10 things I’ve Learned From My Foray Into Bread Making

1. Bread recipes on the internet have more commentary before the recipes than any other recipes I’ve ever seen.

2. One should not skip over that commentary . . . like moi (as you can see, I’ve begun those French lessons I spoke of in a recent post.)

3. If you ignore the hints and thoughts about bread-making that accompany your recipe, your bread may turn out to be so dense you can’t rise from your chair after eating it.

4. Some children are so desperate for real food that they will rave over the densest bread in the world after the first bite.

5. By the third bite, they will announce that they are no longer hungry. For bread products.

6. It is difficult to throw out your first ever loaf of homemade bread. Probably because you can only bench press five tons.

7. Tossing out four cups of flour (and hours of work) is not easy for somebody who saves the soy sauce packets from take out Chinese food. And likes to fritter away her time playing word games.

8. If at first you fail, try, try again. But wait a week. It allows you to build up your energy and confidence again.

9. French bread recipes have even more commentary than Cuban bread recipes, but second-time bread makers know to read them and heed their advice.

10. French bread is more beautiful than Cuban bread, and although the product of my effort wasn’t quite as light as I’d have liked, two teenagers I know each ate two or three pieces at supper. I did too. Carb rationing is a dumb idea.

Thoughts? Advice?


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19 thoughts on “10 things I’ve Learned From My Foray Into Bread Making

    1. It broke and I had one for fifteen years that also broke. Decided to try to make it without the machine. Too many machines in my house. No place to store them. But she did make good bread in that machine, didn’t she? 🙂

  1. Like anything else bread making takes practice, practice, practice. At least you can eat most of your mistakes. I still have some spectacular failures when I make bread, especially if its been awhile.

  2. Having walker the path you now follow, I do have some advice. There are many bread recipes out there that yield paperweights, doorstops, and adobe-like bricks. Do not give up. Go to the Fleischmann’s Yeast Bresd World site and try their recipes. I’ve been using recipes from Fleischmann’s cookbooks for years and find them really reliable. Also, if necessary, use an instant-read kitchen thermometer to check the temp of the warm liquid used in the recipe. Start with something good and simple like the Anadama Bread and work up to the brioche and the filled bread. You’ll be smiling over the next loaves you bake.

  3. Sara, I’m so proud of you! How many women these days will take on the task of bread making? Darned few, I’d venture. Just think of yourself as a modern-day pioneer kneading yourself back to the days of kitchens filled with the scent of freshly baked bread. Wow. Almost makes me want to go back into all that. Hey…I said “almost!”

    A while ago, I posted my Aunt Dora’s recipe for white bread. We all thought she made the best. She even brought loaves of it to our huge family reunions. If you ever decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turned out. In the meantime, keep on inspiring other ladies to try daring ventures like baking bread and boiling water. Oh…how did that last part get in there?!

    P.S. I had a lot of tweets on this recipe, but when we transferred the website to GoDaddy, I lost all the likes and tweets! http://jodileastewartblog.com/2012/02/aunt-doras-light-bread/

    1. I remember reading that recipe months ago. I will let you know how it turns out when I give it a try.

      I’m ridiculously excited about bread making. Can’t explain it. Not that I have the time.

  4. I somehow suspect that if I were to make a loaf of French bread of my very own, it probably be better employed as a medieval battering ram than a source of sustenance. The bread in your picture looks tasty 🙂

  5. Your bread looks so tasty. Way to go! Color me impressed. And envious, since I’m cutting out wheat gluten in my diet ever since I discovered I am having an increasingly bad reaction to it. Total bummer for this bread lover over here. I’m going to have to look into gluten-free bread recipes because I really miss bread. There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread. Except maybe cookies. 😉

    1. Oooh. I’m sorry. Giving up bread would be really hard for me, although the people I know who’ve discovered they have celiacs or intolerance to wheat and subsequently gave it up are all feeling better than they have in years. A cousin said, “I didn’t know that normal people didn’t always have stomach aches.” Homebaked bread smells wonderful, but you could enjoy the smell and then let the rest of your family eat it. 🙂

  6. Your blog on breadmaking brought back memories of all the bread I used to make. BUT I made mine in a bread machine. I was given my mother-in-law’s bread machine in the early 90’s, and I loved it! When my boys were little, I used to make bread about every other day! I almost always made the same kind. When it was cooking, it smelled heavenly. As soon as it came out of the machine, I always cut the end off and ate it warm. It used to take me about 10 minutes to measure out the ingredients, and then, presto, a few hours later, I had delicious homemade bread! I would be making it today, but all that bread making did my body no favors!

    At Christmastime, my cousin always makes Swedish rye bread for our Christmas Eve celebration. One year, when she was complaining about how much time it took to make the bread, I suggested that she try making it in a bread machine. She said that she could not do that because it would be “cheating.” I had to disagree with her on that point. The bread machine is simply a tool to make one’s life easier. It is no different than a dishwasher. If you want to wash all your dishes in the sink because using a dishwasher is “cheating,” be my guest! If it’s the kneading that turns you on, well then you are making bread for the tactile experience (in addition to wanting to eat bread), so perhaps you shouldn’t use a bread machine.

    In my experience, the success of breadmaking is all about the recipe. If you find a recipe that works (and you like the bread), use it. Even when using a bread machine, there are recipes that make hockey puck loaves of bread.

    My brother sent me a simple bread recipe that he was using (without a machine) on a regular basis. I will try to find it and send it to you.

    1. I also used a breadmaker for a long time and we made some good bread, but I’ve always wanted to do it with my hands. Something about food with me. I would rather chop away than use the Cuisinart and would rather stir by hand than use the mixmaster. Granted, everything takes me a whole lot more time to do, but I have this thing driving me to go back to basics. And, I would love your brother’s recipe.

So what do you think?