Bread-making fell a little flat

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

With this project, half of it is figuring what I enjoy doing and the other half is learning what I don’t necessarily enjoy. This week I learned that I’m not really that into baking bread. I love eating it and enjoyed getting to know two different local places where I will continue to buy great, fresh bread. To be honest, their bread is probably much better anyway.

I guess in the process of doing all of these things I’m learning a bit about myself. Bread is its own, living breathing thing that needs to be taken care of. As a bread parent this week, I suppose I vacillated between over-bearing on the one hand and neglectful on the other in my parenting methods.

I did succeed in making my great grandmother’s rye bread and enjoyed it with my house guests this weekend. I think I may have overzealously kneaded the hell out of it and it was really dense. I love making things that are part of my family history but unless I was doing something terribly wrong, I think this type of bread doesn’t really work as well nowadays. It was very heavy and probably reflected more of a need to fill the bellies of a large family during the 30s than what our palate likes nowadays. Most likely though I messed something up.

On the neglectful side, I underestimated how long it would take to get the Tartine Bread starter going and over the weekend got a little distracted with my house guests. I think it will finally be ready to use tomorrow, but I wasn’t being very good about feeding it on a regular basis.

Overall, I just wasn’t feeling it. It could have been the fact I had a lot of distractions this week, but I also don’t like the stop and go nature of baking bread. I’m sure when you get a rhythm down it doesn’t feel that way, but I felt like I couldn’t keep to the schedule the bread needed. I suppose I also don’t like it’s unpredictability. You really don’t know what it’s going to do. Baking in general here makes me feel that way.

I do think even failed attempts give you a better appreciation for what you’re eating and learning about. I have the utmost respect for our local bakers. They are a devoted lot. I will also try some of the no-knead recipes people sent along this week as they might be more my speed.

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