Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Are Your Bread Baking Goals for 2009?

White Pizza Goes Green: Susan's Swiss Chard Artichoke Pizza

The other day my foodie friend Mark Overbay, who works at the awesome Counter Culture Coffee in Durham, North Carolina, shared one of his New Year's resolutions with me. "I’ve vowed to myself to learn how to bake good bread from scratch in 2009," he confided in an e-mail. "My goal is to be able to provide my friends with loaves of delicious bread by next Thanksgiving. I will be referencing A Year in Bread often, I’m sure!"

Of course we think this is a wonderful New Year's goal. And Mark isn't the only one with bread baking plans on the brain. I've been hearing from people all over who really want to start baking their own bread in the coming months.

Is 2009 the year you've decided to get back into a regular bread baking routine? Maybe you're planning to retire the bread machine and try kneading some dough by hand? Or perhaps you've decided you're ready to invite a sourdough starter to live in your fridge? Small steps can be exciting (and good for you), too—using more whole grains, seeking out local and organic ingredients, vowing to figure out what a sponge actually is (besides the thing you clean with) are all worthwhile ambitions.

You can even multi-task your resolutions. Do you aim to eat more healthy greens this year? Just cook them up and spread them on some homemade pizza dough! My easy Swiss Chard and Artichoke Pizza is so good you'll forget how good it is for you.

Here at A Year in Bread our goals for the year are simple:
1. Bake more bread.
2. Expand and share our bread baking experiences and knowledge.
3. Post a lot more often.
4. Finally get around to tackling sourdough starters with you!

So what about you? We'd love to hear your own personal bread baking goals for the year. And hopefully we can help you achieve them. Requests for what you'd like to see us cover on A Year In Bread are always welcome.

Related posts:

Links to All the Sandwich Loaf Recipes on A Year in Bread
Susan: Farmhouse White Sandwich Bread (a great beginner loaf)
Susan: Pizza Dough
Beth: Pizza Dough
Kevin: Pizza Dough
Susan: Arugula Pesto Pizza
Susan: Three Onion and Three Cheese Pizza
Susan: Fresh Tomato and My Favorite Basil Pesto Pizza

© Copyright 2009, the bread baking blog where life is always better when there are Four Hour Parisian Daily Baguettes (so good, yet so easy to make!) and a couple of kinds of homemade pizza in the freezer.



Blogger Debby said...

So glad to see that you plan to post more! I stumbled across your blog and I was so excited.
My goal is to bake bread more often, without a bread machine (mine broke, and I would rather work with my hands anyway). I struggle to shape pretty rolls, so I need to practice, practice, practice! Any tips would be appreciated.

1/20/2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger KitchenKiki said...

I'm excited to see you back.

My goal is to find a bread that I look forward to making and eating once a week.

I don't want bread baking to be an indulgence when I can find the time, I want it to become part of the weekly routine.

1/20/2009 8:57 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

My goal is to bake the old fashioned way more multi grain breads.Love the hands on feel to kneading my own bread.
On a rare occasion use the machine.
I love your recipes and it spurs me on to keep up my skills.
Please keep up this wonderful blog.

1/21/2009 7:59 AM  
Blogger RJS said...

I'm going to try (again) with a sourdough starter, though after a couple of, er, colorful failures last year, I think this time I'll buy one instead of starting it from scratch!

1/21/2009 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I shape rolls by dividing into the right amount (might even weigh them to see if each blob is about the same weight—if you do this with kids, be prepared for one l---o---n--g process!

To shape the rolls, I flatten into a squarish shape and pull the corners to the bottom. Flip it over and pinch the corners shut. The blob now has a roundish top. Put it roundish side up in the muffin tin,

If you have a nephew like ours, though, shape won't matter much as the rolls disappear so quickly.

My goal is trying to get back to baking almost all of our bread. We do buy sourdough since I've not had long-term success with starter forgetting to use them regularly will do that.


