Saturday, August 15, 2009

100 Mile Bread Experiences: Guest Post

Hi everyone. I'm Shara's husband, Rick, and I've been asked to do a guest post about my bread making experiences. In mid-July I had taken a bread making workshop at a local bakery, the Golden Hearth. The workshop was totally amazing! Organized by Rachel and Michael at the HealingPathCentre, we learned how to make our own sourdough starter and bread as well as a 90% rye which has lasts a bit longer than other breads.

I do almost no baking (until now), and I knew nothing about bread before taking the workshop. I had seen my grandmother bake bread years ago I think, that's about it. I had always wondered what sourdough was... now I know it's just a mixture of flour and water! There's a lot of chemistry involved, but basically, the sour part comes from the fermentation of the naturally occurring yeast that's already in the air and on the flour itself. Sourdough was chosen because it's 100% local since it doesn't require added yeast. It takes longer to prepare because the process of letting the dough rise or proof takes longer without adding yeast.

At the end of the two day workshop we came away with two loaves of sourdough bread and two loaves of 90% rye. We also were given the recipes so we can make our own sourdough from scratch (equal parts flour and water - 100 grams of each) but the baker at Golden Hearth was nice enough to give us a small sample of his sourdough starter culture to start off our own sourdough bread in the future. Although you can store the culture in the fridge until you're ready to prep it for making bread, he's used the same starter for more than 3 years (you have to feed it more flour and water each day- kind of like having a pet!).

My own bread making experiences since the workshop have been pretty successful. After eating all the bread that I came home with, I made one loaf of sourdough on my own and it was really good! I was SO nervous... I had put the salt into the mixture at the wrong time so I thought we'd end up with a brick instead of a loaf. Then I was worried I'd fed the starter wrong and we'd end up with a brick. Then I was worried I would under-knead it and we'd end up with a brick! Well, we didn't end up with a brick. I was very happy when it came out of the oven, I felt like I was the proud father of this loaf of bread!

It's been a few weeks since that incredible day, and I've just finished working on my second loaf. This time I waited to put the salt in at the right time. I'm still a bit nervous about how it'll turn out. The dough is in the fridge for the night, and I'll proof it out in room temperature for about 2 hours tomorrow, and then into the oven it goes! I'll ask Shara to let you know how it turns out :)

If you have any bread making tips or even horror stories, I'd like to hear them. Please post a comment below!

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