Getting the "feel" of the dough
Today I baked 10 loaves in my simple gas oven, 4 at a time, and I am not displeased with the results. They are for donation at our church tomorrow; we provide food for those in need once a month. My motives in baking were also selfish in that the more I bake, the better baker i become. 6 loaves are from the formula for "White Bread Plus" in Joy of Cooking, and 4 are Sourdough Bread from Sourdough Cookery by Rita Davenport.
They are far from perfect, but the more I bake, the better feel I get for the dough, the better sense I have of when the dough has been kneaded enough, risen enough to go in the oven, etc. I use a stone and an internal oven thermometer. I was able to time these so that I started baking 2 loaves, then 4, then 4 more. No crumb shots, as they are to be donated tomorrow. Smell is heavenly! I tried to upload a photo, but it failed; don't know why.
Next November I plan to attend a baking class at John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina - hope to learn a lot. They say they will have an outdoor wood-fired hearth built by then, which fascinates me.