Mellow Bakers: Hamelman Bread

Forum Talk => Forum News & Updates => Topic started by: Paul on March 07, 2010, 11:08:04 PM

Title: Let's first talk about the purpose
Post by: Paul on March 07, 2010, 11:08:04 PM
Thanks for popping in and joining in the discussion of this new endeavour.

Although the general point of this space has been mentioned over on the blog, I want to stress that this hasn't been set in stone by any means and at this early stage, I think we can get some discussion going on what we'd like to see the aims and goals of the Mellow bakers group is.

Since I seem to be the first one in here (hehe), I'll put out a few thoughts. You aren't expected to automatically agree, if you think these ideas need tweaking or reworking or even not taking hold, PLEASE say so. I may be the one setting the space and idea up but I want this to be what "we" want, not what "I" want.  So feel free to put in other ideas or even disagree with ideas I put forth. No one will "get in trouble" for doing so.

OK, here's what I'm sort of 'softly' picturing, with changes very likely as we go on.

Now many of the first run of members here will have come over after doing the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge, put together by Nicole of Pinch My Salt back in May 2009. The first few folks to cross the finish line did so in February 2010, having gone through all (or perhaps most) of the 43 recipes in the BBA.

Having completed Peter Reinhart's book at a pace of (it was originally expected) 1 bread a week, the question is then posed: What now?

Doing another book challenge is, for me at least, not gonna happen. As interesting as tackling the entire book from cover to cover in the order given, I myself was finding it difficult to make "this next bread" when I may have had NO interste in it. The pace, although no one "made us do it" started to get in the way of my getting to breads I wanted to make, especially since in our house we're only two so even one recipe was enough to last all week and sometimes a bit more.

I wanted to set up this group as something a little more casual, without being bound, even if loosely, to the recipes in order or even expected to do all or any. So I'm seeing this more as a "group bake" where we'll pick some interesting recipes from a particular book - we've sort of agreed so far we'd start with Jeffery Hamelman's Bread - and do them at a relaxed - even Mellow - pace.

So far, this is just a basic Group Bake. But let's see if we can make it a little more interesting.

One of the things I found MOST interesting with the BBAC was seeing other members posting reviews of their breads on their blogs or pictures on Flickr with (some) comments then going over to the Google Group.

What I'd like to see here is folks continuing to post their baking results on their blogs, of course but also discussing their methods, problems and successes with each recipe in here, all under one thread. Links to their blogs are of course recommended and encouraged as would be (re)posting photos of their breads and/or processes which may or may not have included in their blog. I know some people keep their blog entries pretty minimal and don't go into all the gory details like I have of each step of the process, preferring instead to simply post a nice shot of the finished bread and a quick recap of the recipe and steps.
Title: Re: Let's first talk about the purpose
Post by: lello on June 16, 2010, 05:09:26 AM

I agree with you on the fact that going through every single recipe might be impossible, but the challenge itself sometime pushes you beyond your expectations. For example I would have never tried beer bread, but I am about to bake it (hopefully), and I am very happy to do it using this group. A very nice discussion started about roasting and malting barley, and at some point I found myself studying how to make beer...which really scared my wife :)

A wonderful objective, as you suggested, would be to see people sharing their techniques, and "protocols". Sometimes just seeing the picture of the finished product is fine, nut I enjoy better reading posts where the authors show how they solve their baking problems, or were wondering
about the correct development of the dough, or about the length of the proofing time, and so on.

We might even think about sessions dedicated to particular topics. For example, I asked something about scoring and you, as well as many others, have provided information on how to do it, what tools you need, etc etc. Most of this information is available of websites, (thefreshloaf and similar) some of it is good, some is too generic, and I don't think it is reasonable to reproduce all of it here, but I'd like to see and understand personal solutions and techniques used by people of the group.

I will continue asking "bread" questions to the group, as well as sharing my (little) knowledge, and I will also post my successes and failures.

Just my opinion,

Title: Re: Let's first talk about the purpose
Post by: Paul on June 16, 2010, 06:14:05 AM
Awesome!  pompom

That's sort of the idea behind group baking: not just sharing the finished product ("I made this" "Me too", "Me too") but discussing the trial and tribulations and discoveries along the way. Since we can assume that it's totally possible to make each and every bread in the book (availability of ingredient aside) the rest of the discussion will be about how we each handle the process, the stumbling blocks, clarifying what we may find confusing, explaining how this or that gets done, etc..

Otherwise we could each do this whole experiment on our own, quietly. But there'd not be as much fun in the process and certainly not as much learning from other people's ideas, discoveries and questions.

And THAT, to my mind, is really the gold at the end of this rainbow.