I think Calvin has the right idea.

But I was puttering around in the kitchen yesterday, putting together a loaf of sourdough beer bread, and a couple of thoughts occurred to me.

  1. There’s something kind of magical in the transformation of water, flour, and yeast to bread. I know some of the science, but it still kind of amazes me when I dump a bunch of stuff in one end, and get something I can eat (that tastes good!) out of the other.
  2. I have a really nice bread machine that I haven’t been using as much as I should. I need to step that up, and I’ve already started working in that direction.
  3. I’ve been working through, or plan to start working through, several cookbooks: primarily Bread Machine Baking, though I want to try adapting some of the ones from Breads from the La Brea Bakery to bread machine use. Laurence Simon has some recipes on his site that I’d like to try as well.
  4. I’ve also been improvising some breads. For example, on Sunday I made a basic white bread from the cookbook that came with the machine, but I added a tablespoon of Penzeys Italian Herb mix and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan. It came out okay, but a little salty for my taste. (A major reason it came out that way is that I misread the recipe and added too much salt. If I had put in the correct amount, I think it would have been better, even with the added salt from the cheese.)
  5. But I haven’t been documenting the recipes I’ve tried, or my improvisations.

So I’m going to start keeping a bread journal of what I bake, where it came from, what changes/improvisations I’ve made, and how it came out.

I’m just using a simple notebook for this right now. But I’m thinking about posting these as regular entries (maybe once a week; as a single guy, a loaf a week is about what I go through) on a blog. Probably here; I thought about doing this on the SDC blog, but that’s more restaurant targeted than food in general. I don’t see that fitting in with the shared vision Lawrence and I have for that blog.

Would folks be interested in this? I don’t think there’s any danger of me turning into a foodie d’bag: TJIC would probably…well, maybe not sneer, but at least say something to me for using a bread machine rather than mixing and kneading by hand, for starters.

I’d also like to get some feedback on what I might be doing wrong. The sourdough beer bread tastes pretty good and has just about the right texture for my taste, but the top crust came out cracked and uneven. (The basic white bread+ I made came out distorted: one end rose to a normal level, but the other end just barely rose at all. I blame that on the salt problem. It was also pretty dense, but again, the salt problem, plus I kind of expect cheese breads to be dense.)

How about it, folks? Feel free to leave comments.

(I haven’t said this in a while, so let me drop this in here: if you buy stuff from Amazon using the links above or the search box to the side, I get a small kickback which I could use right now. Just saying; no obligation to buy.)

(Oh, and speaking of magic/science, I’ve started reading Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. So far, I’m enjoying it; he’s making me want to try some of these things for myself, which I think is a high compliment for a food book.)

(Note to self: look for good kitchen scale when out thrift-shopping again.)

(Note to self 2: they’re really not that much on Amazon. Does anyone have a recommendation?)

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