Today is the 1st anniversary of my bread-making adventure!
And what an adventure it has been 🙂
I first got enticed by commercial yeast by chance, and tried my first loaf without knowing what I was doing 🙂 It was a very tasty, very hearty bread though – I enjoyed it 🙂
With the confidence coming out of that experience, the week after that I tried baguettes and this time I was very badly defeated 🙂 I have had very serious concerns about whether I would ever be able to bake a decent loaf. This lasted some time, while I read, read, and read about how to best bake a bread.
It was my mom who encouraged me to get hopeful and try again. And again I tried. It was not an easy period I would say; I often failed and only every once a while I could get a decent loaf. I experimented a lot with autolysing, kneading, stretching and folding, over-night dough risen at room temperature or in the fridge, using a roaster as a substitute for a dutch oven, using milk or water in dough, using pre-heated and non-preheated oven, misting the oven versus not doing it while baking, adding rolled oats or seeds like flax seed to dough, and different types of flour (all purpose flour and bread flour).
I got intrigued by wild yeast and sourdough, hence I also experimented with it 🙂 I attempted four times to get a decent starter and eventually got one with a whole wheat flour. It is my Monster starter that has been working just great since last August-September. I almost every single weekend bake a loaf or two using this starter, and I must say every week I notice a subtle progress and development in it. It is a living organism alright 🙂
So I found that while I am still far away from the “perfect loaf”, stretching and folding really works and develops the dough, over night dough is the best, there is no need for pre-heating or misting the oven, or using a dutch oven/roaster to bake a good loaf. All you need is love, patience, and paying attention to dough. If you do this, you will get a great loaf each time after a while. Guaranteed.
Today, on this very special anniversary, I tried sourdough with rolled oat with a recipe similar to this (and without the flax seed). What a beauty 🙂
Here are select loaves I have baked within the last year, starting with the first ever loaf I baked. Looking at them literally makes me happy.
If you are intrigued or interested at all, I would say go for it and try a loaf or two. Baking your own bread is very healthy, satisfying, and most importantly, an exciting hobby 🙂
Happy baking! 🙂