Why is attaining big holes so important?
I'm probably risking exile, excommunication perhaps even being baked alive in a giant cloche before a throng of cheering artisan bread disciples for asking these questions but here goes. Why big holes? They are apparently very important to many bakers here. So much so that a failed attempt to produce them can provoke detailed self-analysis, pleas for advice, even the occasional vitriolic condemnation of others if the protocol they outlined failed when the individual attempted it. Are they purely an aesthetic issue? Do they add any nutritional value to the bread? Does their production augment or enhance flavor? I'm confident they demonstrate skill, an understanding of a complex process that involves the manipulation of obscure chemical and biological processes and the ability to harness microbes and drive them toward your objective. All of which is to be admired. Me? My one claim to fame is my ability to carry out a Biblical miracle even though I've never been held in bondage in Egypt - I can make bricks without straw. So, why holes?