6 Tips for Bread Baking!

1.  Read, Read and Re-Read your recipe

I’ve always loved bread, with butter, or queso fresco, coffee, tea or my favorite hot cocoa in winter and cold milk in summer.

While living in Panama I can still remember my dad going to the “Panadería del Chinito” (bakery run by Chinese), and buying “viril” some sort of Baguette.  And I always took for granted that bread should be warm because my dad would wait for the ones coming out of the oven and that bread will be cool enough to slice while mom served breakfast.

2.  Work & Clean, Work & Clean

I always assumed that’s how everyone had their bread, my mom never liked Pullman style bread or “pan cuadrado” (squared bread) so unless I’m making french toast or “dieting” you won’t see that bread in my kitchen either.

Learning how to deal with bread at this restaurant has been an amazing experience, the Chef I work with, he has an incredible relationship with bread, he makes it look almost as baking was cooking, not an exact science, of course he measures and weighs everything, but it is different indeed, I will write another day about my bread baking days with him.

3.  If using expensive ingredients make sure you will use what’s left in another recipe or give it away (fresh herbs are so expensive!)

Chef lent me 2 Bread Baking Books, one is the Peter Reinheart “The Baker’s Apprentice” and the other is one is by Hamelman “Bread”, as a reference I’ve also used the Baking with Julia Childs book and I did a Finnish Pulla that was amazing (if you are a cardamon fan).

The same day I made the whoopie pies I made this bread because when I work on a project I like to do several things which is not too smart because then you are just dead tired.

4.  Trust the recipe, this bread was way too heavy because I didn’t trust the recipe and added too much flour.

I made the Poolish around 8 in the morning and baked the bread during the night and I swear if I was thin enough I would just keep doing this everyday but then I’m trying to watch my diet (so difficult cooking and testing recipes and trying to lose weight).

I bought Pillsbury Bread Flour, dry active yeast and spring water for the poolish.

Also I’m ashamed to say that I’ve killed my starter and I’m very sad about that because that was the first thing Chef gave me, but coming after work I haven’t been cooking at home and all I do is smoke and complain I should work out and that I miss having internet at home (I blog from coffee shops). I haven’t even worked out in ages, but let’s keep the topic about the Potato-Rosemary bread.

5.  Like Julia said, never apologize, keep your head up and show your food around, how many people bake their own bread anyways, right?

I used the recipe just as the books says except for some changes, I replaced a lot of the water quantity because instead of smashing the potatoes I blended them with butter and eggs, the dough looks very, very watery and I got scared so I split in half and I used one just watery like it looked, the other one I added more flour until it looked a little firmer.

The thing about being tired while baking is that you make mistakes or you just don’t see the light, and you are tired and you want to clean the mess (at least I was a little messy, when I’m tired I’m a disaster you can ask my boy).

I won’t post the recipe yet until I try this recipe again, but will share the Book information so you also feel free to try Bread Baking at home, trust me, once you bake your own bread you won’t be able to go back to the crap you see at stores.

And with that note I will appreciate if anyone has a recommendation of an amazing Bakery nearby DC area, and the furthest I will dare to drive will be Philadelphia (if it is an “out of this world” type of bread, I’ll do it!)

6.  Don’t be afraid and let other people taste it, the texture may have not worked, maybe the flavor was good?, but feedback is always great and you learn to repeat something good and avoid what didn’t work!

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¡a comer!

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