Rules

1. Make one different bread recipe every day for one year, except Sundays (because we all need a little bench rest).

2. No purchases of special equipment.

Simple enough.

But what exactly counts as “bread”?  According to Merriam-Webster Online, the first definition of bread is “a usually baked and leavened food made of a mixture whose basic constituent is flour or meal.”  The Food Lover’s Companion defines bread as “made from flour, water (or other liquid), and usually a leavener.  It can be baked, fried, or steamed.”  Both of these definitions include the word “usually”.  That’s a tricky word, rightly implying that a thing called “bread” can be not-baked and un-leavened.  Both mention “leavening”, or how gases get into the bread, raising it and producing air holes, shape, and texture.

Generally speaking, there are three categories of bread: yeast-leavened breads, quick breads (leavened with chemical means, such as baking powder), and unleavened breads.

Examples of yeast breads:
baguettes
ciabatta
croissants
pizza crust
rye
pumpernickel
sourdough
brioche
bagels

Examples of quick breads:
cornbread
tea breads (such as banana bread)
biscuits
crepes
pancakes

Examples of unleavened breads:
matzo
some crackers
some flatbreads

Most of the breads I’ll be making will come from the yeast-leavened category.  They take the most time, effort, and care; but they are the most rewarding and, to me, the most delicious.  They are also the sort of bread that causes the most anxiety in novice bread-bakers.

2 Responses to Rules

  1. kathy says:

    I’ve been reading your recipes for whole wheat bread making. I am really excited to try some as my bread is most often not worth eating. Yeast is not my forte. Anyway, the whole wheat olive oil bread, can you use the Autolyse Method for this also? Thanks for your help.

  2. Beth says:

    Kathy: Absolutely. You can use the autolyse method on any yeasted bread.

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