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Bread and Dough... Where to Start??

CashfanCashfan Posts: 377
To all the great dough and bread makers,

I am looking for beginners books or videos on where to begin to make dough and bread. A google search will give me plenty of suggestions, would like suggestions from the great bread makers on the forum.

I have stated before, the only thing I have consistently done is make a mess. For every one good crust or loaf made, 10 or more are failures. Having sworn off any more attempts to try to learn, the pull to learn how to make a good bread is too strong, and I'm ready to try again.

The biggest problem I've had is getting it to rise. Fresh yeast, weighing ingredients, measuring water temp, warm house, nothing seems to matter. One batch will rise, the next will not. I know it takes time and trial and error to learn, I'll never admit to how many bad loaves that have gotten tossed.

Any suggestions for books? 


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Comments

  • I haven't read it myself yet, but have seen FWSY mentioned a few times

    Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza https://www.amazon.com/dp/160774273X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_b9brybTT40N07
    Large BGE
    Huntsville, AL
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,292
    edited December 2016
    FWSY is an excellent book, but it does take some patience to read and follow the recipes. I'm not usually that patient :) The book is full of good info though, and is worth reading.

    The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is also one that many folks here like. 
    https://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/1250018285/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480862069&sr=8-1&keywords=artisan+bread+in+five+minutes+a+day

    I love bread and have bumbled my way through to making some pretty good loaves. Some things I found out along the way:
    - Proofing the yeast can help. I have had good results with saf-instant yeast. 
    - KA Bread Flour because of the higher protein content or something like that.
    - Too much salt can kill the yeast in the dough
    - Water temp 105°-110°F seems to work best for me. 
    - Bake in a CIDO
    - When you figure out how to make good bread... you end up eating most of it yourself, so make 2 loaves at a time. 

    Some recent threads which really helped :

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200526/maineggs-camp-bread#latest

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200631/bread-i-finally-figured-it-out/p1

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200650/more-bread-and-some-oxtail-stew/p1

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200818/more-bread/p1

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1201039/camp-bread



    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 17,001
    Basics are good place to start.  I own 0 specific books in bread making. But, I've always heard good things on Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza https://g.co/kgs/wsHkST 
    LBGE 2013 & MM 2014
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Flying Low & Slow in "Da Burg" FL
  • I use a no knead recipe from don'twastethecrumbs.com.  let rise 5 hours or longer.  So far good results each time.
    Elkhorn, NE
    1 large egg
    28" Blackstone 
  • @SciAggie: Summoning one of the bread gods.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,992
    One thing that made a huge difference was when I bought a ceramic cloche. I went from about a 50% success rate to above 90.

    Beyond that, it was making very accurate weights, and keeping the dough within a fairly narrow temp range while proofing, and not letting it over proof.

    Most books were not much use. They seemed to assume at least a little familiarity, and I was totally clueless when I started. Practice, trial and failure were necessary.

    Don't feel bad. One of my early loaves was so hard and dense that after I broke it up and put it out for the birds and squirrels, it was never all eaten.

  • CashfanCashfan Posts: 377
    Thanks for all the replies!

    @caliking - Thanks for the links, interesting reading. Camp bread looks like it would be worth a few tries. I will start using my DO for baking, hadn't been doing that. A Cloche looks pretty spendy, better hold off on one for now. 

    What size dutch oven do you use? 

    @gdenby - What temp do you proof at? Pretty funny y that the birds wouldn't eat the loaf. Ive made a few like that i'm sure.

    Forgot that i had the 5min book  on my kindle, so I whipped up a batch with old yeast, will see what happens.

    What brand or type of yeast is good? Red Star is readily available, have been using the one with the red lid, not the blue one for bread machines.

     
  • blastingblasting Posts: 5,674

    @Cashfan  regarding size of   DO.  A 4 quart is what is recommended.  I had a five so I used that for a long time, and it worked fine.  I have since picked up the 4, and it does make for a slightly more vertical loaf.

