I briefly introduced myself this morning in the forums, but here is my longer introduction.
I have been baking pretty much my whole life, but never regularly until a couple years ago. As a girl growing up it was the standard Wonder bread for sandwiches. If we wanted something special for Sunday dinners one of my sisters or I would mix up a batch of rolls or maybe a loaf of fresh bread, but that was it. My passion for baking began a few years back when I stumbled upon this site (really, I've been lurking for about three years). I was looking for a pretzel recipe, but I found a whole lot more. What really intrigued me were the discussions here about sourdough and starters.
About a year ago I decided I was finally brave enough to tackle the great hurdle that is natural yeast; and following the directions in BBA I started my very own starter. The first few sourdough breads I made were... unpleasant... at best. I had come that far though, and wasn't about to give up. Using the knowledge I picked up here, from Bread Baker's Apprentice, and Bread I have improved greatly. In the last year I have gone from sandwiches on the baked wheat paste (really un-extraordinary bread) that the local megamart sells to this:
(Ham, sharp cheddar, and tomato on Vermont sourdough, if you were wondering)
I have also developed a passion for all baked goods and the science behind them (that's the engineer in me coming out, I suppose). I also bake cookies, brownies, croissants, pizzas, you name it. Unfortunately my schedule and current situation keep me from baking as much as I would like. I am a senior in college, civil engineering major, and only really have time to bake on weekends, but there is now way that I can give it up now. Every time I go home I am expected to make bread or rolls or some sort of pastry for my family. I love being able to share what I bake with my family. Sharing something you made with people you love is one of the greatest parts of baking.
Anyway, thank you to everybody who has posted their experiments, tips, recipes, and knowledge over the last few years. It has helped get me to the level I am at today. I hope to be a contributing member of the community over the next few years while I continue to improve.