The Pursuit of Bread Making(aka Happiness)

I’ve lately been intrigued by both my co-workers’ and training buddies’ talk of bread making and have decided to give it a shot. I love bread, its even above Cheese, Beer, Coffee, and Balsamic Vinegar on my list of foodly obsessions. I normally burn through about 2-3 loaves a week of French bread alone with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil and figure that I could probably redirect the weekly cost into a steady stream of baking ingredients and great general satisfaction.

I was first intrigued with bread making over a year ago when I been making my own pizza doughs as they are much cheaper and tastier than pre bought crusts, and provide the satisfaction of making them from scratch. While this is fine, I can only handle making pizzas every so often. I have been using Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neopolitan Pizza Dough recipe which  has served me really well so far although I am sure that there are many things I am doing incorrectly. I realized today that the version I had been using all this time was not the authentic version and called for no sugar, which I am assuming would have a large impact on how the dough turns out. Once I make it through these last 4 crusts I’ve made I’ll have to give it another shot with  the added sugar. Anyways, if you are interested in making dough from scratch pizza doughs have been fairly easy to make and quite rewarding. My only suggestions would be to invest in a pizza stone for the oven, and also corn meal to help make sliding your pizzas on and off the stone easier. On the topic of Peter Reinhart, I just finished watching his TED talk on bread making which I really enjoyed. It examined both a bit of the food chemistry behind the baking process and also the importance of bread from a philosophical/cultural point of view. I’ve linked the video below.

Anyways, to support my recipe book collecting/Amazon purchasing addictions I’ve ordered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking and a dough scraper to make life easier. The book was highly recommended and has an introduction that speaks about the basic techniques you’ll need to get started with bread making as well as featuring great recipes, or at least that’s what the internet is telling me. Once my gear arrives and as I learn more tips and tricks and begin cranking out loaves and I’ll probably throw pictures/what I’ve learned up on here.

As a side note I was also really intrigued by the end of the TED which taught me that you can add Spent Grains to your baking which is a by-product from home brewed beer, UH-OH! Maybe once I’ve graduated and have some more money to throw around I’ll consider it, but in the mean time, I’ll have to stick to breads.

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