The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Question for open discussion. Who, or what discipline of bread making do you follow?

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Question for open discussion. Who, or what discipline of bread making do you follow?

This could be fun? Maybe? Who knows? 

Please explain in one short paragraph, who & what style of artisan bread making influences you the most. 

As for me.

 I fancy myself a student of Prof. Raymond Calvel's Improved mix. What is the improved mix some of you may be asking. Allow me to explain. At the very dawn of the industrial revolution our French baking compatriots took to electric mechanical mixing technology like a duck takes to water. This time and labor saving device was to the detriment of that artisan hand made dough/flavor the French were known for. Enter Prof. Calvel, the father of the improved mix. Prof. Cavel's mantra is that one should use mechanical mixing to the least amount possible to archive the time and labor saving. 
 That being said, I personalty, would be a big fan of totally by hand artisan baking. However I am a lazy SOB. 


Kind regards,

 Will Falzon

semolina_man's picture

Good topic. 

Generally I am influenced by and seek the path of deutsche Brotkultur.  This is based on 30 years of travel to Germany and a short period where I lived there.  Best best culture in the world, in my opinion. 

Secondarily I appreciate the skills, baking style and personality of Bruno Albouze on YouTube.  He is a French-born and -trained chef, whose core discipline is pastry.  He is an accomplished chef in all regards, including bread. 

alfanso aka Vito Scoreleone's picture
alfanso aka Vit...

Although a good part of my repertoire is derived from Mr. Hamelman, I also have taken inspiration from David Snyder, Maruizio Leo, The Weekend Bakery, Kingdom Bread, Scott MeGee and many others.  As the long-in-the-tooth TFL crowd knows I greatly prefer levain baguettes (long batards) over all other styles.  And I especially enjoy finding posts which interest me, and where I can find no evidence of them having been made as baguettes before.  I generally favor mixing by hand over mechanical means.  I also greatly favor using a baking stone vs. my Dutch Oven, which probably has a nest of robins living in it by now.

Rock's picture

For starters, I stopped using naturally fermented (sourdough) dough when I retired about 10 years ago. I had started using sourdough in the early 1970's. So, over 40 years of sourdough. Once I retired I got lots more active outside the home, since I had worked from home. I found I could control dough activity much better with commercial yeast and thus manage my time better. It has worked out very well. The use of preferments and cold bulk fermentation gives me a nice acid build up that enhances flavor and shelf life of the bread without dominating the taste.

When it comes to mixing, I use what used to be called a "short mix". I mix just to incorporate ingredients and then use a series of (aggressive) stretch and folds to develop dough. I do the stretch and fold four times at 20 minute intervals for an hour, then into the refrigerator for a cold overnight bulk ferment, baking early the next morning. I have a Bosch mixer that I bought used around 2001 and it does a really good job of incorporating all the ingredients in about 3 minutes.

I have a series of pictures taken over an hour that shows how the dough develops, but I'll save the bandwidth and only post the start and finish of my stretch and fold process.


dough mix


final stretch











MTloaf's picture

Tartine Bread was my inspiration and Hamelman was my education. Chad Robertson's style of open crumb sourdough country bread is still my north star. Hamelman's Bread is the most comprehensive bread book in my collection not just for the recipes and technical info but for the stories from a life in baking. The Bouabsa baguettes introduced here on TFL is something that I will always be grateful for.


Econprof's picture

By Stanley Ginsberg some time back where he divided bread bakers into various rough categories. As I recall, he said he fell into the category of bakers who are most interested in connecting with different cultures (past and present) through the breads they make and eat. These bakers are not necessarily interested in being original or achieving absolute mastery. I definitely fall into this category of bakers. Not surprisingly, Ginsberg’s book is my favorite. It contains the highest concentration of breads I want to make and eat. 

Found the thread:

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

However, more and more I find myself able to tweak formulas created by others to work within my skill set. Which Ginsberg book are you referring to? I have them both and enjoy them both. I think as far as cookbooks go, I have plenty. I can honestly say I have baked more from Stanley's books than any others. 

Econprof's picture

I meant the Rye Baker. I got a used copy of ITJB recently but haven’t explored it yet.

Econprof's picture

Just realized I’ve been confusing ITJB with a different book. I did look for a copy of it but couldn’t find one. 

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

ITJB, is out of print. Felt like I needed to have it. So, I paid a premium for it. That being said you can buy different chapters for around 5 bucks ea. in PDF form.  

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Pretty much the same books as MTloaf, but I gravitated more toward Flour Water Salt Yeast. At the time, I thought of it as a shorthand version of Tartine, and I very much wanted to learn how to make Tartine style loaves. Hamelman’s Bread is my bible. I aspired to bake open crumb loaves not because I preferred them, but because I felt I should be skilled enough to make them by choice instead of by chance. I was entirely self-taught in the pre-internet era and was never sure what was meant by the vague subjective terms used to describe dough consistency. Dough was a lot drier back when I started baking, so when Robertson came along with his wet doughs and talk of “folding,” I couldn’t imagine what on earth he was on about. The concept of managing fermentation was utterly foreign to me. I’ve come a long way since then, but my understanding is occasionally still impeded by fundamental misconceptions. So my baking philosophy is to keep seeking out those eureka moments, and TFL is a great place to do that.

gavinc's picture

All my knowledge, inspiration and skill come from Jeffrey Hamelman. I have bought all three editions of Bread over the years and have never been disappointed. Occasionally, I try recipes from other books and articles, but I come back to JH's for their consistency of results. 

rondayvous's picture

Depends. Reinhart has a few recipes that I really like; Hamelman and Ginsberg provided some insight; I enjoyed Forkish and used a hybrid of his sourdough formula to attempt to keep a sourdough pet again; Kimbell and Lepard offered a unique perspective; I have the FCI Techniques of Classic Bread Baking which I use primarily as a reference book as well as a dozen or more books on fermentation and brewing. Perhaps the most helpful author for me was from the site Beets and Bones, since I am primarily a rye baker and find using a CLAS or FLAS starter much more manageable and satisfying, as I love the taste and find it fits my schedule better than any other method.

