TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY THOUGHTS

Without a bang or a whimper I have come to the two year mark.    I know exactly what it means to not be able to pick a favorite bread…that is the question I always get from people.  My favorite is the next bread I am dreaming of….A friend of mine pointed out that she always sees bits of dried flour lodged in my cuticles  of my fingers and I guess that is my bread badge of honor.. oh yes that and the rusted red burn marks on exactly the same places on the underside of my forearms.

One of the strangest parts of this bread baking bonanza is that I did not know how symbiotic I would become with the sourdough starter… the water/flour mixture that ferments for a couple of days and then is added to your main dough.. the starter is everything..It is your starter, your middler and your finisher.. It gives texture, flavor, leavening power.. (oomph you might say)  to the finished loaf.   When my starter is not bubbling away  and lies flat,,, I  become obsessed and I mean obsessed with what I did wrong.. I take it personally.  I do not have a child or a pet and so I can probably make a good argument that standing watch over the little lump of dough has fulfilled that mothering  urge.   I also do not know if you all know that my great uncle Willy Rosenberg had a bakery in Mobile, Alabama.   He and his three sisters were all from Vienna ,Austria but He was able to get to America before the war broke out because of a business associate  that he knew. He had begun in Alabama in the tree felling business but then switched to the baking business. The story of my grand ma mutti, great aunt hani and great aunt pepi is for another entry.. Needless to say they did survive escaping the Nazis and I met and loved them all.. but I never got to meet Willy the baker so I wonder if this baking bug is a homage to the Willy Rosenberg bakery.

Just three weeks ago, I had a breakthru in baking.   I kept reading the directions.. “mix till dough comes together into a raggedy mass then let sit for 20 minutes.”  Well only by two years of experimenting did I learn that what makes wonderful bread is when you leave the dough a “slightly moist raggedy mass”  You see something magical happens when you understand the fine time to let your hands off the dough before it becomes a raggedy mass.   You see it has to be “tacky but not sticky”  Yes what does tacky mean?  Well, as it turns out.. tacky is the magic word.. It means that just when the dough can hold together without it sticking to your hands you quit.. Time does all the rest… the flour absorbs slowly and creates the enzymes glutenin and gliandin which will give it its structure and also create a moister and lighter bread.. In other words,  one too many flicks of the wrist and your bread will be good but not GREAT!!.   I am talking lighter, filled with holes, moist and stay fresh longer.. there that is what has taken me two years to learn.. The secret is out:..

Less is more… Keep paying attention to the details.. Have fun playing and Keep in touch…

and so lets roll…

2 thoughts on “TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY THOUGHTS

  1. Hi Anina, I just came across your blog –thru Facebook!
    I like it…your love of baking really comes through. I can’t wait to visit Monterey County and try some bread

    Like

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