Novice bread baker in Minneapolis, dreaming of rye
I just wanted to introduce myself properly . . . I'm a mostly-new baker located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've made plenty of sandwich loaves, but not much else. They were ok, but nothing to inspire passion. In fact, I didn't think bread was something I'd ever BE passionate about. I didn't understand why "real French bread" was such a big deal, even after going to France (!! I know).
Then I went to Germany, and I suddenly got it. I still dream about those breads. Turns out I just like whole-grain breads more than white ones, even good white ones.
In the absence of a book on German bread, I threw myself into whole-grain baking. It flopped. I baked four whole wheat loaves that were variously flat tasting, bitter, heavy, and heavier, and decided that RLB was right to mix her whole and refined flours.
But then I found this website, and Peter Reinhardt's Whole Grain Breads, and yesterday I baked my first-ever successful 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf. I am ecstatic! And I have the biggest crush on this website . . . the pictures, the detail, the sheer amount of information is astounding. Thanks to the kneading videos and the threads on higher-hydration doughs, I got that recipe right on the first try. I'm not plunging right into Real Pumpernickel. But with this website to refer to, I think one day I just might go for it.