I finally purchased Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread. I have been resisting buying another cookbook but the constant references to Bread wore me down. I am now a convert. I took a few days to read the book and found myself saying “I didn’t know that” and “Wow” many times.
I decided to start with the Vermont Sourdough recipe, but since I live in Tallahassee, my levain is southern. I created a sourdough (levain) culture in January and it is maintaining very well. I am thrilled with the bread results - the flavor and texture is great. I also made a semolina loaf that is pictured with the two batards. The scoring on the front batard was too shallow. Even though I am fairly experienced with artisanal bread making, scoring still intimidates me. I hold my breath and slash with minimal confidence.
Back to Hamelman’s book – if you are holding back because you don’t need another bread book, buy it anyway. I have learned about dough temperature, mixing times, and preshaping to name a few things. Because I live in Florida, my kitchen is always warm. I didn’t know I need to start with chilled water to get a proper dough temp (there’s a formula!). The book is written for professional bakers and home bakers and is very helpful for people who want to improve their bread baking skills and end product.
Here are my pictures. And thanks to everyone for being my bread baking neighbors. I value your friendship and willingness to share your bread baking journey. ~Marie