1/21/2009 12:49 PM  
Blogger Natashya said...

I want to expand me repertoire in breads this year. And get better at understanding and maintaining sourdough starters.
I love AYIB, like having more friends to bake with.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with this year!

1/21/2009 2:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'd like to start making breads again. I was pretty good with yeast rolls and basic white bread. I'd like to try pizza dough and some of the other things that you guys have posted here. I'd also like to try my great-grandmother's bread recipes.

1/21/2009 7:57 PM  
Blogger Susan from Food Blogga said...

I want to learn to make a really good loaf of Italian bread. You know the kind-- crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I'm really not a bread baker in the traditional sense (I like quick breads and sweet breads). So I've got my work cut out for me. Glad to hear you'll be posting more often too!

1/21/2009 8:55 PM  
Blogger Sandy Smith said...

Hi guys! I am so excited to find your blog! I'm doing a similar project on my own baking blog - I've committed to baking all my family's baked goods (from sandwich bread to hamburger and hotdog rolls to pizza crust and birthday cakes) for a year. It's BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread). I can't wait to follow your bread-making progress here!

Happy baking!

1/22/2009 8:04 AM  
Blogger drfugawe said...

I too am a sourdough baker, and I'm finding it far more challenging than yeast baking! My newest "pet", Grapplestein, is a home grown sourdough created from some backyard grapes and a Gravenstein apple. It's very aggressive, however, I'm not happy with the flavor yet - not sure what I need to do, but my current goal is to spend a month or so building it into a more healthy creature. Any suggestions gladly accepted and tried.

1/22/2009 9:26 AM  
Blogger erica said...

One of my goals is to try new breads. I've got several different loaves and a pizza crust down but I really want to try pita bread. A sourdough starter wouldn't be a bad thing to get started either.

1/23/2009 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Kelsey said...

My goal is to cook more bread with my friends. Today I taught a friend how to make pita bread using Susan's recipe. She wants to make pizza next.

1/24/2009 6:02 PM  
Blogger kyouell said...


I was so afraid of yeast and kneading, but you've cured me. I asked for a bread machine as a wedding gift instead of my family's traditional Kitchen Aid because my husband and I were South Beaching it and I wanted any bread that went into out bodies to be at least a bit healthful and to cost less than $5 a loaf. But the results were so not sandwich worthy that when we moved a state away we didn't even bring the thing.

Now here I am baking 2 loaves ever week or so of your Farmhouse white. You saved me! Because of the bread flour it doesn't have as much whole wheat as I'd like (I swap out half the AP for white whole wheat), but I no longer have a fear of yeast, that's for sure. I've even conquered pizza dough. Woot!

I guess my goal is to read more of your posts (archives included) and get a good whole wheat that slices nicely for sammies.

Ooh! And to make a vegetable bread! I had one regularly from a grocery store bakery that was near my job in the 80s. It tasted like regular old white bakery bread (not Rainbo or Wonder or something extra bouncy) that had Soup Starter in it. Got any recipes that sound like that?

1/25/2009 1:54 PM  
Blogger Irma said...

My bread making goals for 2009 are to make more of the recipes on this site! Susan's Farm house White and foccacia see so much play in this house that I am ready to explore more...but my family just keeps requesing those two, over and over. VERY much looking forward to sour dough!

(Oh, and bread machine? Have one. Haven't used it in years. Dragged it out last week to make some whole wheat bread in a hurry. It was terrible. I'm sure the recipe was fine, but I just can't get past that gross bread machine texture anymore.)

1/27/2009 5:20 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I want to make a whole-wheat loaf that's actually edible. Also, I'd love a great recipe for bread bowls- the kind where you cut off the top and hollow them out and put your chili or soup or whatnot inside and use all the hollowed-out parts for dipping. And if I could incorporate some whole grains into it, I may actually die and go to heaven.

