This project is here to loosely document my journey in bread making.
I didn’t have an outsized desire to make bread, but someone in my apartment building put three high-quality bread-making books out by the front door with a “Free” sign, so I took this as a sign from the heavens to pick up a new hobby. Immediately, I was very excited to get started. I ordered a handful of items I needed (e.g. a quick-read thermometer) on Amazon, and as I waited for them to arrive I couldn’t stop reading about the process.
The three books are Flour Water Salt Yeast (FWSY) by Ken Forkish, Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson, and Bread Making at Home by Jane Mason. So far, I am working through FWSY and then, as I get more knowledge and experience, will try recipes from the other two.
Feb. 10, 2022 – The beginning
My first bread. I followed the basic Saturday White Bread recipe and instructions from FWSY. The second load was proofed overnight in the fridge and baked the following morning.
|Boule 1||Boule 2|
The room was around 75 ºF, a bit warmer than the recommended 70 ºF, so I think the bulk fermentation was faster than expected. Both tasted great, though!
Feb. 14, 2022 – Saturday white bread
This was an over-night fermentation. It starts with less yeast so that there is more time for the microorganisms to produce more complex flavors. I didn’t taste a remarkable difference, but the texture and mouth feel was more buttery.
|Pre-fermentation||Post-fermentation (12 hr)||Final boules|
Feb. 26, 2022 – Biga pre-fermentation
This was my first biga pre-fermentation. This begins with a small amount of yeast in 800 g of flour and about 200 g of water. It triples in size overnight and the smell the next morning is delightful with far more complex aromas than a standard white bread.
From this batch, I produced a standard boule and a tomato, rosemary focaccia. The biga definitely made a large difference to the taste and I don’t think Ill ever do a standard Saturday white boule again (unless under a time restriction).
|biga 0 hr||biga 13 hr||Boule||Focaccia|
March 5, 2022 – Biga pre-fermentation
Another biga pre-fermentation to make a boule and focaccia. I left this focaccia plain so I could pay more attention to the texture and flavor of the final bread.
May 25, 2022 – Biga pre-fermentation
Produced a great-looking boule.
June 2, 2022 – 50% whole wheat with biga pre-fermentation
This wasn’t my first time making a whole-wheat bread with the biga, but I think I let the final rise go for too long on a rather warm day. It was generally 75ºF out and I let the rise go for 4 hours, which is the longest recommended endpoint. I actually made two boules (gave one away) and they both came out a bit flat and didn’t have the best air holes. Still tasted fine.
June 14, 2022 - White bread with biga pre-ferment
My favorite combination to split the dough in two, make a boule the same day, and bake a focaccia the next (leaving the shaped round in the fridge overnight). I included a picture of my “ultimate sammy” I make with the boule. I cook the bacon, then follow with the eggs in the grease and toast the bread afterwards, melting cheese on one side. I throw in some avocado to top it off.