I have a friend who has been spending a good part of the summer perfecting his bread technique. Every couple of days, I get an email detailing his progress. Here's an example from a recent email:
This refrigerated dough thing is definitely great, it's going to be my go-to bread for white loaves. I might have two different doughs in the fridge at once, maybe one with up to 10% rye, and another with some (but not too much) whole wheat flour in it. I'm also going to keep making the 30% oat flour bread with raisins and pecan ... in the standard no knead method. And I'm going to start working on a sourdough starter and then will try to figure out how to incorporate it into my process...
It's been funny to receive what is basically his bread diary. And, while I care about how it's going, I really wasn't relating to the whole bread thing. Because, you know, I wasn't a baker. Until Monday. When we left off a couple of days ago, my bread was in the oven and I was waiting for it to finish.
It came out! It was a little funny looking and scrawny (length of a dollar bill, as you can see), but totally delicious. You can see from this picture that it was small and kind of dense because I handled it poorly. But whatever. I. Made. Bread.
"It's stupid how happy this loaf of bread has made me," I wrote to him that night while noshing on my creation.
Since then, I made another loaf that came out way better than the first. ("What hydration was this? I'm guessing based on the large holes that it was 80%, right?" asked the bread guru.) I have to say that I can finally see what all you bread people have been going on and on about lately. It's really satisfying and delicious. I work at home, and in a more random moment today I thought that I could make bread for my neighbors and charge them to have hot bread ready when they got home. That went by the wayside when I reminded myself that I have a real job, and cannot give it up to be a baker after only two loaves.