1/28/2009 1:01 PM  
Anonymous GLD said...

Love this blog and the Farmgirl one too! I spent some lovely snowed in time reading all the archives!

I have been making our bread for a couple of years now. I look forward to bread-making day. I make three loaves at a time and really like trying new multi-grain ones. My bible thus far has been Hodgson Mills bread book.

My goal for 2009 is to try some new techniques. Just tried your long-rise pizza dough with some tweaks to it. We loved it and I will definitely be doing it again.
Also made the Honey Wheat Sandwich loaf that turned our great.

I hope you find the time to post often.

1/30/2009 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Ceka said...

My goal is to bake bread twice a month and freeze it so that I can eat homemade bread on a daily basis.

I'm very fond of oatmeal bread and I also make focaccia pretty often. You can find both recipes at

2/04/2009 11:19 PM  
Blogger Jess D said...

Whoops! I just commented asking if there would be more posts, but when I came to the site, your January post/s were not showing up...

Just wanted to let you know that I had to dig around for them, I couldn't see them in the archive!

2/07/2009 9:52 AM  
Blogger Sheena said...

I just found your website through a friend. I'm so excited to start reading past posts! My goal is simply to start baking bread. I never have before, but have always wanted to. I've never been happy with store bought bread. I'm so excited!

2/10/2009 4:12 AM  
Blogger Alexander Scott said...

Hello folks,

I recently decided to expand my bread baking routine from a weekly sandwich loaf to include some artisan bread making - I want to tackle the perfect ciabatta, and get to making french toast from scratch. With this decision came another - to buy a Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer. My question is this: do you believe kneading by hand v. machine dramatically varies the results? While I am on the quest for the perfect loaf, I am also a hairdresser and extremely prone to joint disorders such as carpel tunnel. Please give me your opinion as to how much variance you see between these methods.

2/12/2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

This is such a great blog - thanks! My goal for 2009 is not to buy any sandwich bread, but to make all of our own instead!

2/16/2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Swanknitter said...

Although I have to admit (head hung) that most of my bread comes out of a bread machine, I also love making it by hand. I would add a big vote for sourdough. I had a wonderful starter when I lived in North Carolina but never got the mojo back. Tell us how, please.

3/02/2009 9:09 PM  
Blogger Jeannie said...

Very nice blog! I starting baking bread when in college and the Tasajara Bread Book came out. I still have my copy and still use it frequently.

Having a big family of big bread eaters, I bake bread almost every day. I have been the bread machine route (wore out two of them, I think they are a great convenience even though the crust is not good) but have found a way that works better for me. I use a variation on Mark Bittman's bread recipe (published in the NY times awhile back) which I bake in a cast iron dutch oven that is even older than I am.

Here is the basic recipe:

2 1/4 c water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
1/8-1/4 c honey
2 tbl olive oil
6 c flour

Mix together and knead until smooth and silky (I have a Kitchen Aid mixer now). Let rise in covered bowl at least once, preferably twice. When ready to bake, heat dutch oven with cover on in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. During heating process, shape dough into a round loaf and let rise for approx 20-25 min. Place dough into heated dutch oven, cut the top as desired (I use the box cut), put on the lid and put back into the oven for 30 minutes. Makes 1 very large loaf. Great crust, too. Too crusty? Wrap the cooling bread with a clean dish towel.

This is a very forgiving recipe. Substitute anything desired for any of the ingredients except the salt and yeast, although you can play with those amounts, too. When using whole grains or non-wheat flours, watch the dough during kneading so that you don't add too much dry to wet (and end up with a brick instead of bread). Don't have a dutch oven? Use something else. Like a baking sheet, pie pan, loaf pan, whatever. Use the dough to make rolls or baguettes.

Sometimes I use the liquid, sweetening, yeast and half of the flour to make a sponge, which sits on the kitchen counter and ages and sours until I get around to making bread with it.

3/24/2009 1:41 PM  

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