A day of baking

Today marks the first full fledged venture into Cookwise expirimentation. I’ve read through the entire bread chapter and will be baking 2-3 different bread recipes today. I’ll also be starting a starter or two for sourdough purposes.

There was a time when I didn’t buy bread, rather I baked a loaf of bread every day. Those days are gone for now, especially in the world of unfamiliar recipes. The baguettes I baked then could be made in my sleep, I still can make them without thinking, but that’s not the point of this exercise.

I’m struck by three things about the bread chapter in Cookwise. One is the level of detail of the recipes and explanation. It is unparalleled in other cookbooks. Second is the diversity of the ingredients. See the previous flour post. I often wonder how much of the ingredient list is related to point three.

Third is that most of these recipes do not seem terribly practical for everyday use, but rather serve to illustrate a point. This can be seen in the recipes given that the book very clearly states “What this recipe shows.” Examples of this are that “Crushed caraway seeds enhance yeast activity” and “Vitamin C improves gluten development.”

I understand these points, but I just don’t see myself using crushed ice as a kneading mechanism anytime in the near future. Sarah also refused to purchase the vitamin C tablets as recipes only call for 1/4 of one and they came in bottles of 100 (as we are voracious orange juice drinkers they’re not of much use outside of the baking). I’m going to be as true to the recipes as possible for the purposes of learning, but there are certain points where for practicality I will say, “Yep, probably would have had more gluten with X.”

So here is the list for today:

  • Crusty French-Type Bread — my baguette pan will get use again!
  • Honey whole wheat loaf
  • Rice bread
  • Starter with Yeast (for a Yeast Starter bread tomorrow)
  • Wet sourdough starter (for next weekend’s baking)