TFL is perhaps my favorite reference since it offers varied points of view and options I may not have considered or had time to explore on my own.

HeiHei29er's picture

I would say I’m most influenced by Hamelman.  Almost all of my wheat breads use the levain development and fermentation temps from Bread.

I do all my mixing by hand and my gluten development and folding techniques were influenced most by Kathleen Allenbach’s (San Diego Artisan Bread School) YouTube videos.

Ming's picture

I have always been interested in cooking since I was a cook when I was a teenager but surprising only got into pizza making a few years back and bread making less than 2 years ago now in my 50s. I have never read a bread book so all of my bread making knowledge come from watching various YouTube videos. 

squattercity's picture

This is just to say that I am a Fresh Loaf baker. This site has taught me most of what I know -- and some of the regulars here have had a tremendous influence. Without this site, I would never have heard of Jeffrey Hamelman or Ken Forkish or Stanley Ginsberg or so many others. I would never have had the courage to try high hydration formulas. I would never have thought to add grains, seeds, potatoes, beer, or cider to bread. And I would never have started the sourdough journey, which has allowed me to enter the world of high %age ryes.

Thanks to everyone here for everything!



rondayvous's picture


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Thank you all so much for taking the time to post. The information gleaned from the experience of other Fresh loafers is invaluable and has given me ( and I am sure others as well) many new avenues to explore. Thanks again for playing! 


Kind regards, 

Your friend in baking

Will Falzon

AlanG's picture

I bake a number of yeasted loaves for sandwiches and toast along with sourdough batards. I've never needed to look at any book other than Hamelman's.   being up there in years, anything that involves a Dutch Oven is out of the question particularly since I don't have a wall oven.  I learned the towel steam method right here on TFL and it just works with no fuss.  I'm indebted to a number of those who post here who have shared recipes and insight. 

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

I have always felt that safety aside the dutch oven method is not very efficient when it comes to being user-friendly. Additionally, steaming the oven and baking on a stone is a much more elegant solution that works at least as well and in some cases better!  

MichaelLily's picture

Jeff Varasano's site is where I learned about dough, wet dough, and started my sourdough. I gained all of my wet dough handling experience from pizza making a la Jeff. When a neighbor showed me Tartine Bread, it was just what I had been looking for: someone as loquacious and passionate as Jeff but for bread instead of pizza dough. 

I stopped looking to Chad's works for ideas several years ago but instead I hold Modernist Bread by Nathan Mhyrvold in highest regard. I am a professional now and if it weren't for the epiphanies of how good bread could be following the pizza instructions by Jeff and the country loaf by Chad, I would not have ever considered a career in baking.

I actually have a portrait of my brother hanging in the bakery in the likeness of Napoleon crossing the Alps on top of the names of Varasano, Robertson, and Reinhart etched in the rock. So I suppose that means something! Mhyrvold is a continuing education for me.

alcophile's picture

I started baking bread about 40 years ago. I baked for a few years but then got too busy and stopped. I purchased several books back then, but the one that I thought was enlightening was Bernard Clayton, Jr.'s Complete Book of Breads. It really showed that there was a wide variety of breads from around the world. I think Clayton is underappreciated because he perhaps paved the way for the artisan bread movement that we have today.

Fast forward a few decades. I found that I had time to bake again and was interested in making my own bread. I especially wanted to make whole-grain breads and was also frustrated by the lack of anything resembling a good rye bread. I purchased Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book because it was whole-grain focused. My first few attempts were disappointing, but then I got Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. His "epoxy" method was just the solution I needed for success with whole grains.

Stanley Ginsberg's The Rye Baker has been what I consider a "gateway drug" for rye breads. There are so many rye breads in the book and on his website. But I have also wandered astray and dabbled with some recipes that I found on German or Polish bread sites. I'm still learning the quirks of rye breads.

All of this recent success has been assisted by so many kind and patient members here at The Fresh Loaf. Thank you!

Benito's picture

I can’t say that I have been influenced much by many books despite the fact that now own a few.  Early on I learned a lot from The Perfect Loaf website as I found Maurizio Leo’s posts were super helpful.  Over time, much of what I have learned has been from other bakers here on TFL and also on Instagram.  So thank you to the many bakers from all over who have helped me learn to bake bread.


Yippee's picture

Her advice is professional and invaluable.  I've learned so much from her answers to our questions that I cut and pasted every one of her comments into a file.


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

Sorry, I can't help myself whenever I see your name!

 Now, back on topic. That is quite an endorsement coming from you! Personally, I read carefully to replies made by you on topics that interest me. What I am trying to say is I respect your opinions. Smile...