I should stop lurking and properly introduce myself!
Well, not so much lurking as learning! I'm very glad I googled my way here.
Hallo, my screen-name is Maeve and I'm addicted to bread! For the longest time I felt that I couldn't bake a proper loaf and focused on making proper pizza - I finally got that right! I even bought a thick rectangular baking stone from a place that sells to pizzerias - and I bought stackable pans - just for the dough! I also killed my former KitchenAid mixer by letting the machine knead for far too long, but that's a different story.
It all started a few months ago. I got sick of searching through the loafs at the grocery store to find one that looked even remotely edible and decided to just try and bake my own. I debated getting a bread machine, but since I already have the baking stone and a KitchenAid mixer, I figured I was halfway there and I should use what I have.
I have physical problems, so I let the machine do most of the work, but I do like to get my hands on the dough. I googled and found several recipes and baked up something better than the grocery store bakery. Then I raided my local library and found Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice. I lurv that book! I won't say I totally understand the whole formula thing, but he explained a lot and after trying several recipes settled on the biga and Italian bread.
My main plan was to bake good bread, consistently, and that would justify getting a grain mill. Well, Dad bought me one and I love the taste of the whole wheat, but I'm having problems with raising and shaping.
At the moment I'm making the biga with KA bread flour and then for the bread I'm using my milled flour - organic hard spring was all that was on the label. I would like to find an all whole wheat recipe that my family likes, but I suppose even mixing bread flour and my milled flour is healthier than grocery store bread, right?
I made chocolate chip cookies the other night using my flour and they came out like pancakes! The next time I'll try it with half the butter and see what happens.
My main obsessions are shaping, working with freshly milled flour and bagels. I perfected pizza long ago!
Thanks for having me aboard! Oh yeah, I live in central Pennsylvania with my Dad, my husband and our son who is 6 1/2 and he just loves my bread - so I must be on the right track at least!