A lurker coming out of the shadows
Well, as my account name states I am a Kansas girl stuck in Maryland. Even though I have now officially lived in Maryland (Ellicott City to be exact) longer than I lived in Kansas (Topeka)(I moved right after college graduation) I will ALWAYS consider myself a Kansan (sorry you Marylanders).
I have always loved making bread, but have had long bouts (we are talking years) of not making bread. When I first moved out on my own I made all my own bread. Mostly plain white from a very old copy of a Betty Crocker bread recipe book. I would occasionally throw in a loaf of french bread (recipe from the same Betty Crocker book). I also whipped the occasional loaf of Dilly Casserole Bread (the best no knead bread I have ever had). But until recently I have been in a long dry spell.
Then this past winter I discovered the John C. Campbell Folk School (http://www.folkschool.org ). (Shameless plug). I took the week-long breadmaking class. Think 8-10 hours everyday of making breads and then getting to eat them. Absolute heaven. I came home inspired and began making bread weekly. And I became a bread recipe junkie (you people are really bad for my waistline and pocketbook). I was also inspired to revamp my kitchen (remodeling is frowned on in rented apartments) to give myself more room to work. Even though I have a Kitchen Aid mixer I love the process of making the dough by hand. I fear that when I first came back from my class I may have given King Arthur catalog the false impression that a new bread shop was opening from the continous orders I put in for about 6 weeks.
One of the best lessons I learned from my week of breadmaking was that really good bread can take 2-3 days to make. I now know the joy of coming home from work and whipping up a poolish in a few minutes and coming home the next day to complete the actual dough with a few minutes of kneading and coming home the next day to actually bake my bread.
While I have owned Ruth Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible for several years I was always intimitated by the recipes. Now I read throught the recipes and can't wait to try them. I also purchase Peter Reinhardt's Bread Bakers Apprentice. Several of the recipes we made in class were from that book. What a wonderful book. It is a great read even before you get to the recipes.
So now I come to my quandry. Maryland (as well as Kansas) gets ungodly hot in the summer time. AC is a wonderful thing and a blessing, but AC in an apartment is very hard pressed to deal with an oven running at 400+ degrees for an hour+. Other than getting up at 2:00 AM to bake do you have suggestions for dealing with the heat from the oven. I am moving into another bout of no bread baking because of the heat and I really don't want to lose my momentum.
I can't wait to read your suggestions and constantly look forward to being inspired by the recipes posted.