Hello From (Another) Bay Area Baker
I have long stalked the forums of this helpful website for tips and advice on my baking so I figured it was time to finally join the community. Though I have been baking for years, this past year (like everyone else) I have endeavored to take things to the next level. I currently live in Berkeley, CA where brilliant bakeries from Acme to the Cheeseboard have inspired me to invest my efforts in high-quality bread baking, joining in on a vibrant and active San Francisco Bay Area baking community.
My yeast culture, named Rèmi (pictured below just after this morning's feeding), and I have been together now for going on two years and have made some very good and very bad breads. Living atop my counter, I feed him a 2:3 old starter to flour ratio at a 90% hydration with about 2:1 white to whole wheat blend. I find he gives a very tangy-sour flavor that I really enjoy with a beautiful complex crust flavor when he's able to ferment the dough for at least 14 hours. He is fairly stable and consistent but I am always looking for advice on how to optimize his performance. Reading the forums, I see there is much to learn about LAB / Yeast balance that I have never really taken into consideration.
Recently, I have been experimenting and tweaking a white baguette recipe made with an overnight poolish based on Forkish's white bread poolish formula and the Zingerman's poolish baguette recipe. If anyone has some expertise in that area, I would love to chat and share tips. I'm trying to replicate as best I can Acme's (Berkeley & Bay Area) sweet baguette in terms of look and feel. However, I always seem to end up with a thin, chewy crust rather than a full, crisp exterior with a ton of complex flavor. Alas, the tweaking continues.
My next experiment, I think, is going to be working with einkorn. I recently had a fantastic, golden, domed round made by a friend of mine using a 30% einkorn blend. Has anyone read Carla Bartolucci's book on the grain? It's on the way and I can't wait to read through it. I will probably start by testing einkorn doughs with instant yeast, but would eventually want to use a levain. Does anyone have experience using a levain for an einkorn loaf? From what I understand the low ability to form gluten makes it particularly frustrating to work with, but the results can be beautiful.
I'm glad to *finally* be a contributing member to the Fresh Loaf! All of the pictures of your creations are so inspiring, I cannot wait to learn more about the craft.