The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from Minnesota

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7ardys's picture
7ardys

Hi from Minnesota

What a great site!  Just happened onto it today.   I started a blog a couple of weeks ago at http://ardrichards.wordpress.com.  I wish I had known about this site first.  What a wealth of information and experience is represented here!  My site on wordpress.com is really to encourage the beginning bread baker, as I see, are some of the blogs here as well.  I look forward to learning a lot from this group.  Thanks for the welcome.

Ardys 'n Bread

 

dpnync's picture
dpnync

I started baking bread about 1 year and a half ago with a Breadman Bread Machine.  My first search for help online landed me at Breadtopia.com where I learned to bake using the No-knead method, quickly settling on the Almost No-Knead method which involves 15 stretch-and-folds after the first proofing. I bake without preheating the oven, mix the ingredients according to a recipe but finish by the look and feel of the dough, use all the starter after it's fed (instead of discarding the excess) in my dough and reduce the amount of flour and water accordingly. I like to understand the science and adapt as needed to fit the circumstance. My bread crust is currently much softer than when I started, and the interior is much more spongy. 

My research eventually brought me to thefreshload.com where I learned the science of sourdough starter from the "The Pineapple Juice Solution" by Debra Wink. Although I learned to use Pineapple juice in my starter previously, I'm now less intimidated by the formation of alcohol and drop in activity.

My equipment and additional investments to date are: a large counter-top oven (we store pots and pans in our regular oven and uses it only if my wife bakes for a large group during the holidays - infrequent), an oven thermometer, a alarm-equipped probe thermometer I use to monitor the internal temperature of the bread during the final baking phase, a La Cloche Clay Baker, a 9" round coated stainless steel pan(helps prevent the boule from flattening into a pancake), a Stainless Steel Dough Scraper and a pair of non-slip Kevlar glove that can withstand 540F. microbiologist (forgot her name) of how she and fellow enthusiasts enlisted unofficial help from a commercial lab to evaluate the different starters the group experimented, eventually settled on the pineapple juice and flour recipe. That article helped me feel better about what I've been doing, but haven't been totally satisfactory. The recipe for Sourdough Bread by sourdoughlady has also helped, and I've started keeping three batches of starter now instead of just two so I can feed the starter for 7 days instead of only 4. Tried using otherwised discarded starter in a sourdough pancake recipe. Still need work!

I want to thank all of you for sharing your experiences and techniques and look forward to the journey here in the company of many accomplished bakers.