Bread and Biology

This Christmas I endeavored to make bread from scratch. With a hectic schedule, this can seem daunting. With the amount of time I took for Holiday though, I was able to schedule some of the steps included with all the shopping.

Things I decided I needed was a good oven, which I have. I imagine these things can work in virtually any working oven that can safely reach 475 degrees Fahrenheit. I also need microorganisms (lactobacilli and yeasts) found naturally in the flour and in the air.

I decided to try a Baking Steel to get a feel for how much faster baking times can be. I began by the numbers, exactly as I have them. There’s no requirement for using a baking stone (or pizza stone), it’s just nice to have one for getting good crust underneath. I recommend it if you’re going to do more baking in future.

Then there’s the numbers. I got them from a new bread baking book by a journalist that partially inspired me to try baking bread by hand instead of through mixes and machines. It’s not that you can’t make an easy loaf by machine, I’ve done that, extra work can make a better loaf.

I made Pain de Champagne loaves, which consists of mostly all-purpose flour and a starter that comes from rye, leaven from rye and whole wheat. It’s a process that takes two days, or longer if you want it more sour. I like it sour.

The process is described with great detail in the book. I deviate slightly, since things can happen in the kitchen. For me, I use the measurements as precisely as possible, then I go about the dough stretching in my own way to accomplish what is expected.

I also began making a more exclusively rye bread that I think may be exactly what I enjoy while visiting Germany. The times I’ve been to Germany, I just loved the rye you can find in any bakery, on any street. It’s really tough to find anything close in America. I found a recipe and I can make a fresh German rye loaf for Christmas.

Big Bang!

This domain was bought on a whim, and the WordPress install is meant for me to write about whatever comes to mind. I started by making this announcement when taking a short Holiday break before I set more things up much later. Holidays are great when you can enjoy them. Happy Holidays!