Intro from Nebraska
Hi, everyone. I've recently stumbled upon this site and have enjoyed reading some of the posts. I've learned some things I didn't know, and I even baked the sweet potato rolls on the home page the other day...my family ate them at one sitting!
I'm a self-taught home baker, having one day picked up "Beth's Basic Bread Book" by Beth Hensperger at our local Borders. That was about 12 or so years ago, and I've just dabbled at it ever since.
Here are some basic things I can share about myself and my breadbaking background:
Everything I know I've learned from reading, then experimenting; I'm afraid to try working with sponges...don't know why, it just seems that step more difficult; I use a KitchenAid mixer most of the time to start my doughs, then knead and shape by hand; one of my favorite experiences was baking bread in my Dutch oven for friends on a camping trip.
I'm married, have twin 14 yo daughters. I'm a structural engineer by training, although not currently working. I would love to know more of the science behind bread baking as I become a better baker.
Oh, and I should add that my mother has one specialty that I really need to learn from her: Povatica! Does anyone here bake that? My mom's family tradition is to bake it at Christmas. It's a Slavic celebration bread, and her family's variation on it is the filling is a mixture of nuts (my favorite is pecans) and graham crackers. (The story in her family is her mother mixed graham crackers with the nuts because nuts are so expensive, it was a way to cut down on the cost...and it turned out everyone loved it). The trick is to roll the dough as thin as possible so the filling and the dough are equal thickness. Slather the dough with butter, then the filling. Roll the dough as per cinnamon rolls, then roll the log so that it fits into whatever pan you wish to bake it in. Delicious!
That's about all I have to add. Thanks everyone for reading.