I live in France and work in an artisan bakery, so I though I would try to teach some of you. I am not an expert yet, but I know enough to get you going in making bread.
First step, is getting the right materials.
- Flour or grain. You need organic flour or grain, otherwise you'll just poison yourself, it's useless. Flour must be milled with stones and you should have little or almost no bran in it. Contrarily to popular beliefs, bran is bad for you, it is not digestible in bread. (unless prepared in a particular way, soaked, etc...).
If you get grain instead of flour, you should buy or have a mill at your home. Unless you have an exceptional flour mill next to where you live, it may be the best option, because fresh flour is immensely superior to old flour. You lose a lot of the nutrients and taste with time.
(example of what to buy : http://www.moulins-alma.pro/fr/moulins- ... seuse.html )
- Water. Almost any water is fine. No rain water. If it comes from the tap, let it rest overnight to remove the chlorine.
- Salt. Good quality coarse salt. Sea salt is fine but just know that sea salt nowadays is always polluted in some way.
- Oven. Oven that can go up to 260 °C (500 °F). Brick oven is the best, if you have that in your garden. You can also buy a brick oven for the kitchen, but it cost a lot. https://www.lepanyol.com/fr/fours-a-boi ... liers.html
- Pizza stone If you only have an electric oven, you HAVE to imitate the way a brick oven works. So you should place a stone in the oven that will accumulate heat and cook the bread strongly at the beginning. You can either find a good stone that won't break with heat (but be careful of the size of the stone, the bigger it is, the longer you have to preheat it, the more electricity you will use...) or you can buy a pizza stone. Or even make it yourself with a special cement.
- A large cast iron dish That is another solution if you don't have a stone. You preheat the dish the same way as the stone. It can yield good result, but it is generally considered a bit too aggressive for the dough.
- A bread peel. Buy or make one suitable for the size of your oven. You probably don't need a large handle. That one you can easily make yourself with a board and some nails... (you won't need a peel if you use the cast iron dish)
- A way to knead the dough. You can either use your hand, or a machine. But just know that if it is a machine, it should be quite gentle, and have a hook. Like this : https://www.pieces-online.com/4247-9525 ... d-kmix.jpg
- A recipient to knead the dough. (if you do it by hand) A laaaarge bowl is good. If you want to do bigger quantities, you can build something like this http://petrin.canalblog.com/
- A blade To score the bread before cooking and make the "grigne". A razor blade is good. Anything really sharp and easy to handle.
- Other useful instruments A thermometer for the dough and for the water. Also, that thing (but i don't know the name in english http://fr.academic.ru/pictures/frwiki/6 ... uisine.JPG )
To be continued...