A few years ago, I made a loaf of bread every day. I had my own sourdough starter that I fed and obsessed about. When you fall into bread making, it is a deep and well-scented rabbit hole.
I might be falling down that hole again, but not quite as deep. It started with me telling Zach about my bread making past and him saying, “WTF?? Why haven’t you ever made this for me before?”
Since that conversation, I have been making bread using the Lahey method and variations of it. I’ve abstained from using my own starter because I do not want to invest that amount of effort and concentration right now, so this is a very nice in between.
The thing about sourdough and slow rise loaves, is the personality in them. Every batch can take on a life of its own and be completely unpredictable. You can follow the same steps two days in a row and come out with two completely different loaves of bread. It all depends on the elements during the rise; like temperature changes, the amounts of time you let it sit between each step and how much you handle it throughout the overall process. You can try to control these many variables and still, the results will vary.
It is fairly common knowledge that baking is a science, while cooking is an art. Typically, when you bake, you follow carefully measured and specific instructions. When you cook, you have more freedom to experiment and substitute ingredients in and out as you see fit. I think true bread making (not machine or quick rise) is the one place where these two forms come perfectly together.
Right now, I’m letting my loaves rise anywhere from 18 to 48 hours. The longer you let it sit, the better your sour will be, however the longer you let it sit, the higher the chance that something could go wrong and your loaf be a complete failure of wheat and yeast!
I’m having fun and it’s great to have a project that is non-work related to think about while Zach is gone and off to school.
Now that I have bread to keep me company there’s a strong likelihood that my pants won’t fit the next time I decide to wear any.