Having been academically trained as an organic chemist more years back than I care to remember, I tend to approach most of what I do, including bread baking, with a scientific bent. While some may have the talent to produce good quality bread by ‘feel’, I am nowhere near as talented and find it necessary to accurately weigh ingredients and measure time and temperature to be able to consistently produce a high quality product.
I’ve learned most of what I know of bread baking from 4 sources: 1) a very generous friend who also happens to be an extremely talented professional artisan bread baker, 2) a course or two at the King Arthur Flour Education Center 3) the multitude of books available on baking bread and 4) repeated practice and experience in my home kitchen.
Many of the books currently available about bread baking are authored by professional bakers, the majority of whose experience was often gained at commercial-scale production levels. As a consequence, it’s been my experience that some of the ‘common wisdom’ proffered in these books, related to such things as dough mixing, methods of steam introduction, etc., is just not applicable in the same way at the considerably smaller scale of the home baker. As part of this blog, I will endeavor to point out and discuss these differences as they present themselves.