) So, Reinhart is a must.
IIRC, I left you the url for The Fresh Loaf forum on the gift certificate thread. The KA site is also good. Not bad flour, either.
A common misconception is that the best way to bake bread is to follow "perfected" recipes with perfect measuring; and if the measurement is less than perfect, the recipe will likely fail. It's a comforting thought, but largely not true. There are so many environmental factors that effect quantities and time, that your tactile, visual, and olfactory senses are more important than whether you weigh or scoop, or whether your oven is 5* off or not.
That takes us back to kokopuff's point, I suppose. If it didn't, it should have.
To be a good enough baker to control what you're doing and can exercise some of your own creativity, you're going to have to accept that the learning process includes some failures as you become familiar with how things should feel, smell and appear at any given stage in the process.
You certainly don't need (knead?) a monster stand mixer to be a good baker; and in some ways it's going to slow down the learning process. But it makes baking a lot easier, a lot more attractive, and a lot more frequent. When it comes to practice, you can't beat more.
This is going to be fun. You might as well reconcile yourself to it.
PS. I didn't forget the sharpening instructions. Life intruded. Plus, I'm procrastinating.
There are so many great bread-making resources it would be hard to list them.
At the top of the list, however, would be either Crust & Crumb or The Bread Baker's Apprentice. You don't need both, and, of the two, I'd go with BBA as first choice. Once you've got some dough under your fingernails, and are ready to move on, Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads should be part of your library.
The Laurel's Kitchen book on bread (I gave my copy to DIL, so don't know the exact title) is a good starting place for beginners too. It doesn't provide the in-depth understanding of the process you'd get from BBA, but the recipes are interesting.
Another one I like is Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno's Ultimate Bread. Many insights in the introductory material, and some breads you won't find anywhere else. For instance, this was the first book that I ever read with a pumpkin bread that was made with yeast.
Finally, because bread making is addictive and you'll soon be covered up with it, I'd recommend Upper Crust, by Sheilah Kaufman. This isn't a book about baking bread, but, rather, a book filled with all sorts of ways to use bread in other dishes.
Meanwhile, until you've amassed other resources, here is James Beard's recipe for white bread. With a very few modifications, it's a perfect tutorial on bread making, even as we do it today:
"For a 1-pound loaf of Homemade Bread, weigh a pound of flour or meaure 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of flour. Put it ina 4-quart bowl and add a good tablespoon of salt, preferably coarse or kosher. I like bread to be salty; it makes a much better loaf. Cream a 1/2-ounce cake of fresh yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar*, and then add 1/2 cup warm water---hot tap water, 90-95 degrees. While some say it is not necessary, I like to let the yest proof (start to bubble) before adding it to the flour. When it has proffed, add anouther 3/4 cup warm water. Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeast mixture.
"Mix the flour and liquid together with a wooden or your hands until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl pretty well clean (with some flours you may need a small additional amont of liquid). Turn it out onto a lightly floured board and, with floured hands, knead away. Pat out the dough, fold it over, and knead again. Be sure to turn it as you knead. When the dough ceases to be sticky, feels firm and silky, and blisters slightly as you work it, it is ready. Put it in a buttered bowl, cover with a lean towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot. A slightly prearmed electric oven or a gass oven heated ohly by the pilot light is a good place.
"When it is doubled in bulk, which takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, remove to a floured board and punch down, then knead very well for 3 to 4 minutes, really giving it a beating down this time.
"Form the dough into a sausage shape and plop it into a well-buttered 9-jinche loaf pan. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Tkhen bake in a 400-degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Test by rapping the crust with your knuckles---a hollow sound means it is probably done. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and rap the bottom. If it seems soft and doesn't give off a hollow sound, replace in the pan, upside down, and return to the oven for a few more minutes. Then cool, out of the pan, wrap in a towel, and store in a plastic bag."
*Fresh yeast is rarely used in America anymore. For this, substitute 1 packet of either active dry yeast or instant yeast. The active dry should be bloomed (proofed). Instant can go directly into the flour. If you're using bulk yeast (as you will, eventually), 2 teaspoons of either will sub.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Try explaining Mr. Jubinsky's kneading technique in simple words. Nothing takes the place of his actual demo on the dvd I mentioned; and, once seen, the budding breadmaker will probably never return to the typical kneading method we see all over the place that's time consuming and quite fatiguing. IMHO.
>Beard on Bread is an excellent book for starting out and just to have. <
I'm wondering if we don't subconsciously assume that everybody has read it? Go back over all our bread-making discussions, and it hardly gets mentioned. Heck, I did it myself in the below post.
