May Event for the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers
Today we announced the focus for our May "Taste-and-Tell": Cold (Retarded) Fermentation. The "Taste-and-Tell" is a monthly event held by the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers . Each month we introduce a topic related to bread baking.
Some information about this month's focus topic:
To this "Taste-and-Tell," we suggest bakers bring bread whose dough has risen in a cold place--for example, in the fridge, in a basement or unheated entryway, or outside on a chilly day or night.
Bread rises because yeast fermentation is taking place in the dough. The colder the dough, the slower fermentation progresses, and the longer it takes the bread to rise. Slower fermentation may allow more flavor molecules to develop in the dough, which may result in tastier bread. Moreover, dough that has fermented slowly produces bread that stays fresher longer. This is because the long, slow fermentation encourages the yeast to produce lactic and acetic acids, which act as natural preservatives.
Experience with cold fermentation can make one a more versatile bread baker. Getting a feel for how changing the temperature of the dough slows down or speeds up fermentation may help one better control the final bread outcome. One may also begin to develop an awareness of ambient temperature and how it affects the dough. This is especially relevant now, as we move into warmer weather. Lastly, cold fermentation can be a convenient technique to know, when one has a last-minute change of plans and would like to coax the dough to follow one's schedule.
(Cold fermentation is not a requirement for this event, simply a suggestion to inspire your baking. The only requirement is that you bring yeasted bread you have baked.)
For more information, to join the group, and to RSVP to the event, please visit us at http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Amateur-Bread-Bakers/ 
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Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers  is a not-for-profit group of avid home bakers of yeasted, artisanal breads. We get together in-person to share our experiences and learn from one another. We strive to support and inspire those actively baking bread at home.