Here I am at the 6 month marker of my voyage into the wild wonderful world of bread.The more I know, the more I want to know... THAT IS THE ONLY ONE THING i Can say for sure.
My kitchen has been taken over by canisters of rye flour, whole wheat, cornmeal, spelt, pumpernickel; various sourdough sponges in different stages of fermentation, and the two foot wide marble bread board that now sits permanently on the counter.
I feel like that Christmas Carol.. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.. except that I sing: “On the first day of baking, I gave myself some bread.. but then.. on the second day of baking, I gave myself some more bread and a new quarry tile...and on the third and fourth and now it is up to the sixth month of baking.. and what have I given myself all for the sake of the glorious crust, crumb and chew???
THE TOOLS: I have bought 4 bread books, linen cloths(so that dough does not stick after it has risen) baskets in oval, round, rectangular shapes. (better aeration for the dough when it rises) dutch oven (for creating the steam for therackly fissured crusts, serrated small knife ( for better precise scoring the tops of the breads) kitchen aid mixer( to save your arms and wrists)
Learned a new vocabulary: autolyse, pre ferment, poolish, biga (all words for sponge) oven spring, hydration percentage(the source of endless online chatting)
The Joys: Getting my hands on the dough has become somewhat of a daily ritual.. It might take me back to the time when I first remember how much fun it was to mix water and earth and make a mud pie! We played make believe and served up several meals sloshing around this pasty concoction. The suspense of creating a risen dough rather than one that sits heavy like the mud paste is each and every time thrilling. The smells and colors of baked bread. period. The sense of slowing down... watching something go thru a complete cycle is very calming. What is the temperature? How does your sour starter look today? Do you want an open crumb or a closed crumb? How come the oven did not get hot enough? Get the picture? There are variables that make the bread good, better and the best! Not to mention the mood of the baker..
The pain-in-the-butt stuff: Dishes, dishes, dishes, flour flour everywhere, it gets trapped in your hair, on your clothes, on the walls, in and on your shoes,
The tradition of bread in all cultures: Naan, french sourdough, italian ciabatta, russian rye, jewish seeded rye, Finnish rye, Danish rye, arabic pita, mexican bolillo, Boston brown bread,
How did these traditions arrive? What are the wheats like grown in different regions of the world that create these flavors designated to a specific origins?
The voyage continues. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me.
Keep in touch. anina