Bread baking journey & starters

Baking is a lot of fun, tasty and rewarding, started in my teenage years experimenting with my first buttery dough for mini-croissants. Hard work paid off in folding and rolling the dough delivering the first batch of mini-croissants.

Over the years I collected, tried and tested favourite baking recipes, but sadly lost that first pastry book. Next to books, through the Internet, I’ve found new resources to follow.

Always interested how others use, re-invent or share their new adaptations on classics, creative ideas or find new inspiration. Here I am sharing my go-to resources, tried and tested recipes, bloggers and favourite reads.

Bread baking



While my original recipe disappeared here’s a good Croissant recipe with a step-by-step guide, have a look at Izzy Hossack “How to make Croissants“. I really like the use of animated.

GIF feature delivering a hands-on look in her blog post, the moving frames draw immediate attention following her actions. Another choice is Classic Croissant article posted on Fine Cooking, which resembles very much the recipe I used for the very first time preparing the buttery dough.

Making the buttery dough gave me a buzz, but heaven knows what I did next with the Dutch recipe for soft buns. After proofing and rolling, the buns didn’t rise as it should have according to the recipe instructions. The end result after baking was disastrous, even a bit warm it was hard to chew.

Once cooled down the texture changed the buns into stones, two dozen of cobblestones bread even the dog couldn’t bite through. We had a big laugh and the mishap only made me more persistent to keep trying, learn more techniques and secrets to better eats.

The best is actually food talk; coffee chats, swapping of recipes, sharing potlucks and dinner stories :-). You will notice, food talk is a common thread running through al my conversations and postings.

The real bread making started seriously when we moved to Asia, once settled and fully adjusted we still were missing the taste of crusty European bread loaves.

Come to think of it, travelling brings forth a longing to comfort food, thinking of food can make you salivate and the craving sparks a quest to recreate that particular dish or flavour.

Depending on where we were living it meant going on the hunt to find the ingredients, sources or find substitutions which at times were even better than the original. The exchange of information brings a whole circle of communication around, joining into a new network of the circle of friends.

Bread baking journey & starters

Baking Equipment

Back to bread. By chance, we received a bread baking machine in Taiwan from friends who were leaving the island returning back home. At the time these baking machines were not widely available yet in The Netherlands.

A huge square box, but after our first bread bake trial it was a done deal. The bread machine is a keeper. The smell of fresh baked bread is so seducing it makes your mouth water and a good belly rumble. We grew up close to a bread bakery literally down the street in our hometown.

Until the bread baking machine sound whistled after the kneading and 2nd rise, signalling the baking phase entered. Precise from that moment slowly emanating the olfactory aromas of baked bread changing the house in a tiny bakery. The tempting smell literally draws the whole family into the kitchen anticipating for a fresh slice of fresh bread.

For more on my favourite power hub and tools read my “Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series post.  For the heavy duty kneading cycles and baking with the  Panasonic Inverter microwave oven both did a fine job.

At present, I am using a Miele oven for artisan bread and volume, the bread baking machine mostly during the week since it only can produce one loaf per baking cycle. The Breville BBM300 still works like a charm but newer and far more advanced models are now on the market.

Lastly, a Magimix food processor 3200XL for all other pastries and food recipes. Along the way, I will mention other versatile suitable gadgets for certain tasks or just making it more fun.

If you are contemplating the purchase of a bread machine, I’ve listed a few sources for general information.

Making bread and pastries you can use wet fresh yeast or dry yeast in active dry yeast and instant yeast type forms. The purpose of yeast:

Rising the dough – yeast fermentation makes carbon dioxide, a gas responsible for stretching and expanding the dough like a balloon.

Dough development – other compounds formed during yeast fermentation make the flour stronger so it can capture and hold the carbon dioxide gas that the yeast produces.

Flavour, aroma and texture – yeast fermentation also provides these wonderful sensory and physical attributes that you expect from yeast-raised products.

