Let’s get baked! Bread. We’re baking bread.
I love bread. In the days before my daughter came along, I was heavy into bread. Not just eating bread, but making it too.
Call it boredom, call it a desire to eat “cleaner”, call it whatever you want, I started learning how to make my own bread. At first, I began using the store-bought yeast packets you can find fairly easily, but I quickly graduated to a naturally fermented yeast. In other words, I began using a “starter.” Well, at least I tried to.
If anyone has ever attempted to make their own bread, you may find many many differing opinions on the internet. Each corner of the web is filled with folks that have their own special way of making bread. But when it comes down to it, this is a thousand plus-year-old food staples that people could make with primitive to no technology. So simple methods and basic ingredients are commonly though as all you need to get started.
But the first time I attempted to bloom my own starter, I failed. Then I tried again. Failed at that too. The repeated failures started to dissuade me, and I was also getting really hungry. On the plus side, there was plenty of “hooch” to go around (no, I didn’t drink it). But I did what any sensible bread lover would do- I went back to using store-bought yeast.
I began using a method from a cookbook I was gifted which promised only requiring a few minutes each day. It involved simply the core ingredients of bread: water, salt, flour, and yeast. While a cardinal sin in r/Breddit but I used a store-bought yeast to get me through these dark times.
That was until a few weeks ago when I discovered that one of my favorite comedians started to share his experience in baking bread. Tom Papa has been known to many as a bread maker and lover. But it wasn’t until not too long ago the only time I could hear his tips and techniques was on a podcast. Fortunately, somebody finally convinced him to make a YouTube series on making bread.
Thankfully one of the first videos was his method of making a starter. Whether it was its simplicity, or if I was just ready to try anything, the starter demonstrated by Tom was finally the one that I could make work for me!
In the past, I was focused on finding special flours, different formats of water (tap, filtered, bottled, distilled, you name it). When in reality, I just had the proportions off and I was tending to the starter all wrong. To start, I wasn’t using a 1:1 flour:water starter mix by weight, but I was doing it by volume. Clearly pharmacy school compounding lab failed me… Changing the ration from volume to weight solved part of the starter debacle.
The other was taking care of the starter. In previous attempts, I had misinterpreted the instructions (ie, I was wrong). Instead of discarding all but 1 tablespoon of bloomed starter, I discarded 1 tablespoon and fed the remaining volume. Rookie mistake I suppose (ok fine, I was just wrong).
These simple fixes led to my reconnection to the true method of baking bread! Here are some of the shots:
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Let’s get baked!