Grumpa here writing to you from the cold and snowy environs of New Berlin, WI (a moderately sized suburb southwest of Milwaukee). I found this site recently and I must say, it is certainly populated by a highly skilled and knowledgeable group of people and I look forward to reading through some of the history that is here. Lots of good info.
I have long been interested in cooking having been introduced to it at an early age by my maternal grandfather in the Italian section of NYC. He used to do all the cooking in the house and I was the only one of all the family he would allow in the basement (where his kitchen was) to assist him. No one else could be present when he was cooking. Naturally, I am much like him.
I do all the cooking in my household because my darling wife is a lousy cook. (She is a Power Cooker - everything on high) This is OK with me as I mostly enjoy it. I am a longtime baker mostly of cakes and cookies (those Pillsbury things are so easy! - NOT) and have always dabbled in bread never seriously but enough that I set a goal for myself to become proficient in bread making at some point in my life. The motivation arrived last year when my eldest daughter, fresh from a term studying abroad in Italy, came home and said I should build a brick pizza oven because they had one on her campus which they fired up several times and had group pizza parties which she enjoyed. Greatest Dad In The World that I am (hey! I have the coffee mug that proves it!) I said "Sure, why not". Long story short, I designed and built one so I then decided that if I have a great oven for baking bread, I may as well learn to bake great bread so that is what I am doing, well, at least trying to do that with some success.
I have dabbled in all sorts of different breads lately mostly focusing on rustic and Italian types. I use a variety of methods because it is just plain fun to try different things but use the No-Knead method as my main material test simply because of the repeatability it offers. I am not very thrilled with the results of the NK method but, for testing, it works well. Also lately, I have been playing around quite a bit with durum flour (so much so I bought a 50 lb bag of it) exploring how it works in different recipes. (If it passes the toast test, it is a keeper) I have only been at this a couple of months and have a huge number of loaves to bake on the horizon as I have lots of variants to test with the different flours I have on hand. So many loaves, so little time, so much weight to gain!
I look forward to improving my knowledge and hopefully, offering some. Compared to many here, I have some ways to go but life is all about learning in my not so humble opinion. I say that because I am
"I used to be young and stupid but I have changed. Now I am old and stupid"