    I have a cloche, but I prefer the dutch oven.


    Phoenix 
  • I have been using Fleischmann bread machine yeast.  I don't proof it, I use room temperature tap water
    Elkhorn, NE
    1 large egg
    28" Blackstone 
  • CashfanCashfan Posts: 377
    blasting said:

    @Cashfan  regarding size of   DO.  A 4 quart is what is recommended.  I had a five so I used that for a long time, and it worked fine.  I have since picked up the 4, and it does make for a slightly more vertical loaf.

    I have a cloche, but I prefer the dutch oven.


    looks like my lodge DO is the five quart. I have an enameled one as well, would it matter which one I use?
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,103
    I just came across this yesterday and haven't tried it yet. Whole wheat loaf in 90 minutes. All you need is a loaf pan, though a mixer is nice. Looks great coming out of the oven, but she doesn't slice it so you never get to see inside. I want to try it... even though I have no cleavage. :) 

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • blastingblasting Posts: 5,674
    Cashfan said:
    blasting said:

    @Cashfan  regarding size of   DO.  A 4 quart is what is recommended.  I had a five so I used that for a long time, and it worked fine.  I have since picked up the 4, and it does make for a slightly more vertical loaf.

    I have a cloche, but I prefer the dutch oven.


    looks like my lodge DO is the five quart. I have an enameled one as well, would it matter which one I use?

    I would think either would work, but I've only used non enameled.  
    Phoenix 
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,103
    enameled is fine. personally, i prefer smaller. mine is only a 2 1/2 qt,

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • CashfanCashfan Posts: 377
    I just came across this yesterday and haven't tried it yet. Whole wheat loaf in 90 minutes. All you need is a loaf pan, though a mixer is nice. Looks great coming out of the oven, but she doesn't slice it so you never get to see inside. I want to try it... even though I have no cleavage. :) 

    looks simple enough. She didn't grease the pan, maybe it didn't come out easily. Have to try that for sure.

    I have to start looking for a smaller DO.
  • Just finished doing the camp bread again today,. Turned out great.   Leaving top off a few extra minutes when cooking really made the bread have a great crust.


    Large egg and mini max egg plus a Blackstone griddle

    South Ga. cooking fool !!!!!!!!

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,292
    edited December 2016
    Just finished doing the camp bread again today,. Turned out great.   Leaving top off a few extra minutes when cooking really made the bread have a great crust.


    Try baking it uncovered for even longer. Until the crust looks chocolate brown. It makes a considerable difference. Until I tried this, my crust would turn out somewhat chewy vs. crisp. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • girbimgirbim Posts: 25
    edited December 2016
    I haven't tried bread on the grill yet.

    The book that got me started on bread is the Bread Bakers Apprentice.  I wore that book out and a new edition just came out.  So, the new version is on the way. Most recipes tend to call out to make a pre-ferment (starter) dough and leave it out for about 4 hours before putting it in the fridge.  I just make the pre-ferment dough at night and leave it out oveernight to develop more flavor.

    I never have too much problem with the rise, but I have considered making a proofing box.  I just purchased a sourdough culture and it recommended 90 degrees for the first 24 hours while waking up the culture.  I took some temperature control equipment that I use for brewing beer and rigged up a proofing box out of the container that I usually use to let dough rise.  I usually do not punch down the dough.  I think that I get better results handling the dough as gently as possible after the knead.  Also, I think slightly moister dough may rise a little better.  I had a tendency to add too much flour while kneading to make the easier to handle.  

    My crust has always been just OK.  I get decent results from putting a pan of ceramic briquettes at the base of the oven and pouring water on them right after the dough goes into the oven.  So far, no briquettes have exploded on me.  I wouldn't recommend this procedure to anyone.  I do have an Emile Henry cloche on the way.