I notice, too, that Dan Leader hardly gets mentioned. I've never warmed to his writing style or recipes, but there are many people who see him as a bread-making guru. So perhaps his books should be mentioned as well?
What I especially like about Beard's basic bread recipe (and why I bothered typing it out) is that it walks beginners through the process so they gain an understanding of bread making, rather than just slavishly following the recipe. Whereas the introductory material in BBA can be overwhelming to a beginner, Beard's style is so simple and straightforward that they learn the why (or at least some of it) as well as the how, without even realizing it.
I should have specified, however, for beginner bakers in particular, that Beard's basic recipe makes a European style white bread. If they're expecting a fluffy, Wonder Bread type loaf, that ain't gonna do it.
For American style white bread, Beard has a different recipe, using milk and sugar for that ligher, fluffier crumb preferred on this side of the pond. I've never made it, however, so have no idea what it actually tastes like.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
IIRC, Jubinsky likes to work with rather slack doughs, and sort of stretches and folds, stretches and folds -- rather than the normal push away, turn and fold, push away turn and fold. He likes to pull the dough down a couple of times before loaf formation to tighten the skin -- you called it forming a beret, didn't you? (BTW, there's nothing particularly different about that -- a lot of people do it. Unfortunately, it's something I half stumbled into and half figured out for myself). What else? Jubinsky proofs (some) breads in the mixing bowl without washing it first. Obviously, I'm hazy on Jubinsky, not having watched the DVD nor taken his classes -- and he goes to some pains not to give too much away in the complimentary recipes on the KA website. But other than his contribution to sweet breads that's pretty much what I remember.
So, what is Jubinsky's technique? You've partially described some aspects in a different thread. Perhaps you'd care to flesh out your description, so I could take a stab at it.
If less effort for kneading is a big plus, you might try autolysing your flour and liquid before mixing. That makes everything a little easier.
No matter what technique you use, slack doughs will knead easier than stiff ones -- by definition.
In a discussion centered around using a very powerful stand mixer, I'm not sure I consider an easier kneading process to be that much of a plus.
I've got nothing against Jubinsky's pedagogy or techniques at all, no criticism, nothing negative, not a jot nor a tittle; nor do I have any problem with the idea that his way is your way; nor that the KA DVD made bread baking a fun and successful thing for you; nor with the idea that you want to share the joy. In fact, all four are VGTs (very good things).
But Jubinsky's way is not the only way, and neither is it the only good way. Some writers do quite a good job of describing the process -- good enough so that DVD is needed. We have the same goal -- sharing our love of cooking along with the techniques and recipes that make it successful and fun. Let's not clash.
I feel like I’m pointing out the obvious on this RPM… You are aware that a KA comes with a balloon whisk and a paddle attachment as well?;) I know that you asked for bread book recommendations but I would hope that you might also want to expand your baking horizons, after all man can not live by bread alone.:D
I always recommend How to Bake by Nick Malgieri because it covers breads (quick and yeast), cakes, tarts (sweet and savory), pastries, cookies, etc. This is the book that got me started and I still use it regularly. I know that when I first got bitten by the flour bug some of the “upper level” books intimidated me; How to Bake didn’t and helped open the door to my full scale baking addiction.
Some of my favorite bread recipes from this book: Olive bread (not as tasty as BDL’s recipe but easier to tackle only because it uses fewer ingredients), Parmesan Cheese Bread, Viennese milk bread, Challah, Semolina bread, and Chocolate orange bread.
How to Bake has 27 yeast bread recipes with almost every recipe having at least one variation. That number includes rolls, bagels, crumpets and English muffins.
The final chapter of the book is “Sweet Yeast-Risen Breads & Pastries” (an additional 16 yeast recipes with variations) which has brioche, Panettone, Barm Brack, Croissants and Danish.
All that yeasty stuff plus cakes, cookies, pate a choux, scones, pies and puff pastry.
It isn’t just recipes, there is enough “why” you’re doing what you’re doing to give you a platform to go further, without the book being about food science. It isn’t the end all be all of bread or even of baking in general, but it is a good start for a neophyte who might go hard core baker.
That being said, track down BDL’s bread recipes in the forum. I’ve made pretty much all of them and I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. His instructions are as good as or better than any you would pay for in book form (subtle hint: How’s the book coming?)
