Fourth-grader Emma Hirsch is obsessed with baking. She likes the baking part but not cleaning up after, which distresses her parents to no end, but they do like eating what she makes. When Emma is not baking, she likes to read cookbooks and fantasy books, dance, and play with her two adorable dogs.

Emma’s bread

Some good, some not-so-good

November 3, 2009

I have just finished making a New Mexican pueblo bread loaf from Williams-Sonoma. It turned out absolutely disgusting. It looked very rustic and was hard to cut. It tasted like I added way too much butter. It was very dense and heavy. It was fun to make, but hard to eat.

When I made this bread, I forgot to put in the yeast. But then later I added it (a little bit before I put it in the oven). The bread was sitting in a Ziploc bag for about a week. I had made two loaves so when we thew it away it was quite a waste.

So I learned a lesson about always reading the recipe before you make something.

A piece of advice: Make sure you read your recipe from start to finish twice; add the ingredients when they need to be added; and measure well.

Sometime in my life I would love to make a plain normal white loaf of bread, but of course, “It will be horrible,” (quoting my brother). I am not really satisfied with Williams-Sonoma so I will not be getting it from them (if I ever make it).

Not Emma’s bread — yet.

Last week, I made a pound cake or bread, with four sticks of butter. This time, I was the one not satisfied, and my family was. I thought I should not have added the orange zest.

My mom’s friend was going to make savory popovers, and before she made them she asked me if she should add dried herbs or fresh herbs. I told her both. Now I am being asked about cooking savory dishes more than sweet. Strange.

Thanks for reading this!

There are 7 comments on this item
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1. by anonymous on Nov 5, 2009 at 5:39 PM PST

Interesting. I agree with you, you should always take your time to read your recipe.

2. by Tom Beckman on Nov 21, 2009 at 11:22 AM PST

Hi Emma,

I teach people how to bake. One thing we do in the kitchen is called mise en place. It’s French for “everything in it’s place”. You must get all your ingredients together before you start baking. Once you have that, you need to mix the bread to a smooth uniform dough. Add enough water so that the dough is elastic. After that, you need to let it rise at room temperature. Shape the bread how you want it. Then let it rise again. It’s not hard to make good bread. I would not use Williams-Sonoma books though. They are not good sources of recipes or instruction. Get Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb book for good bread. Keep up the good work on writing and baking!

Chef Tom Beckman

3. by Emma Hirsch on Nov 27, 2009 at 4:24 PM PST

Thank you Chef Tom. I ordered Peter Reinhart"s Crust and Crumb cookbook from the library.

4. by Tom Beckman on Dec 1, 2009 at 11:48 AM PST

Hi Emma,

I am sure you will like his book. You might also check out Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread”. It’s a great book too! How’s your bread baking been lately?

Chef Tom Beckman

5. by Emma Hirsch on Dec 2, 2009 at 2:43 PM PST

I am going to bake a white bread loaf. We will see what happens..


6. by Tom Beckman on Dec 2, 2009 at 4:45 PM PST

Good for you Emma!

7. by anonymous on Nov 22, 2012 at 7:10 PM PST

Great post, Emma! I’m really impressed with you taking on all these tasks (baking AND blogging!)

Try the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” - I got it from the library, and it really helped me a lot. My daughter likes to make the bread with me (she’s much younger than you -so cannot do it herself yet - but one day I expect she will!).

You might find this post helpful.

Best wishes in your baking & blogging endeavors : )

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