    I use SAF instant yeast from King Arthur Flour.  I never re-hydrate it before throwing it in with the other ingredients.
    Large BGE

    Minneapolis, MN
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,292
    @Cashfan - I would like a cloche as well, but 1. the price deters me and 2. It needs to do more to take up that much space. 

    I have used a 10" (4 quart) Lodge CI non-enameled DO, but it is not that deep. When I use my 6.5 Tramontina enameled DO, the dough tends to spread and make a flatter loaf than I would like. Still tastes good though :)

    I just bought this 5 qt CIDO and think it will work perfectly for bread, and other things on the egg.  Use it upside down, and it mimics baking with a cloche. For a fraction of the price.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LEXR0K/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

     

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,992
    I've used a several different methods. The mix I make uses a sourdough starter, and mostly durum wheat/semolina flour. Doesn't do well if proofed and punched, and re-proofed.

    For awhile, I would take the kneaded dough and let it sit in a bowl inside a bowl w. 90F water and wait till there was a good swell. Then I'd wet my hands, and plop it into a loaf pan.

    When I got the cloche, I started transferring the kneaded dough to the cloche and set that across the burners on my stove while it pre-heated.  When the dough expands at least 1/2" (well, on a bad day, just 1/4") above the bottom of the cloche. I slash and lid, and set aside until the stove is at temp.

    I did have some good loaves from the Egg, but typically, I do this 1st thing in the morning in my kitchen oven. I can't manage to fire up the Egg and put the dough together, and be done by mid morning.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,292
    And this is the yeast I have been using. Either the yeast made a difference,  or I learned a few things to improve my bread  game by the time I tried this brand. 

    https://www.amazon.com/Saf-Instant-Yeast-Pound-Pouch/dp/B0001CXUHW/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1480877088&sr=8-2&keywords=saf+yeast

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • caliking said:
    Just finished doing the camp bread again today,. Turned out great.   Leaving top off a few extra minutes when cooking really made the bread have a great crust.


    Try baking it uncovered for even longer. Until the crust looks chocolate brown. It makes a considerable difference. Until I tried this, my crust would turn out somewhat chewy vs. crisp. 

    Will do,  this bread turned out much better than yesterdays.   I let mixed up dough sit out on counter top overnight.  I could see and taste the difference.   still learning, but it is fun....

    Large egg and mini max egg plus a Blackstone griddle

    South Ga. cooking fool !!!!!!!!

  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,103
    Cashfan said:
    I just came across this yesterday and haven't tried it yet. Whole wheat loaf in 90 minutes. All you need is a loaf pan, though a mixer is nice. Looks great coming out of the oven, but she doesn't slice it so you never get to see inside. I want to try it... even though I have no cleavage. :) 

    looks simple enough. She didn't grease the pan, maybe it didn't come out easily. Have to try that for sure.

    I have to start looking for a smaller DO.
    I don't grease my loaf pan either. The non-stick ones work really well. But you could be right, maybe her's isn't non stick. :) Anyway, the top of her loaf looks great!!

    I like my small DO, but if you knead the wet dough a little before shaping, it seems to hold it's shape better and not pancake in a larger container. I discovered this when I finally started using the cloche I bought several years ago. 

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,103
    I have never baked bread on the egg. I have had my cloche for several years, but never used it until about a month ago (in my oven). Love it! However, it occurs to me that the purpose of a cloche is to retain moisture. The egg retains moisture, eh? Wondering if a boule placed on a raised indirect pizza stone (no DO, no cloche) would turn out like a loaf in a cloche. Hmm?

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • CashfanCashfan Posts: 377
    @caliking - My lodge DO has a handle on it, so no flipping that. i can do that with the enameld one though. I'm sure one like you posted can be found easily.

    Could bake inside the DO with the lid on? Or flip the enamel one over?

    I ordered some of the yeast and a couple of the books mentioned earlier.

