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Topic: Homemade Bread

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Subject: Homemade Bread
Date Posted: 4/12/2009 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2007
Posts: 835
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I have been wondering how to make homemade bread. Regular bread and sourdough bread. But, whenever I google it I only get "starter bread".  Can someone help or direct me to a good book or site to look at?


ETA: I thought that I would add that I don't have a bread machine or anything like that! =)

Last Edited on: 4/12/09 7:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/12/2009 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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Here's a recipe from All recipes. It does not rely on a bread machine.

Also, check out their Baking Advice page. They say, "In general, any bread machine recipe can be converted to traditional methods. A recipe for a 1.5-pound loaf should make one 9 x 5-inch loaf."

Good Luck!

Date Posted: 4/13/2009 10:31 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
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Baking is a skill that's hard for me. I cook a lot, and pretty adventurous---but the precision of baking is not in my repertoire! I might make easy breads, but anything that for a starter? run run run  lol

Date Posted: 4/13/2009 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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I've heard good things about the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day", it looks like they have a pretty sweet website as well http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/
Date Posted: 4/14/2009 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2006
Posts: 1,443
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I have a loaf of bread from Artisan Bread in five mintute rising right now.  I love that book.  I keep borrowing it from the library.  I need to get it soon.

Date Posted: 4/18/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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I love the King Arthur recipes. I have the Baker's Companion recipe book too. I have had good luck with the white sandwich bread recipe.

Subject: Basic Instrux
Date Posted: 5/5/2009 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2008
Posts: 42
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Make your biga (starter) using a tiny bit of yeast, or none at all. There are formulas for different starters, depending on what type of bread will be your finished product. The differences have to do with the ratio of liquid to flour.

Let the biga ripen on the countertop for one day, two days, or however many days it takes to make it smell scrumptious.

Mix your dough incorporating the flour with the liquid  only a very little. When the mixture still is very shaggy, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Then proceed with mixing the flour and liquid and Incorporate the biga. When the mixture is dough, tear or cut off a piece and retain for the next loaf.

Ripen the dough on the countertop or for slow-rise method, in the fridge.

In the fridge, if the dough grows and you want to continue to ripen it, you'll have to release some of the air. Treat the dough gently because the air in the dough will be what helps the bread to rise. Do NOT 'punch", but simply press gently and not too much. The continuing rise will be slower after air release.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 or 500, then for 15 minutes to make sure the oven is fully heated so that you get maximum oven spring.

Coax your risen dough from the bowl onto your baking tray or into the pan ever so gently, to prevent loss of air. Grease your hands to prevent sticking and unintended air release. Don't do much shaping.

Open oven door only long enough to quickly push tray or pan into oven. Heat loss can be more than 50 degrees, and reheating can take as much as 10 minutes, which affects oven spring.  After 5 minutes, open door and mist oven with sprays of water (for crust development). After 5 more minutes, repeat spraying. And a final spraying after another 5 minutes. Allow bread to bake until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped with the handle of a metal table knife -- and I mean really hollow.

Remove bread from oven, turn loaf onto a wire cooling grid. Cool for no less than four hours before attempting to taste; flavor development depends on this resting period during complete cooling.

That's it.


My favorite baking book references: (My first homemade bread was made "on the fly", not with recipe but simply remembering what I had seen my grandmother and aunts do. Then I used lots of recipes but never liked the bread that resulted; it was more like cake than bread. Then I discovered that artisan bread can be made by anyone who seeks a little knowledge and devotes time to the needs of the dough. Once you learn how to mix, how to knead, how to recognize when the dough comes alive, you're there.

CRUST & CRUMB, Reinhart, Ten Speed Press, 1998 (Master formulas for serious bread bakers)

THE BREAD BAKER'S APPRENTICE, Reinhart, Ten Speed Press, 2001 (Mastering the art of extraordinary bread)


Good luck.


Date Posted: 6/26/2009 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2009
Posts: 91
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You might want to check out this website: http://www.breadtopia.com/.  Breadtopia.com has recipes from some of the simplest to most advanced availble on the site. Some even have step by step videos to help you along. Wonderful user forums that help you with any problems you may be experinceing with your breads. And they even have a store were I often find things that I need for my baking. Their prices are sometimes better then places like Cooking.com or King Arthur Flour sites. Worth checking into. I know I have managed to fix a few things that I've experienced in the past few years with my breads. Give it a try...best part...its free to browse and so is the advise!!!!!

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 1:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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Some years ago I bought a bread machine and made a few hundred loaves almost immediately. I learned a lot about it right away, so please let me recommend to you "The Bread Machine Cookbook", by Donna German, from Nitty Gritty Cookbooks. I've worn out two copies already, and given copies to most of my friends. Read the introduction, it's very explanatory. The recipes are rather basic, but that's good for a beginner. If you work your way through them and pay careful attention to the ingredients, you'll learn things like "huh, these two recipes are identical except for a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, and look how different the output is." After a while, if you pay attention to the proportions and the effects the various ingredients have, you'll be able to just walk up to your bread machine and confidently dump in ingredients without a recipe. And the other important factor is, the recipes work very well, unlike those of some much prettier and more expensive cookbooks I've tried.

I used to frequently bring bread to dinner parties I was invited to, and my rule eventually became "if the whole loaf doesn't get torn to shreds and disappear within 10 minutes the recipe was a flop and I won't make it again" because it was generally so popular. And it was pretty much all recipes from The Bread Machine Cookbook or variations on them. 

Oh and yes, I agree with Melissa M's remark above, you can always use a bread machine recipe, mix and knead and rise it by hand and bake it in a loaf pan, so you don't have to have the machine. (Although I love my bread machine.) Or you can have the bread machine make dough for you and bake that in a loaf pan too. 

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 95
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I recommend Googling "New York Times no-knead bread" and trying out the original and the many variations you'll find (you can even find a youtube video demonstrating it).  It's easy, almost foolproof, and, as you might guess, doesn't involve any kneading.  As a result, it takes a couple of days to make, but most of that time is just waiting for the yeast to do it's thing.  Fun and yummy.

Date Posted: 10/21/2009 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 27
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If you really want to make from scratch, by hand, bread with an Italian twist, the book "Knead to Know" by Mary Ann Espisito is excelent. It's 3 basic doughs (use a bread machine if you want) with several variations of each. Love it!

Making mistakes is how we learn!