Oh yeah, welcome to the FAA (Flour Addicts Anonymous) you will at some point begin buying flour by the 25 lb sack. Years ago I bought a two giant glass “apothecary” jars (from the dreaded Wal-mart) that stay on my counter top, between the two of them I can just about empty the 25 lb sack. They make storage and measuring very easy. I keep my whole grains in the fridge, just let them come to room temp before you use them.
Thanks for all the recommendation, didn't know bread was such a topic like....Knives, all-clad, religion and politics!!!! haha.
I'm on vaca for a week in L.A. but when I come back, I'll surely start on something...dont think I'm quite interested in baking bread a few times a week, however, I'd like to bake a loaf or two for a dinner party from time to time.
I'm a Ala Minute kinda guy, so baking bread kind of turns me off in that aspect, but I do like me some good bread.
rotfl......you old hippy you...I've got the priveledge of directing Fr. Dom the end of this month for the Food and Wine Show. Whenever I've got bread questions he's the man to help work me through solutions. Our conversation from a few days ago was the volume of bread he baked in 2008.....over 1200 loaves....pizzas, rolls, etc. Funny guy, great bread historian.
One of my go to bread books is Better Homes and Garden's, Homemade Bread Cook Book....96 page, 100 recipes for "easy mix method yeast breads, quick muffins and biscuit recipes". My home copy is a paperback that is in very sad shape. About 2 weeks ago I found a hardbound copy at a booksale for work.
I regret using my KA Pro for kneading bread. It really isn't that powerful for constant bread making (I ruined the gears twice).
Now I use it only for mixing/whipping light to medium stuff and do the kneading by hand.
The local restuarant supply store owner confirms this with me, that he gets many home cooks that call with broken KA mixers (from kneading dough). Of course he tried to sell me an "upgrade" that would handle my bread making needs for a mere $1300.:lol:
I make home made bread 2 to 3 times a week and use my Kitchen Aid. It's about 10 years old and I have never had to have the gears replaced in it. I knead the dough for at least 6 minutes with the machine before turninh the dough out and finishing it by hand. I also make home made pasta with rollers that attach to the Kitchen Aid. Doughs have to be mixed in certain amounts and consistencies.
I think that if the Kitchen Aid isn't being dogged and amounts of dough do not exceed the manufacturers recommendations then the machine holds up fine for home use.
Jeff Hertzberg is a physician, university professor, information technology consultant (www.medformatics.com), and ardent amateur baker. He developed a love of great bread growing up in New York City and refined it by travelling the bread-loving countries of Europe by bicycle. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two daughters.
Zoë François is a pastry chef and baker trained at the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to teaching baking and pastry in the Twin Cities and consulting to restaurants, Zoë creates artful desserts and custom wedding cakes. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two sons. Check out Zoe’s food blog at www.zoebakes.com.
Mark Luinenburg has been a commercial photographer in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years. His work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center and is in the Weisman Art Museum collection. His photographs have appeared in local and national publications, including National Geographic Adventure, GQ, ESPN Magazine,Health Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.
Not true. Once the flour (AP flour only), water and poolish are mixed, I allow the mixture to autolyse for 40 minutes. Then salt is added followed by a 10 second knead. Autolysing allows for the gluten to develop quite well and delaying the addition of salt prevents the dough from tightening too much.
Well, 5 minutes have turned into 40 all of a sudden. That's after the flour, poolish and water are mixed. Not including the time it took to make the poolish. I'm wondering if there is a magic rising time too?
Koko, I have been baking breads for many many years. Not on a professional level. I have never heard of AP flour or the Autolyse method you have mentioned. I have tried to google this and haven't found any answers. Can you recommend a site with some information regarding what you have mentioned.
Thank you for posting the Bread Baking site Koko. I do not have that one. I found what I was looking for right away and when I get a chance I will view the video they have there explaining the process.
Basically all you do is mix all the flour and water and allow to rest 40 minutes. During that time the enzymes break down whatever it is they breakdown and cause gluten to form.
What I do is mix the preferment (in my case the poolish) with the remaining flour, water and yeast. Allow to set 40 minutes and then knead about 10 seconds. Place the dough in a bowl and allow to double or triple in size. Then, use 1-3 French Fold sessions prior to final shaping and proofing.
French folding is described at the fresh loaf, also.
I'm shouting: AND REMEMBER TO ADD SALT ONLY ONLY AT THE END OF THE AUTOLYSE AND JUST PRIOR TO KNEADING. TRY SPRINKLING THE SALT ALL OVER THE UNSHAPED MASS FOR EVEN DISTRIBUTION. You'll get a much MORE tender loaf that way.