|Project by Andy||posted 03-09-2010 07:47 AM||4076 views||5 times favorited||26 comments|
One of my many other interests is making breads, so I finally got around to making a peel. Nothing fancy, just some 3/16 birch plywood and an alder handle. I whipped this out while the bread was baking and finished it with cooking oil.The oil finish works well where food and heat are involved and is easy to redo as needed.
This bread is an old fashioned sourdough and came out perfect. It had a crisp surface crust with small blisters and was chewy and elastic just under the surface. The crumb ( the breads center ) was soft and chewy, slightly tangy and full of big holes. I ate half a loaf with real butter while the other one was baking :-) I made the starter from scratch several months ago and have tried several styles of bread, but this was the best, not only the recipe but the entire process made this a success. Using a baking stone, steam and an oven temperature of 500 degrees really kicked it up a notch!
I make bread most every Saturday and sometimes even Sunday. I eat a little (or a lot) and give the rest away to various friends while its still fresh. I now have a following.haha
To me bread making and cooking in general have a role in how we work with wood. It teaches discipline, patience, planning but also how to get involved in an emotional level. We see, hear, feel, smell and taste when we cook and the same holds true in woodworking. Not taste too much unless we get sawdust in our mouth, but its still involved.
When I get myself entirely immersed in a project, not just hand and eye, I do much better. That doesnt happen all the time, it just doesnt click for me, so I cook (or shoot pictures). Cooking, and especially bread making is a personal experience for me. Its a simple food that can be modified so many ways and still give great results. I try to get consistant results, which sounds pretty easy with a recipe involving only flour, water and salt. But accuracy, timing, and technique are critical. Unless I mess up in a major way, the flops are still edible, but thats the challenge, no flops. Its like making a box with poorly mitered corners, or a rough finish, sure its a usable box that someone would still like to own, but you will know you could have done better. Thats where the discipline comes in, stay after something until you get it right. You just have to want it is all.
Its the feel of working the dough by hand, the shaping into rolls or loaves and that wonderful smell. Eating hot buttered bread is one of the best things known to man would you not agree?
It doesnt cost much and is very simple if you just follow a standard white bread recipe for getting started. It takes about 30 minutes to mix it up, then let it raise while you are in the shop. Check back in and see if its raising from time to time and make sure its not drying out. After a couple of hours you will need a break from the shop, so thats when you shape it into your favorite style, preheat the oven then and bake for 12 minutes for rolls and about 20 min for loaves.
There are many books, websites and even online videos to get you going. Get a handle on standard breads using yeast and then give sourdough a try, its addictive.
I pay for my bread addiction by going to the gym 4-5 days a week, but its a fair trade.
I am not wealthy but I am in the dough.
By the way…my wife says I am an evil person :-)
-- If I can do it, so can you.