Baking Bread

If there was ever a time to bake bread, it’s now. It takes very few ingredients, it’s delicious, it’s great for stretching food, and it can be a meal with very little added, if need be.

Baking bread is a favorite activity of mine, so I have some recommendations and recipes for both those wanting to start, and experienced bakers wanting a new recipe for funsies.

For newbies:

Pane Veloce– This is a recipe that is simple enough for the newest baker. Are you making soup for dinner and want some bread to go with it? Make this. Want to do something with the kids? This is great.

Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread– This is the standard no-knead bread. It’s delicious and simple. You want a lidded pot to bake this in.

No-Knead Oat Bread– Easy, delicious, and a bit sweet. You want a lidded pot to bake this one in, as well.

Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Schiacciata– Delicious with or without the rosemary. This one is baked in a skillet.

Alexandracooks’ Refrigerator Focaccia– my absolute favorite. Oh, this bread is so good.

Advanced Sourdough Action:

Most of the bread I bake is sourdough. I keep a 100% hydration AP flour starter active on the counter and bake every other day in cooler months. You will want a scale and a way to create steam. I bake in dutch ovens.

Foodbod sourdough method– When I was starting to make sourdough and was struggling with super long technical recipes, this website was so helpful. There are instructions for making a starter and extensive instructions for making bread. I don’t use this method anymore, but it helped me so much when I started.

This is Elaine’s YouTube channel and a video of the folding method I still use. Do your folds with a wet hand always.

Read up on DDT, or desired dough temperature.

Knowing when my dough was done bulking kept me from getting great bread for a long time, so I made a video of what it looks like (for me.)

Shaping dough- and the full page of beginner articles at The Perfect Loaf.

Another helpful video- stitching. This creates tension in the dough, helping oven spring.

A nice rustic sourdough recipe from Artisan Bryan. I like this one because it uses flours you’re more likely to have hanging around/are more readily available.

My recipe for part-wheat standard sourdough bread. (PDF)

My recipe for fruit and nut mini loaves. (PDF) These can be baked as one big loaf, upping the time to 25 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered.

Let me know if you have any questions. Let’s feed ourselves and our friends and neighbors!

Sample Along: Fractal and Drafted Together

Fractal- For this one, I split the fiber lengthwise and spun one single from the end of one piece. I split the other piece into four long pieces and spun them in a row, starting from the same end each time. I then plied the singles. This method ensures a yarn with both solid and barber-poled sections. It’s my favorite!
Drafted Together was difficult for me. For this one, I split the top into four full-length sections, took two, flipped one, then held them together while spinning. I did the same with the other two pieces, then plied the two singles together. I had to do a lot of predrafting, something I never do, to get these two pieces of fiber to stick together enough to draft. I wonder if the silkiness of the fiber worked against me. This one surprised me with its appearance!
Here are the four swatches all together. I like them all and can picture different uses for them. I think I need some Flipped socks, for starters.

It’s not too late to Sample Along! You can visit Jillian Moreno’s blog for info.

Sample Along: As It Comes and Flipped

On the left is As It Comes. This yarn was spun from top that was split lengthwise into 2 matching pieces, both spun from the same end onto two bobbins and plied.
The colors mostly match up.

On the right is Flipped. This yarn was spun from top that was split lengthwise into two matching pieces, but spun from opposite ends onto two bobbins and plied.
There’s a lot more barberpoling in this sample.
As It Comes in the skein.
Flipped in the skein and As It Comes being knit. My samples are fingering weight, approx. 125 yards per oz. The swatches are knit over 60 stitches.