Follow by Email

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Patience of Bread

               Bread teaches us many things.  Through the mixing and kneading, the proofing, slashing, and baking;  we learn patience and realize that there are so very many different variables that go into a good loaf. 

                Baking requires loads of repetition and persistence.  Getting your hands covered in flour and working the dough to develop gluten gets you involved in the task at hand.  A baker needs (kneads?) to cultivate an intimate relationship when baking bread.  Getting used to how each different dough feels at all of the stages creates an internal bread barometer.  Your fingers will learn when the dough is too wet or too dry, and whether or not it feels like the right weight for its size as it is expanding on your counter.

                I’ve started baking sourdough again recently and find that my average level of frustration throughout the day is rising more consistently then my naturally leavened loaves.  I’ve gotten so involved with my sourdough that I even named my starter.  It’s Stevie Nicks, don’t ask why.  I’ve found a basic and simple recipe that I’ve been making over and over again.  I only change one variable at a time (depth of slash marks, baking stone vs. pan, adding ice cubes to the oven to create steam for better crust) and park my chair in front of my oven window in order to watch the magic happen inside.  

                My suggestion to anyone beginning baking is to be patient and diligent.  Find a simple recipe using good quality (not from the bottom shelf) flour and try to make it twice a week.  You’ll see your loaves consistently get better as you gradually develop a feel for them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment