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Get Real: Tackling the Fear of Bread Grains

**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.

Kelly is still off snuggling her newborn so I told her to be confident in letting me take the reigns this week as we get started with grains/breads. I am not the keeper of the knowledge but I am a newbie to this process like many of you. I am learning, learning, learning and sometimes that is the best place to be to “teach” and encourage.

Homemade Pizza Dough

You may or may not be like me. You might be like me if the mere mention of using yeast in culinary pursuits causes you to break out in a cold sweat. Yeast? Oh no, I can’t do that! I mean, it doesn’t like me. In fact, it hates me. It just plain scares me. Yeast is the one ingredient in my kitchen that gives me nightmares. A baker I am not.

But a few months ago when we decided to take this journey for Get Real I realized I was going to face my fear. But what should I start with? Nothing too complicated and nothing that was going to cause me to take the fetal position in tears if it didn’t work out too well. Kelly suggested pizza dough. I thought, I *might* be able to handle that. So I went for it.

Turns out, it was a SUCCESS! Score! I actually was able to make yeast rise! And the dough? The dough and the pizza were amazing. I was ready to conquer the world of bread baking. Okay, maybe not, but it did give me the confidence I needed to continue trying out increasingly more difficult breads.

And that is what you need to! If you are nervous about your bread making abilities it is time to tackle them head on. And think outside the loaf to begin with. There are so many variables in creating a loaf bread that I think it is best to tackle something easier to start. Let me first mention, that if you have older ingredients, several months or more, you should go buy NEW! If there is one thing that I have learned it is that I can not find success with stale ingredients. And most of the ingredients needed in these recipes are dependent on being FRESH!

Homemade Tortillas

Here are a few suggestions on items to get under your belt apron:

Now, some of you have likely already conquered your inner bread baker. Congrats! That means that you get a little bit of a break this week as we ease ourselves into bread making. Perhaps you would like to get ahead a little and start tackling some of the resources that our blog partners have available for you to discover. A little later this week we will begin discussing the nutrient differences in already milled flours versus fresh milled flour, the different types of whole grains that can make up bread grains (and how not to pull your hair out in confusion), we will talk about gluten-free breads, and we will dabble a bit in sprouting and soaking and all that jazz. It is an action-packed month!

Some other resources you might enjoy. (Just be careful not to overwhelm yourself with information. Be comfortable in knowing where you are at and moving up 1 level for right now. You will experience more confidence and more sustained learning in doing so. When you are confident at that level you can begin learning and start moving to the next).

February Week 1 Action Item:

Each week we will try to give you some simple action steps to put this journey into practice. It is important that you approach this journey by understanding yourself, your goals and perhaps your obstacles.
  1. Identify where you are at on the bread baking spectrum:
    1. Virgin Bread Baker: Never baked my own breads.
    2. Newbie Bread Baker: Baked breads on my own sometimes but still intimidated.
    3. Accomplished Bread Baker: Confident baking breads but only with already ground flour.
    4. Aspiring Bread Baker: Milling my own flour to bake breads.
    5. Master Bread Baker: Sprouting or soaking before milling and baking my own flour.
  2. Based on your identified “level” above, tackle a task below this week to continue building your confidence:
    1. Virgin Bread Baker: Choose one of the recipes outlined above and make a bread.
    2. Newbie Bread Baker: Choose one of the recipes outlined above that you have never made and rarely made.
    3. Accomplished Bread Baker: Watch one of the Bread Beckers videos – Bread Baking 101 or Basics of Healthy Eating or Gluten Free 101
    4. Aspiring Bread Baker: Watch one of the videos on sprouting your own grain AND/OR encourage an identified reader to encourage in their journey.
    5. Master Bread Baker: Pat yourself on the back and encourage an identified reader to encourage in their journey.

February Get Real:

Please take a moment to thank our guest authors and sponsors by clicking over to their sites and/or liking them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Sponsor: Bread BeckersOne pledged Get Real participant will be winning a grain mill OR a mixer, winners choice!
Guest Author: Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife

20 Responses to “Get Real: Tackling the Fear of Bread Grains”

  1. Jen says:

    I would call myself a Newbie Bread Baker. I purchased a jar of yeast a few months ago, and it just sat and sat in my cupboard while I kept thinking and thinking about making some sort of bread myself. Just yesterday, I decided to try the recipe Kelly put up for Artisan Bread. I am pleasantly surprised that it turned out good! I will be baking the rest of the dough throughout the week, and am ready to try some pizza dough next.