You need yeast to make bread, but you can also make your own bread starters and use both for a sourdough bread. Our next topic coming up:

Bread baking journey & starters continued:

Miracle Loaf & bread starters

My bread baking journey started off, by collecting bread recipes on the internet for the baking machine as well as traditional oven baked artisan loaves. One thing led to another, thus the stocking of different types of flour began for the preparation of various bread. Even combining of various pre-mix flour jars (e.g. cheaper than buying pre-mix brands) for pancakes batters, waffles, muffins as well as bread to keep at hand.

Searching for premix recipes, I stumbled upon the famed low-calorie, high protein bread flour recipe here.

Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series Bowl-lift Stand Mixer

Becoming or being a gadget fan starts with having a hobby or a passion for finding better ways to prepare or achieve a better result. Where else than the kitchen to start with, my family knows I just can not pass a kitchen store, shop or department without browsing around. Same counts for a bookstore, digital electronics and mobile apps. The tools prerequisites; -functional; -practical; -affordable (not always attainable). Handy is The magic word.

I am not sure where the line draws or fades between household appliances and professional equipment. Or what defines an amateur from a professional, while both being passionate in what they design, prepare for the desired outcome. A great dish starts with fine ingredients, a good recipe with the right proportions and the cook bringing it all together.

Does equipment, having the right tools make a difference? Is it about the end result creating divine taste and presentation? The responses to these questions will evoke more than a straightforward answer. The one thing I know is that the tools of the trade and gadgets really can lighten up my day.

Kitchenaid 5 Quart Plus Series

As a teenager I started whipping cream and cakes by hand with an egg beater, slowly advancing to use electrical tools for speed and better results. One thing leads to another by searching for better vessels, improving technique, handy or specific gadgets followed by investing in equipment.

I purchased a KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer more than a decade ago. I fell for the patented PowerKnead Spiral Dough Hook and quantity (size), making batter and bread for a large family with guests.

As a bonus, the promotion at the time included extras;  a second stainless steel bowl; 2 plastic bowl covers. The pouring shield with wide chute was bought separately, even still the bonus was a real bargain. If you have to buy these items separately now the total sum now will be around $70-$80 (click on the bowl link for the frequently bought together overview at the bottom).

If you have to buy these items separately it easily adds up $70-$80 (click on the bowl link for the frequently bought together overview at the bottom). KitchenAid discontinued the 5 Plus Series model and launched a whole new Artisan and Professional range.

My 5-quart stand mixer model still works without fail together with the stainless wire whip, the hook and paddle as standard attachments. The only con would be when using the flat beater you still had to scrape the sides as with other likewise counter top machines.

Four years ago I stumbled upon two fantastic gadgets for the Kitchenaid which I ordered online since the products were not available in The Netherlands at that time. I use these attachments constantly and can absolutely recommend these two favourite items;



Beater Blade with a patented silicon wing for KitchenAid which beats, scrapes and folds ingredients beautifully from the sides cleanly no separate scraping needed, the New Metro design Beater Blade an accessory I use as a standard for mixing batters.

Whisk-A-Bowl by Pourfect, a KitchenAid exclusive tool. This attachment outperforms the standard large balloon whisk in beating egg whites, it cuts down on time and improves the volume of beating egg whites.

I also came across the Pourfect Mixing Bowls and Measuring Spoons sets. The measured mixing bowls are easy for prepping ingredients with a little lip at the pout making it easier and sturdier while pouring.

KitchenAid Sideswipe blade is its own improved design as an extra attachment which has soft swipe fins with gaps for better mixing with nuts without crushing them, according to America’s Test Kitchen it outperforms the Beaterblade in better results.

Another tool is the use of silicon mats, they come in various sizes but a silicon pastry mat with measures makes it easier while rolling the dough. The one displayed in the carousel is a Norpro product, by luck in our neighbourhood the local Lidl supermarket store than had an offer just as good and almost in the same price range.

Tip: 02/10/2014 On website I just found out that they sell The KitchenAid 5 Plus Serie KV25GOXER, the same model I own and based this post on. The original list price was $419,00 and now on sale for $287,00 FREE shipping. It was the smallest professional model now being discontinued, but the accessories are still available on the market.