Sourdough on the Salish Sea
For over 30 years I have been learning to bake various breads from books, trial and error, along with the Internet, My first 15 years, bread bakng was a way to feed my family on a limited budget. Results were good, never great. But we did eat better with whole grains and fresh flours. I am a naturally good cook so much as I thought I could bake bread, I was not being precise, never had consistent results, because I tried to "cook" bread. By this I mean I thought that I could toss together and recreate any bread I wanted from the same " gut" I use to prepare food. Well wrong! I am completely humbled by the science and precision it takes to make a consistently wonderful bread.
It clicked step by step I studied, researched, participated in on various baking forums. I became precise, weigh vs measure or even worse I was eyeballng! It sure would have helped, saved time and money, to have some one close by to nurture me along! I really needed a bread baking mom or grandma to help me! My family are all great cooks but baking? Not even cookies! They all avoid it ...so I will be there for my grandkids! My kids learned to bake but mainly with yeast but really they only make pizza and cinnamon rolls.
I am only using sourdough these days....such a lonely place! No one I know has a clue about sourdough baking. Well very few bake anything other than basics and think I am a nut bag for taking sometimes up to three days to finish a loaf! I adore sourdough, use it exclusively, for everything from light as air donuts to heavy multigrain breads. Currently have three distinct cultures that I use. All three work beautifully! My flavors are right, I get holes when I want holes, good crumb for desired recipes, understand hydration, different forms of fermentation. have endless recipes to try.
And yet ever humbled...I struggle with free form and Artisan loaves, and the art of a great slash! ( my slashes are awful! )
So here I am hoping to turn my struggle for a lovely rustic loaf ..into a success with artistic slashing
My other plan this year is to build an outdoor bread oven.. We have taked about one, researched, yearned and now finally have the means and a spot....and have earned it!
I use Korean stone bowls to bake loaves or unglazed masonry tiles for flat bread and I nake either in an electric oven or on the grill...the stone bowls make nice big tasty crusty round loaves that look nice but could look lovely if I could give up the bowl!
Thanks for any and all advice
Ok then my intro blabber is over, off to read and learn more