My recent chat with Jeff Haas, John Horsley, and Kenric Regan on their Spoiler Country podcast:

Joseph Mallozzi – Executive Producer of Stargate and Dark Matter!

Give it a listen, and then circle your calendars because Tuesday, May 5th I’ll be joining Suanne Braun for her Hathor Hosts series on Instagram Live (Thanks to Dana – @dana_cz – for the graphic).


Akemi is multi-tasking.  In addition to starting a garden, she is also going to start baking bread.  She got the sourdough starter kit today and she’s already imagining how she’ll soon be delivering bread and tomatoes to the neighbors.

Any bread makers out there?  Is that the correct term?  Or should I be referring to you as bread bakers?  Have any tips to relay?

Amazing People With Whom I Have Worked…


12 thoughts on “April 30, 2020: Bread making tips. Go!

  1. After numerous trials, I decided on the following bread making approach:

    1) Buy bread maker
    2) Add ingredients as per directions
    3) Plug in and press GO
    4) Wait
    5) Enjoy homemade(ish) bread!

    1. If you are interested in a good but “not” routine bread.
      Krustez – Hawaiian bread mix. I broke my bead maker making this. yuuuummmm yum good.

  2. Any bread makers out there? Is that the correct term? Or should I be referring to you as bread bakers?

    Only pizza. Would that make me a pizza baker?

    Honestly, though, sourdough sounds like a challenge and some fun? Ready for a bake off? Barb’s wanting me to do grilled pizza on the new grill, so I may start with that 😉

    And I’ve been seeing Suanne Braun promoting Hathor Hosts on Twitter, but I’ve been too busy to join. With you on Suanne’s show, I’ll just have to make the time to jump in!

  3. I used to make bread from scratch, letting it rise in the oven, and then baking it. Never used one of those bread making devices. Don’t care for them. Do you have an electric oven or gas? The bread may bake faster in an electric oven.

  4. I have an awesome bread making tip for you.
    It’s called the Panasonic SD-2501 breadmaker.
    I’m eating a hot,steaming slice of the multigrain soy and linseed loaf I just baked.\
    And it never fails.

  5. For breadmaking – patience! Especially with sourdough. Let the starter rest after feeding, and give the bread-in-progress a good rest to properly hydrate as you go. Preheat the oven thoroughly (pizza stone highly recommended) to minimize thermal variances. And use steam (I put a pie pan in oven while it’s heating and add about a quarter cup of water about a minute before loading the bread) when baking to gelatinize the starches for a really good crust.

    And most importantly–have fun with it! Luck!

  6. “Bread bakers” is the correct term. I’ve been baking bread on and off for many years. There’s nothing particularly tricky about sourdough other than it takes a lot more time than yeasted bread. I don’t know if the kit Akemi has includes a starter or whether she’ll be starting her own. If she’s starting her own then she should be able to start baking loaves in about a week.

    My tips for starting a sourdough starter:

    There’s tons of tutorials and recipes out there. Find one you like. They’re all much the same.
    My method is 50g flour and 50g cold tap water. Mix them well in a large jar with a loose lid and rest at room temperature 24 hours.
    The next day feed it with another 50g flour and 50g water. Rest for 24 hours.
    Repeat step 3 four more times.
    You should have 600g of mildly bubbling starter by day 7. You can start baking with this. It will be slow as the starter is still developing so expect your dough to take much longer to double in size than recipes tell you.
    At this stage you can put your starter in the fridge and feed it as below:

    My tips for maintaining a sourdough starter:

