2/8/09

Bread Introduction (On A Mission From God)

So...

How serious am I about learning (conquering my fear/make bread my bitch) to make bread? I am this serious.


606 pages of baking hell or heaven... depending on my mood!

I bought a book called The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Yeah, I'm serious (I'm on a mission from God. I don't know if I'm Elwood or Jake.) and this book is crazy serious. The French Laundry cookbook is like a comic book compared to this. Sorry, don't smite me down Oh Lord Keller! I understand cooking but I sure in the hell don't understand baking. Some people - cough cough my husband- would say it is because I don't do AUTHORITY/DIRECTIONS very well and baking is all about following directions. Oh shit, I'm screwed.

A little about The Bread Bible for those who are new to the book...

The first 62 pages are all about Genesis i.e. all about yeasts, bacteria, fermentation, poolish, kneading, shaping, equipment, baking, and cooling. Not once does it mention eating the bread. Well, that's no fun. It takes until page 97 to get to the first recipe. That's a lot of info to digest or ferment in your head. (Stop groaning, I know it was a bad pun.)

Each recipe is anywhere from 2-5 pages long. Remember when I said I wasn't good at directions? I also am allergic to recipes that are loooong. It makes me want to break out in hives.

What's cool about this book?

I lied, the recipes are not that long but they contain lots of information... Pointers for success, what to serve with each bread, including wines. That's nifty. Different flours you can use, apparently there are options. Dough Percentages (I'm not sure what I need that for but I know it will come in handy.) Equipment lists. The recipes also include measurements by volume or weight and a glossary and websites for baker's.

The Plan: My plan is to bake a recipe from The Bread Bible and post about it once a week. Now that I typed that, it probably won't happen. Let's shoot for once every couple weeks.

Tomorrow's post will be the first recipe from the book, Cinnamon Crumb Surprise.

21 comments:

tamilyn said...

I'm in the same boat. I have fear of bread and pie crusts. I bake all sorts of things. I make bread in my bread maker. I fear the kneading (am I too soft, too aggresive), the rising (how big is too big), the punching down (what did the bread do to deserve that?). And pie crusts-just give me the Pillsbury already made just unroll it dough and no one gets hurt.

noble pig said...

I have made that Cinnamon Crumb surprise and it is damn good. I love that book and yes you must follow birections and buy lots of equipment!

Emma said...

I don't know. Bread isn't that hard, provided you actually pay attention and don't let the dough over-rise, then flop. Not that I've ever done that. Anyway, I've made this recipe with success: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/stretchandfold.html

Kristin said...

If I may shamelessly rip off the best movie quote ever:

It's 500 pages to good bread, we have a full flour canister, five packages of yeast, the oven's warm and we're wearing aprons . . . HIT IT!

KitchenKiki said...

*Sigh*

I've been about to make bread for 3 weeks now. I just haven't gotten my schedule, motivation, flour & stars aligned to do it.

I'm jealous of your zealousnes!

Good Luck. (Should we say a prayer to King Arthur for you?

SaintTigerlily said...

Baking makes me shouty. Good luck.

Cheryl said...

Good for you, conquering your fear is a good thing!

John said...

I love baking bread. The hardest part is getting what the dough should fell like. If you want to ease into baking, the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, is a great place to start. It was not tactile enough for me. I also use my kitchenaid extensively to ease the transition to bread making. You gotta get into the Zen of the kneading and all is good. Just remember, it's not that hard to improve on the bread at the grocery. Also, mistakes are cheap. Just keep at it!

ntsc said...

Next weekend is baking weekend, white, cheese and baguettes. I have one baguette left in the freezer. I didn't bake the last time I should because there was too much on hand.

Mostly I use Baking with Julia, but the baguettes are from Amy's Breads (or something like that). I've also bread book by, I think, the Baking Director of King Arthur. It is even more technical than The Bread Bible.

http://vldyson.com/plugins/albums/slideshow/slideshow.html

has some pictures of my baking output. I don't go that crazy anymore, that was from one da.

ntsc said...

That doesn't work.

Try:

http://vldyson.com/Pictures.php

or go to www.vldyson.com and click on the pictures indicator. The second picture is my sausage instructor pointing out a fine bit of technique.

katie said...

Well I am definately looking forward to it-be it once a week or once a month!

Grace said...

is it tomorrow yet? wait--it is! i'm looking forward to your cinnamon crumb creation!

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog. Found it through another blog and so forth. Love what I see so far. I have also bought the Bread Bible. I haven't made anything from it yet. I just like to own MANY cookbooks and never use them. Seems whenever I find a recipe to try, I don't have the right ingredients on hand. Can't wait to see what you try and maybe it will get me trying some, too. Thanks for the good reads.

Krista

Mayberry Magpie said...

You have just pointed me to Mr. Mom's Valentine gift and, for that, I am exceedingly grateful. He's all about the bread in our house. And I once told him that the key to cooking is understanding the "chemistry" behind it -- what ingredient does what in combination with other ingredients. After that, it's all improvisation. So I think this book will be bery, bery goot to me.

jack's utter lack of surprise said...

i hate recipes with more than 5 steps.

Guiltless Glutton said...

The Bread Bible is the only bread book I own, it is that good.

Jill said...

I own the Bread Bible also, however, I wouldn't use it to start with. It is sort of the Holy Grail of bread making, not the pre-school version. I'd start with Bernard Clayton's Complete Bread Book (his recipe called "The First Loaf" is a good first timers loaf). Or, you could also use King Arthur's Baker's Companion, it has some easy basic recipes.

Don't stress, bread is actually very forgiving as long as you knead it enough and give it time to rise.

Jill

Stacey Snacks said...

Still haven't made bread.
I am the bread virgin. Too chicken.
Love that cinnamon loaf. WOW!

verivaine said...

I commented on your Facebook about this. I have never had luck with anything that involves yeast. But now I have an honest to goodness sourdough starter growing in my fridge. Really...it's like a pet...it's living. I am going to make an attempt at baking my pet in the next few days...in the meantime...any suggestions on what I should name it?

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