    Looks like the 5 min artesian is rising. Not as fast as what the recipe says it will, but it is rising. Need to leave for a few hours, then will put in fridge when I get home tonight.
  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 3,610
    edited December 2016
    @Cashfan Sorry I'm late to the party. I understand the frustration of trying to make a loaf of bread that suits you. It is definitely a journey with successes and failures along the way. 
    @caliking posted the link above to a post I made recently with the method that yeilds good results for me. Here it is again: http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1200631/bread-i-finally-figured-it-out/p1

    Some onservations I have directed to your post: If your bread isn't rising there are but a few things to check. First, make sure your yeast is good. You can measure it out in some of the water for the recipe and make sure it is active. Be sure the water isn't too hot - above 110/120 it will kill the yeast. Second, chlorinated water is hard on yeast - if your city water is heavily chlorinated that could be an issue. You can see if bottled water makes a difference. Third, give the dough TIME. Think of time as an ingredient. Yeast is a living thing and as such sometimes it doesn't know to follow the instructions. During the first rising you will have to learn how to make things work for you. More yeast and warm conditions make the dough rise faster. Less yeast and a cool room and it will rise more slowly. The flour makes a difference. AP flour makes a more blonde colored loaf. Bread flour is higher in protein and makes a darker loaf. Brands matter. I like King Arthur much more than Gold Medal flour. 

    Regarding a cloche or DO: the purpose of either is to retain moisture as the bread begins to bake giving the crust a favorable environment in which to form. I haven't tried it, but I'm not sure that inverting a SS mixing bowl over the bread for the first 15-20 minutes might not work as well as a cloche or DO. 

    lastly, it is my opinion that how you handle the dough is equally as important as the recipe. You are trying to develop the gluten in the flour so it can capture the gas produced by the yeast. When you handle the dough be mindful of those tiny gas chambers and try to preserve them with gentle handling. Folding and kneading develops the dough. Rising, preshaping, and final loaf shaping preserve the gas in the dough until baking.

    Have fun. Don't let the process make you nuts. If you stick with it - you will master the process in no time. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven.
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    edited December 2016
    One thing to add, I have taken an awesome, free, craftsy class on pizza dough by Peter Reinhart.  He covers a great deal, adjusting the recipes, and what to look for like shag, stretch and folds, etc etc.  This would be a great place to start, and worth it, even if he now charges $$$.  

    Videos really help with this type of engineering and technique.
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • I have coached many people to bake bread both in person and online. 

    1) start with Jim Lehey NYT no knead recipe. It doesn't get much easier.  

    2) josey baker bread takes you from nonknead loaf bread to hearth baked artisanal SD over about 9 loaves.  I have seen many people grow their skills using that book as well. 

    Feel free to PM me. 
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 11,292
    Don't worry about flipping the DO if you have one with a handle on it.  It was just a thought, and I have not tested it yet. Most folks baking bread in a CIDO do so with it right side up, then uncover it after 20-30 mins. 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,364
    Cashfan said:
    Thanks for all the replies!

    @caliking - Thanks for the links, interesting reading. Camp bread looks like it would be worth a few tries. I will start using my DO for baking, hadn't been doing that. A Cloche looks pretty spendy, better hold off on one for now. 

    What size dutch oven do you use? 

    @gdenby - What temp do you proof at? Pretty funny y that the birds wouldn't eat the loaf. Ive made a few like that i'm sure.

    Forgot that i had the 5min book  on my kindle, so I whipped up a batch with old yeast, will see what happens.

    What brand or type of yeast is good? Red Star is readily available, have been using the one with the red lid, not the blue one for bread machines.

     
    Red Star, red jar is good.  That is active dry yeast.

    Red Star, blue jar is instant dry yeast.  

    Good to have both on hand, depending on recipe.

    Store in freezer to extend their life.
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 13,103
    I use SAF instant no matter what the recipe says. Mix it in with the dry ingredients. Or into the bread machine when I use that.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

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