    Ignore all the advice saying you need to feed it constantly and throw away any excess if you’re not baking every day. After I’ve baked a loaf I leave around 50g of starter in a jar with a loose lid and put it in the fridge. I can leave it in there for up to a month without touching it.
    The morning the day before I’m ready to bake a loaf I’ll take the starter out of the fridge and feed it with 50g of flour and 50g of cold tap water or room temperature bottled water. Don’t worry about “tepid” or “warm” or “body temperature” water. It doesn’t matter. Leave it somewhere about 20-24°C. It should wake up and start expanding.
    That evening before going to bed feed it with another 100g of flour and 100g of water. You should now have 350g of starter. Leave it somewhere about 20-24°C overnight and in the morning it should be ready to bake with. The recipe I use uses around 300g of starter so I end up with 50g left over ready to go back into the fridge. Adjust the feeding amounts above to match your recipe’s required starter amount plus 50g extra.
    If you’re baking every day ignore the above and just feed your starter as you use it. Make sure you’re always making 50g extra of starter and when you’ve taken out the amount needed for your loaf give your starter a full feed to make it up to your required amount for tomorrow (plus 50g). Then leave it at 20-24°C so it’s ready for tomorrow. That’s how professional bakeries do it (on a much larger scale, of course).
    If you leave your starter in the fridge without feeding it it will eventually get a grey, watery liquid on the top. This is a sign that the yeast running out of food. You can either stir it in when you feed your starter or pour it off. The liquid is very sour so if you like a sour sourdough then leave it in.
    If your starter starts growing mould or going furry then you can either throw the whole thing out and start again or just scrape off the mould, get a few teaspoons of non-mouldy starter and start again in a fresh jar. The teaspoons of starter will seed your new starter and get it going quickly again.

    Tips for baking soughdough:

    Look around for some “no knead” recipes that bake the bread in a dutch oven. You get great results from simple recipes and minimal work. Not just sourdough. Yeasted bread works great in there as well!
    Get a pizza stone for your oven and bake the bread on that. At a pinch you can use an upside down metal tray.
    Time is everything! Be patient! Sourdough is mostly about waiting. There’s actually not much work involved. It’s a bit like war . . . 18 hours of sitting around and 15 minutes of panic!
    Temperature is important! The temperature of your room will determine how long your bread will take to prove. The recipe might say “1 hour” or “12 hours” but those times will vary depending on your room temperature. If your house is cold put the loaf in a switched off oven with the light on. That should keep it at around 24°C which is perfect. Your oven should be as hot as you can make it!
    Steam! For a crispy crust and good “oven spring” you need lots of steam in your oven. Put a deep tray of hot water in the bottom of your oven just before you put the loaf in. Also spray some water around the oven. Steam will keep the crust soft for longer during cooking so the loaf can expand. That’s why the dutch oven method works so well. It keeps the steam in.
    Take notes! Record what you do. What temperature the room is, how long you rested and proved the dough for. What temperature your oven was set to. How long you needed to keep the loaf in the oven until you thought it was ready. What you thought about the loaf when it was baked. Good crunchy crust? Good distribution of air bubbles? Didn’t rise very well?
    When trying to improve your bread making process only change one thing at a time. Don’t try to change too many things as you won’t know what change you made improved or worsened your bread.
    Any bread that you make that tastes good is perfect! Don’t compare it to loaves you get from an artisan baker or that you see on Instagram. They’ve had years off practice and you don’t see all their disasters!
    Have fun!

    Good YouTube channels:

    For lots of beginner’s tips check out Bake with Jack:
    When you’re ready to take your bread to the next level look at Food Geek:

  7. My bread-making tip is to borrow a breadmaker from someone. That way, it doesn’t take up any space when you’re done with it.

    The sourdough plan sounds great. Cultivating sourdough yeast is a contribution to humanity to preserve it and have it ready in case something happens to San Francisco.

    Bread bakers sometimes have preferences for certain brands of flours. That’s where talking to someone local comes in because you don’t want to get attached to a brand that isn’t in ready supply in your area.

  8. “Temperature is important!” and “Be patient! Sourdough is mostly about waiting.”

    Excellent advice from Line Noise! I waited 9-10 hours for my first batch of sourdough to proof. Nothing. Dead as a doornail. I finally gave it up as a bad batch, dumped the loaf into the (nearly full) kitchen trash can and went to bed. The next morning, I found the lid of the trash can lying on the floor–with the lump of sourdough inside in full rise! Not a proofing method I would recommend, but hey, whatever works!

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