Introduction from Breadnik
Having used this site for ages, and having greatly appreciated and learned from the collective wisdom of my fellow bakers, I finally decided to join the Fl. So now, I figured, is as good a time to introduce myself as ever.
Here's my story. A couple of years ago I did not know how to bake anything. All the foolproof recipes that my more baking-talented friends gave me simply said, "add as much flour as the dough will take" or "knead until the dough would stop sticking" -- but the dough would take as much as I'd give it or will never stop sticking, thought I! I honestly tried baking bread a few times, and failed miserably every time, producing absolutely ugly loaves that were as heavy as a brick, and as raw on the inside as they were burnt on the outside -- in other words, completely and utterly inedible. After a while the word "yeast" would send me into a major panic mode, even though in all other respects I was a very fearless and rather successful cook.
And then some kind soul sent me the link to the youtube no-knead bread recipe. Now THAT seemed totally foolproof. I worked up some courage and decided to try it. It came out! Not to push my luck too far I waited a few days and then tried it again. It came out again! At that point, having gained just the tiniest bit of self-confidence, I started reading cookbooks and trying some "real" recipes. Some came out, some didn't. But my failures ended up being even more educational than my successes -- I started actually "getting it."
One day early this summer I was at a local farmers' market. I had a loaf of my Russian corainder-rye bread that I brought at the request of a friend. Well, the friend couldn't come to the market, so I gave the loaf to the market manager. As soon as the market ended that day, she found me through common friends and asked me if I could become a vendor at the market. Apparently, my bread was different enough from everything else that was available that she wanted to have me join them.
It took me a little time to rework my recipes from cups/spoons into grams and milliliters (my brain works in metric only) and to figure out how to scale up from baking 10-15 loaves a week to over 100 in one day (for the market, I generally make a push and bake all of my 120-150 loaves on Friday, but that would be all of my weekly baking). By mid-July I started selling my breads at the market. I absolutely love it! It is very hard work, it doesn't make a lot of money (although I am not in the red, thank goodness!) but I feel that after a lifetime of working much less "real" kind of jobs I'm finally doing something that makes people happy. At least, my customers' faces make it all worth my while.