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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Breads & Baking / First bad experience with whole wheat bread...
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    First bad experience with whole wheat bread...

    Alquimista
    Thu May 05, 2005 5:14 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    I was feeling like making whole wheat bread and decided to buy a book by Laurel Robertson (The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book : A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking.) Beautifull writing but how difficult it is to follow their first recipe! I tried but I was totally frustrated with the end result of a "loaf for learning." Yes, my bread was edible and it didn't taste bad but this was substandard for other dishes I make at home.

    Please don't get me wrong, I have baked bread before by using Jaime Oliver's recipes from his book The naked chef (Yes, I am an amateur...) and didn't have a problem. My breads were very good and I wanted to learn more. Ah! I do not and will not use bread-making machines...

    Several things come to mind to what happened with my bad experience with my first whole wheat bread:

    1. The water at my place is very hard. I considered this to be a bad thing and I semi-confirmed this when I looked at Alton Borwn's recipe for bread where he suggests using bottled water... A minor improvement that can do no harm.
    2. I didn't follow my instinct of what to look for in the dough and allowed the author (Laurel) to tell me what was right and what was wrong. Next time I will adjust the flour and water as I see fit!
    3. In some recipes I have seen that many cooks place the yeast in a cup with water and honey to see it rise before incorporating it to the solid ingredients... I didn't do that and perhaps that makes a huge difference.

    Honestly, I will not use Laurel's book for a long time because of my irritation after the first recipe. In my humble opinion recipes should be clear and outlined by steps. This wasn't the case in Laurel's first recipe [ He owes me for the ingredients that were used in my substandard bread...] where crucial instructions were missed in a bunch of unnecessary rethoric... This didn't happen with Jaime Oliver's recipe where the steps are outlined clearly and where the author warns you about what to look for...

    I shall try my whole wheat bread again...
    AKillian24
    Fri May 06, 2005 8:09 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Just wanted to say I feel your pain - it can be really frustrating. I got great advice awhile back for bad bread: use it to feed birds, make croutons (works GREAT!) or play hockey with it icon_redface.gif
    Donna M.
    Fri May 06, 2005 10:16 am
    Forum Host
    Sorry you had a bad experince, but I'm glad you aren't going to let it deter you. If you are like me, it just makes you that much more determined to do it again and excel! I've never had a chance to look at that book, although I have heard of it. The book that I keep hearing rave reviews about lately is Jeffrey Hamelman's "BREAD, A Bakers's Book of Techniques and Recipes". I want that book SO bad, but it costs $40 in the King Arthur Catalog. I have heard that it can be had for less online but haven't taken the time to look for it yet.
    Alquimista
    Fri May 06, 2005 12:22 pm
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Regarding cooking books, as a customer and amateur cook, I just ask for simple, straightforward instructions written in plain English [ A glosary on the back also helps to clarify the meaning of technical terms from the author in case they are used... ] Pictures also help because let us face it, some of us are just hopeless in the kitchen and we need to see how are things supposed to look at our kitchen... [ To be fair, if I see somebody cooking a dish I can confidently reproduce it at home after paying attention carefully and that's how I started cooking and crafting my "Vulgar Tuna and Tomato Sauce for Pasta"... From there and on I started incorporating other dishes to my rather limited repertoire... My next try was with risotto and it turned out great the third time I cooked it icon_smile.gif after watching it on TV... ]

    Anyway...

    I have checked some of the whole wheat recipes here and I believe that some of them offer potential. My goal is to bake bread by next weekend [ This week's project was yogurt and it turned out alright... I will open another thread with questions...]
    Zewbiedoo
    Tue May 17, 2005 6:58 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Donna M. wrote:
    Sorry you had a bad experince, but I'm glad you aren't going to let it deter you. If you are like me, it just makes you that much more determined to do it again and excel! I've never had a chance to look at that book, although I have heard of it. The book that I keep hearing rave reviews about lately is Jeffrey Hamelman's "BREAD, A Bakers's Book of Techniques and Recipes". I want that book SO bad, but it costs $40 in the King Arthur Catalog. I have heard that it can be had for less online but haven't taken the time to look for it yet.


    Here it is at Half.com :

    http://half.ebay.com/cat/buy/prod.cgi?cpid=1194028804&meta_id=1
    Donna M.
    Wed May 18, 2005 12:50 am
    Forum Host
    Thanks, Zewbiedoo. I already got the book (I couldn't stand not having it!). I purchased it on Amazon for $25.20, free shipping. It came yesterday and I have barely had time to skim through it. I will let you guys know how I like it after I get time to really look at it. I'm baking a wedding cake for my daughter's best friend so right now I am a bit busy.
    Alquimista
    Wed May 18, 2005 8:58 am
    Regular "Line Cook" Poster
    Zewbiedoo wrote:
    Donna M. wrote:
    Sorry you had a bad experince, but I'm glad you aren't going to let it deter you. If you are like me, it just makes you that much more determined to do it again and excel! I've never had a chance to look at that book, although I have heard of it. The book that I keep hearing rave reviews about lately is Jeffrey Hamelman's "BREAD, A Bakers's Book of Techniques and Recipes". I want that book SO bad, but it costs $40 in the King Arthur Catalog. I have heard that it can be had for less online but haven't taken the time to look for it yet.


    Here it is at Half.com :

    http://half.ebay.com/cat/buy/prod.cgi?cpid=1194028804&meta_id=1


    Thank you very much! I will check on the book you mention. Does it have pictures? Are the recipes detailed enough and in plain English? Those are the big selling points for a cook book imho. And of course! I will make the bread again... For the time being I am just at the planning stages to figure out what went wrong exactly, how can I improve the technique and how to execute. The variables for bread making are something that I don't master yet and I need to keep on trying.
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