Baking Bread: Introduction

You can make bread too! Yes you can!

challah and 2 malted grain loaves
I really enjoy baking - baking bread. Using just basic ingredients, you can easily make a loaf that tastes better than anything you'll find in a supermarket.

Bread has a reputation for being tricky. I know quite a few people who "make their own bread", but who wouldn't try and make it by hand. It's not difficult though, and, like anything, it gets easier with practice. Hand-made bread is almost always better than that from a bread maker (or a shop) and you can make loaves like the challah on the right, which you can't do in a machine! I make two or three loaves a week, usually at the weekend, and although it takes elapsed time, it doesn't actually require a lot of effort.

I didn't think making bread was particularly unusual, but people often ask me quite a few questions about it when they find out that I mostly make my own. There's no point in reproducing what you would find in a good recipe book, but I thought there would be value in pulling out some of the things I wish I'd known when I was starting, and tips I find myself giving people when they ask about baking.

I'm going to write a few posts about different categories of things: the ingredients, the kit, the method and good books. In none of this do I claim to be a master baker - I make simple loaves for my daily lunch, not exotic types or complex recipes. I do it because I enjoy baking it, the resultant bread is always good (occasional failures notwithstanding!), I know exactly what's in it ... and, to be honest, I enjoy being able to tell people I bake my own bread - by hand!

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