I am a novice home baker of only a couple of weeks. It all started when my mum got a new job at which she is required to make bread, something she had not previously done. So I bought her a copy of Andrew Whitley's 'Bread Matters' (Fourth estate 2006/ 2009) but I read it before gving it to her. As a busy mum with a full-time job I have been put off making my own bread by the amount of effort apparently needed. We all have our beliefs and preferences and I think that bread-making, like home brewing tends to attract people who like to over-complicate things, to paraphrase Andy Hamilton (Booze For Free, Transworld, 2011). This muddying of the waters resulted in my being unaware of no-knead, slow-rise methods.
From Andrew's book I discovered that all you need to do is chuck flour, yeast, water and salt into a bowl and apply patience (but not precious time or effort) to achieve infinitely better bread than you can buy in the supermarket. No sooner had I handed the book over to Mum than I was on the internet finding out about baking in a pot to create the effects of multi-thousand pound steam ovens and debunking the mysteries of yeast. (Yeast is now one of my favourite things and has led me also into home brewing).
I wish that I was posting a recipe for my staple organic, stoneground wholemeal daily loaf but I am not happy with it yet. The beauty of the simplest method of baking is that there are limited variables to control so I expect to be posting it soon! However imperfect, my daily loaf is still loads nicer and healthier than supermarket bread (modesty, ahem). My husband likes everything I make and completely uncritically consumes pounds of it a week. Well, he did once enquire as to wether the bread could be made in a loaf tin to make it a more convenient shape for his lunchbox. A loaf tin! I informed him in no uncertain terms that he was a bread nazi and it has never been mentioned since. In fact his friends at work have been asking for the recipe for his beautifully organic ergonomic sandwich bread.
So, the nuclear family have been discovering the joys of bread of substance. It's all a bit different though when your sister invites you to a barbeque and when you ask what to bring, she says well, I heard you were getting into baking, so i thought you could bring some rolls, of course you can just get them from Lidl if you want. She knows well, I cannot resist such a challenge.
But- moment of panic- there will be small children there with delicate gums! And adults generally uneducated in the ways of bread-of-substance! And my reputation as a baker could be forever tarnished by the legend of the barbeque with the rock-like buns.