  2. Jenn Minardi says:

    I am a recently gluten intolerant bread baker. I was (and still am for the family) the sole bakery. I haven’t ever milled flour, although that would be super cool, but you name it chances are I’ve baked it. Breads, buns, etc.. We haven’t had a store bought hamburger bun in eons. So in reference to your above questions, I would say 4..

    As for the gluten part, I’m trying. I still bake everything from scratch but I haven’t gotten to the point where I can create my own recipes. I do however do mill my own brown rice.. So a point to me lol

    Looking forward to this month. :)

  3. Lisa says:

    Just watched the bread making 101. Wow! What a wonderful resource. I am fairly capable when it comes to making things from scratch but I found this class very informative. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen tomorow and make the perfect loaf of bread. now If only I could afford to buy a grain mill. :)

  4. Valerie says:

    I’m #2 a Newbie. I’ve made a couple of loaves of bread in the past, but not much, and none of them came out super great. My biggest problem is that my boyfriend only likes the super-soft grocery store style sandwich bread, and from the research I’ve done, that texture is pretty much impossible to achieve at home. But I would like to make some rolls, pizza dough and such for my freezer. This is definitely an area I need to get more into.

  5. SarahM says:

    I’m a Newbie Bread Baker. I can make a good pizza dough, thanks to OAMM, and I can make sweet breads. I struggle with everything else. I prepared the Artisan Bread dough and it’s rising now to bake. It was very similar to the pizza dough recipe so I feel pretty confident about it.
    My family LOVES tortillas so I’m going to try my hand at those this week.

  6. JulieAnn says:

    I guess I’m an accomplished bread baker. I’m pretty willing to make bread, but I’ve never tried my hand with anything other than pre-ground flour. After reading and watching the videos I WANT a grain mill! lol~ Thanks for this Get Real series. I’m really enjoying it!
    BTW – I blogged about baking bread here: http://thehomesteadexperiment.com/2012/01/26/time-to-pull-the-trigger-basic-white-bread/

  7. Kelli says:

    I have been baking my own bread and bread products for years. I have tried my hand at milling my own, I have about 75 lbs of wheat in my pantry right now, and a Nutrimill. For some reason I just can not get it right if I use 100% of my own fresh ground wheat. This is where I need alot of help. I have also soaked and sprouted. We are not a fan of sprouted, but did enjoy a great soaked bread.
    Looking forward to this month!

  8. A year ago I’d have called myself a Virgin or Newbie, but today I can proudly say I’m ACCOMPLISHED! I’ve made Lisa’s whole wheat tortillas and her whole wheat pizza dough and they’re both wonderful. I have yet to find a good sandwich bread recipe that doesn’t use a bread machine though. I use a mixer, but bake it the old-fashioned way.

  9. Kaci says:

    I consider myself a newbie bread baker. I am great using my bread machine but have only made dinner rolls and easy banana bread before by hand. I am excited to try either the pizza dough or a loaf of sandwich bread!

  10. Shannon says:

    I DID IT! We made heart shaped pizzas with the kiddos tonight. Success. I am not sure why I was so stressed out!! It tasted soooo good! Thanks for breaking me in gently! I will be blogging about my successes and challenges I have along the way in the next year. Accountability goes a long way ;) Thanks!

  11. debbie T says:

    I guess I’m technically an “Accomplished Bread Baker” – been baking my own bread for a couple of years.

    I let my bread machine knead only, then I take it from there. I’ve experimented with various techniques, but I have not used my own ground flour.

    I guess I am still on the fence if it’s really necessary to grind your own grains. Doing more research on that.

    But I did want to say THANK YOU soooo soo much for posting the bread 101 video link. It took me all day long yesterday, but I watched the whole thing and learned a lot of good tips and ideas.

    I would love to venture into baking rolls, and such. I’m so glad I found the Beckers site. It’s so full of info, I’m going to watch more videos!!! Thank you!

  12. Christine says:

    I’m an Accomplished Bread Baker, but I would *love* to try milling my own grains for bread. I can only imagine how much better bread must taste when you’ve done pretty much all the work yourself!

  13. LaRue says:

    I love my WonderMill! Don’t know what I would do without it. The bread is wonderful and only takes a short time to produce. Now I want a new mixer. Right now I am using a Kitchen Aid Pro, but it only does one recipe at a time.

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