The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

getting re-started

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larginski's picture
larginski

getting re-started

I have recently found this site and love the passion I have found.

I am now a hobby baker with a wood burning oven in  my yard.

Even though I had a bakery for almost 8 years, the bread I am making now in my yard is better than any i had made before.

I am self taught and that has its pros and cons. Since the internet and access to information I wish I had been trained in the classic methods before ending up with a 300 loaf a day operation. 

Now into organic local flours and long fermentation I am rediscovering the joy I had lost when I had to pump out hundreds of loaves with none to take home.

I have read so much about formulas and ratios and the mathematics of baking but I would love to hear more about the feel and touch of dough. My analogy I use often is this: "I used to be able to tune a guitar by ear until I was given an electronic tuner. My guitar was in tune but I lost the ability to tune it without the tuner"

Am I way off base when I bring my starter out of the fridge, light the fire and work on the timing?. Where does the science and the art meet?

Love the site and all the passion that jumps off the page.

Love to learn more and meet fellow bakers who bake for the joy and challenge.

Nothing like skating over to the oven to use an old canoe paddle as a peel.

 John in Quebec.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I sure hope someone who bakes with wood will kick in here.  Heating the oven and taking out the starter might be off timed.  The sourdough might need more time than it takes to heat up the oven. 

Mini O

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Did you build it yourself, John?  My brother lives on 5 acres in Bolton West and has been thinking of building an outdoor oven - as long as I'll come down and bake the bread for him.

larginski's picture
larginski

Yes, It was a summer project 6 years ago, that re-ignited my love of baking and introduced me to all my neighbours. =:0)

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Do you keep it going through the winter? Where did you get the plans? If my brother finally did get an open air oven going, I think I'd spend most of the summer there. Whereabouts are you, if you don't mind my asking. I'm in Montreal, my brother's in the Townships and I know of at least one brick oven down there that's still in use.

larginski's picture
larginski

yes i go all winter, in fact more in the winter as we are home more often and eat more

we have had 3 turkey pans slow cooking christmas turkeys.

i am in aylmer across from ottawa, bought a book called the bread builder by alan scott and dove in. it has been wonderful for so many reasons. makes for a great day. i still use the house oven but rarely for bread.

reading all through the site I know I have to sort out the space to retard sourdough in large quantities. and my wife thought I was out of the baking game, never loved it more

larginski's picture
larginski

Most times it takes about 5 hours to get the oven heated up and by then I have gone from poolish to adding a bit of yeast at the end to speed up the final leavening.

When going for full sourdough I start the day before and build it a few times, I like to bake up to 16 loaves at a time to make use of the oven heat and have not got the fridge space for retarding large batches.

My wondering is less about the sourdough and more about the weighing.

Commercially i weighed and measured but a few years back while cycle touring and bakery visiting in france I met and hung out with a baker who reminded me of a preverbial grandmother who;s recipes were more along the lines of a dash of this and that till it feels right.

Great to know the responses come so quickly.