Food for your eyes – part one Bread

It is a time for lists, for resolutions, for putting ones kitchen in order. So
I thought I’d start 2010 by looking at some of the interesting online resources I found over the last couple of years.

Oatmill breadI started indulging my blog habit when I decided to start to make my own sourdough bread in 2008 (you can read all about those antics here at Lynne’s Days, my blog for all sorts of musings). I like to know if I am doing something right, so I had a good old wander round the various forums offering advice to novice breadmakers.

I found two that I loved, and checked every day, The Fresh Loaf and Dan Lepard’s Forum

The Fresh Loaf has masses of hints and tips from all over the world, if you have a bread problem there is bound to be someone there who can help. Some of the contributors are very authoritative in their field, so you can glean tips from the top of the tree (if you forgive the mucky alliteration). Dan’s is more British orientated and has some brilliant recipes for cakes as well as bread.

I found my recipe for my levain at the Fresh Loaf in a scholarly post by Debra Wink which worked fine. Which led me to look for other bready things.

Link follows link, and I learnt about folding rather than kneading, retarding, shaping, steaming, you name it I found it. I watched videos, I read formulae. I bought equipment.. lovely equipment that I just couldn’t find in the UK.

If you make bread on a regular basis, then get yourself to Breadtopia and when you have prised yourself away from the videos, go and buy yourself a Danish Dough Whisk. It is actually made in Poland, and I have only found it available in the US. Go figure as they say that side of the pond. (update October 2010: Dough whisks are now available in the UK from Bakery Bits – don’t just sit there! go and buy one!! )

The Danish Dough Whisk
It is cheap, and even with shipping worth every cent. I paid through Paypal, and the whisk (and some other bits and bobs I fancied) arrived in days rather than weeks. Brilliant thing this is, makes the initial pulling together of the dough a breeze.

Cookbooks came next. I didn’t want anything too simple, but neither did I want something that professional and not suitable for the home baker.

Jeffrey Hamelman Bread available from

I settled on Jeffrey Hamelman’s opus magnum “Bread” An excellent choice, I discovered later that it is the favourite of a lot of the more experienced artisan bakers on the Fresh Loaf. One thing, I found it easier to take the metric quantities and divide them by 10 for home use.

It is a good thing bread, and I love to make it. It brings out all the domestic goddess in a person, don’t you think?