My biggest fear... the world of baking is bread! Don't ask me why, its probably because I have never spent the time practicing it.

2014 so far has been brilliant for me, and its only the 21st! That being said though, I have come to the conclusion that I need to try and conquer to fears when it comes to the kitchen.

So I decided to take bread head on.

You will notice from previous posts that I have attempted this before but things have either gone horribly wrong OR my overly picky side screamed at me and said it looked rubbish.

Just before New Year I ordered some books on bread from Amazon, one being Dough by Richard Bertinet and the other being Brilliant Bread by James Morton.

If you are like me and have a fear of bread, get these books! They are both brilliant, one starts from the beginning and explains every little detail about the ingredients, the method and the different outcomes. The other comes with a DVD that gives you a step by step guide on how to work the dough and get the best results.

This was my first attempt at a plain white loaf. Bare in mind at this point I didn't have the "Basic Equipment" the books said would help. At this point I wasn't so much worried about the working of the dough I wanted to concentrate on the outcome, the shape, the bake etc. I used the dough hook attachment on my mixer to speed up the process and focused solely on the shaping and baking. 
Although this loaf turned out ok, I wanted more from it!

For my next attempt I decided to go for the same dough as the bake itself was lovely. But I decided to attempt a different style of outcome.
This time I decided to create some baguettes in the form of Epis. The shape is formed by shaping the dough into a baguette shape and then taking a pair of scissors to the dough and snipping at intervals down the length. For a second attempt I was chuffed with these. They were yummy as well, perfect for sharing as its a bit like a tare and share loaf.

For this next batch my equipment had arrived and I was ready to work the dough by hand. Rather than using the traditional english method of kneading, I went for Richard Bertinet's method. At first it seemed a little alien but once you get into the swing of it you realise just how easy it is. I decided to try adding some flavouring to my white loaves buy adding Cumin and Gruyere cheese. To me these are a thing of beauty, look at the cheesey crust! For my first hand worked dough the crumb was brilliant and the flavours were spot on. I will making those again soon!

And finally my favourite of all, The pizza dough!
Never before have I stuffed a pizza so quickly down my neck. Good lord it was glorious!
The first picture was from my first attempt. It was slightly rushed as the weather took a turn for the worst whilst trying the recipe, causing my dad to get home later than planned with the ingredients. However the base was beautifully crisp and so flavourful. 

The second picture was my second attempt. I started this dough earlier on in the morning and decided to prove it in the fridge. Apparently this allows the dough to rise slowly which creates more flavour and also gives it a touch of acidity which will help create a crisp outside and a slightly chewy center.
I really don't see myself buying a pizza any time soon, I mean really, why buy when you make your own!?

Anyway, thats enough mouth watering food for today. My fear of bread has been conquered and I am now ready to tackle my next challenge...The sour dough starter! 

Wish me luck!