Baking your own bread – it’s fun and doesn’t cost much

Hi, my name is Tim and I am a full-time web developer. I discovered bread baking in 2017, since then I bake 3-4 loaves per week for my family of four with a standard electric oven. We haven’t bought baked rolls or packed bread from the supermarket since then.

That’s why I bake my own bread.

That's me, Tim.
That’s me, Tim.

I just didn’t feel like buying the industrially produced and gassed supermarket baked goods with questionable ingredients anymore. Looking back, they didn’t taste really good to me, nor did we like them in my family. Moreover, it was hard to find a baker nearby who really „lives“ his craft. Instead, more and more bakeries seem to be closing. In addition there were more and more bakery shops that baked industrially finished dough blanks. At least I observed this development in my home region and I found it worrying.

Nobody has to buy industrially produced finished baked goods with questionable additives. I am convinced of that.

Tim Abing

While baking bread I enjoy the anticipation I feel when looking into the oven and get a feeling for the later baking result. For me baking bread and consciously using the ingredients is pure joie de vivre and quality of life. And there is so much to discover and try! From the bread recipes to the dough to the various baking techniques. Instagram has become my window into the world of baking.

Since the end of August 2018 I have been documenting all my baking results in a kind of bread diary on Instagram, keeping alive a retrospective documentation that I can share with bread baking fans from all over the world.

Another food blog?

Instagram is extremely fast moving and entertaining. Why? Every day I am shown many great contributions from other bread bakers. The photos show beautiful bread loaves, sourdough starter or laughing bakers. The contributions come from all over the world, around the clock. From New Zealand, the USA, Japan, Europe.

Many of the contributions fascinate and inspire me, and cast a spell over me. And sometimes even someone reveals his recipe, then I am all the more interested. A short time later Instagram loads more great bread pictures and pushes all the previous ones downwards out of focus.

Because of this fast pace I decided at the end of 2018 to publish my personal experiences baking bread on my own blog. There are so many foodblogs and pages about bread that I don’t want to compete with. But I am interested in a sustainable documentation of my experiences in baking bread, with my own pictures, recipes and contributions. Parallel to my bread diary on Instagram.

In my blog I report on how you can bake good bread at home with water, flour, salt and time. I have the utmost respect for the bakery trade and enjoy trying real handmade bread.

Bread baking and full-time job are well compatible

I am asked again and again where I, as an employed person with a 40-hour week, get the time to bake bread.

The trick here is to give the bread dough enough time to ripen during the day or night and to shift the short work steps to the times when you are at home. So in the morning I mix the dough ingredients together and knead everything for a few minutes, while I talk to the family about what’s going on in the week. Or I shape the loaf of bread before dinner and freshen up the sourdough starter while the children tell me about their day.

I adjust the length of time the dough rests and matures to my daily planning and not vice versa.

The ripening time of the bread dough can be shortened at will (e.g. to 8-12 hours by using more yeast / active sourdough) or stretched (e.g. to 36 hours by allowing the dough to ripen in the refrigerator). This way you remain flexible in your baking planning.

While the bread is baked in the oven for 45-60 minutes, I can do other things: Looking at Netflix, putting the kids to bed, playing guitar or taking care of this blog.

In total I invest maybe 30-60 minutes per day for baking bread. I consider these moments as quality time, because I either concentrate on baking the bread and get my head clear or I am together with my family during the whole day and talk about the day.

Baking bread doesn’t get boring

Every bread is different. Many factors have an influence on the baking result: the type of flour, the choice of the leavening agent (yeast, sourdough or a combination of both), the amount of salt, grains or herbs. The temperature of the water, the time it takes for the dough to mature (also known as cooking time) and the ambient temperature. The sequence of the work steps and the shape of the loaf also influence the baking result.

Whether you bake your bread in a pot with or without a lid, in a metal mould or on a tray, at what temperature and for what time, whether with steam or without a lid,… All this has an influence on how the bread looks, smells and tastes. And this is exactly what makes baking bread so exciting!

The great thing about it is that, in my experience, a good bread always comes out of it. Because the framework in which one can move as a bread baker is quite large and fault tolerant. You can work with bread dough that is too moist as well as too dry; dough that doesn’t want to rise can be supported, etc.

From time to time there is an extraordinarily great bread with it that you might not be able to get it that good again. At least that’s how I feel.

In the meantime I have developed a very good feeling for the direction in which a bread will develop. And the moment when I get a new freshly baked bread out of the oven … Oh, I love that!

No fear of sourdough!

In the beginning I baked exclusively with yeast. With the combination of flour, water, salt and yeast you can quickly get great breads out of the oven. That was extremely motivating right from the start and I convinced the family immediately despite initial scepticism.

Sourdough must be refreshed regularly. But this ‚feeding‘ is really easy and fast.

After one year I dared to make sourdough. My fear of sourdough was totally unfounded, because it worked from the beginning! It’s really easier than you might think. Okay, there are a few tricks and sources of error. But more about that in another blog post.

My personal opinion is that unlike pure yeast breads, sourdough breads play at least one league higher. I love the mild fresh sour aroma and the long shelf life of sourdough breads. Even brighter, sweeter baked goods such as raisin bread or burger buns get an additional flavour through the use of sourdough, which I wouldn’t want to miss anymore.

Now have fun reading and browsing this blog!