Strength and Structure

Strength. And structure. I’m starting to see and feel it. Look at how this loaf domed up in my banneton. This dough sat in my fridge for 26 hours. It was slightly over-proofed, but it still had the strength to stand tall even when I turned it out into the base of my pan.

@memoirsofabaker posted his thoughts on practice AND knowledge. It’s an excellent read if you haven’t read it. It’s something that I’ve been pondering a lot lately. I’ve always thought it’s about practice. So, I kept making more loaves each time to give away so I could practice more. But what happens if I don’t know what to practice? What if I practice the wrong things?

It’s partly why I started journaling. Writing and knowing that I’m going to share my thoughts has made me think more about what I’m doing and practicing. I need knowledge to practice the right things.

And what if my end goal was wrong? I thought my end goal was to make a tasty loaf of naturally leavened bread. It was, but in my mind, it was a high hydration loaf. I started with 72% hydration because I thought that was “low enough” to learn.

These last few 60% all-white hydration loaves were really tasty, naturally leavened bread. Bread I think all my friends would love too. And now I think I’ll learn more and faster at this hydration. I used to practice on 900g loaves. Too big for learning to develop baker’s hands, I think. And I know I need baker’s hands if I’m ever going to be a baker.

The funny thing is that I don’t even know if I’m right. I don’t know if this is really going to help me improve my craft of making and baking naturally leavened bread. With the knowledge I had a year ago, I thought I was practicing the right things. I hope I look back a year from now and say that I did practice the right things and that my knowledge of this craft and my skills have improved. And my bread is tastier.

I hope that all the people in our community who I share my bread with continue to enjoy my bread. I stopped baking for them for a bit when I decided to undertake these single loaf experiments. I hope to get back to baking for them soon. I think they’re going to really love this 60% hydration bread.