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Author Topic: What next?  (Read 5725 times)

Offline Paul

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What next?
« on: July 23, 2011, 04:57:39 PM »
With the final quarter's recipes underway and a targeted finish date of January 2012, it's time to start thinking of what we should do next.

With the current set up, we've seen many Mellow Bakers following through the whole process and attempting most of the 84(!!!) breads in the Hamelman book, others coming in and stepping out here and there as life allows.

Once we've completed the current project, I'm curious what people may want to see happen. Since we are MELLOW, we don't need to stick to the current process, we are free to carry forward and do something completely different, including taking a break for a couple of months.

We might want to go an entirely different direction and select random recipes each month, perhaps focussing on other sorts of baking (i.e desert baking), maybe tackle another bread book, or perhaps someone has a totally different idea of what we might do as a group that hasn't really been done elsewhere yet. What sort of challenge could we consider for ourselves?

Let's start throwing out some ideas or just 'germs' of ideas we can build on, keeping in mind that we've just finished almost TWO YEARS on the current road and we may well want to switch things up so we're even MORE "mellow". And as we will be starting something new and different, this give us a chance to get new members in on the fun.

So anyone care to toss some ideas out here? Remember that this is a GROUP site, not "my" site, so everyone needs to feel they are able to contribute ides and direction here. My end is mostly orchestrating the behind-the-scenes aspect of running the board.

Technically, if we can do this using the current forum process, I'm good with pretty much any new path we want to take.

So let's throw out some ideas, nothing is too wild here! It's brainstorming time! We aren't needing completely developed plans, just basic thoughts on directions, purpose, vague goals at this point, things from which we can build up more evolved possibilities.

What new and cool thing might you want to see happening at Mellow Bakers for 2012?
Paul
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Offline Natashya KitchenPuppies

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Re: What next?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 09:20:17 PM »
Wow, I can't believe we have come so far!

Woots all around.  :clap:

My own personal wishlist is: I'd like another book to bake through, generally bread. I've done the BBA and now Bread (almost) - I'd even be up for an ethnic one - Scandinavian or Mediterranean baking or what-have-you.

I'm interested in hearing what others have to say!

Offline Jacqueline

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Re: What next?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 10:55:12 PM »
I am behind in the JH 'Bread' due to moving across the world etc, but I have been watching from the sidelines. And I fully support a continuation of some similar process. This is a wonderful friendly group to be a part of, and it would be nice it could persist beyond 'Bread'.

Working through a book is a good idea since it provides a solid framework and doesn't require people to come up with original recipes or procedures. What about Daniel Leader's 'Local Breads'? There are some very interesting looking breads in there, plus, I own the book  ;D. If it ever arrives from Australia  :(

Offline breadexperience

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Re: What next?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2011, 11:28:32 AM »
I've been really mellow about baking with this group, but it's been fun and I've learned a lot from the other bakers.  I'm not opposed to working through another book, but "Bread" is my third one so it might be fun to try something different.   

I definitely want to keep to the bread theme.  To Natashya's point, I would also like to learn about Scandinavian or Mediterranean Breads.  It might be fun to focus on a different type of bread each month, but not from any particular book. We could make flat breads one month and a different bread the next and so on and so forth.  This could give us the opportunity to really hone our skills.  I'm still trying to master making ciabatti so maybe we could focus on different types of Italian breads one month. 

Or, maybe we could go back and revisit the breads we've had trouble with but didn't feel we could take the time to keep working on since there were so many other breads on the list.

Just my two cents. I'm interested in hearing what other ideas the group comes up with. 

Happy Baking!
Cathy

Offline Paul

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Re: What next?
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2011, 09:53:21 PM »
For my home situation, I know I have a few breads I'd want to go back and do a few times but since there's really only one person (except for the first warm slice) eating these, I would want to keep my own baking schedule somewhat low level. Although, being Mellow, that's an acceptable pace and is really up to me.

Another thing I had been pondering is to try and go a while without using a particular book but rather publishing recipes, possibly those we can find online. Or, if we don't go through a specific author's entire book, adapting a recipe from this or that book so it wouldn't be like copying an entire book. What this would require is a bit of planning so we can have a recipe every <period of choice> and don't run into blank spots. The bonus in this is that any visiting member can hop in without having to own or borrow a specific book. This should help grow the base a little, where new members would have felt "out of the loop" if they didn't have Hamelman's book or came in later in the run.

This, of course, would mimic already existing bread baking groups who post their Bread of the Month so we might want to pick a particular angle on it so we're not simply doing what's already well underway elsewhere. Those of you who participate in these bread groups might want to throw in your thoughts on this and might have an idea how this could be done without just duplicating the other groups' methods.

A possible compromise between the two camps, Online Monthly Breads and Whole Book Challenge: do the monthly breads for a set period then switch up to a specific book when we have a built up a good base of potential members for that book.

Having said that, I will now make a pitch for doing the Whole Book Challenge thing again. :wot?:

I was recently looking over Cyril Hitz's website BreadHitz.com and wondered if it might be a fun idea to hit up his "Baking Artisan Pastries and Bread" book. Still in the baking department but takes a nice swerve away from the basic bread path.



With just 30 recipes, it wouldn't take incredibly long to move through it and we already know Mr Hitz is a well respected baker. The book includes a DVD so instructions will be greatly assisted by visual demonstration. The downside here, of course, is that we don't want to publish the author's recipes so we are, again, limiting the membership to only book owners.

We might want to find similar recipes online as much as possible so non-book owners can join in but this would need a concerted effort - something we started doing early on with Bread but didn't keep up very long. This would apply to any book we might pick, IMHO, to make the project as open as possible.

The book graphic above links to the US Amazon site where the book is available for $17.11. Here is the UK version at £14.44 and the Canadian one at $20.05 CND. The Amazon listings have a "Look Inside" feature to give a glimpse of the content.  It breaks down as follows:

Part One: BASICS (pages 12 to 65):
Ingredients
Equipment
Techniques

Part Two: BAKING (pages 66 to 157)
Quick Breads, Muffins and Scones
Enriched Dough
Laminated Dough
Fillings, Glazes and Toppings

The last 20 pages are Appendix and Index.

There is already an errata on the BreadHitz.com website. One could also buy an autographed copy of the book directly from BreadHitz.com for $25 USD.

I also think this would be a more "accessible" book than BREAD has been because it is less of a text tome and is illustrated with numerous photos throughout. This would help get members who are a little less comfortable with their baking skills to feel more relaxed following the recipes with the illustrations there to assist. The inclusion of a DVD is likely a HUGE help in that area too. Also: more bread porn.

That would be one of my recommendations for a new book. So if YOU lean to another Whole Book Challenge, what possible book(s) might you want to add to the pile of contenders?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 04:47:33 PM by Paul »
Paul
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Offline Natashya KitchenPuppies

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Re: What next?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 06:22:12 AM »
I'd be into that book! I follow him on YouTube, but don't have any of his books. And I don't need much prompting to order one!  rofl  If amazon had a points club, they'd owe me a car by now.  :laugh:

Offline Aulos

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Re: What next?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 06:24:19 AM »
Thanks for sharing the information.  I checked out a few very helpful youtube videos. 

Since I'm new to this site I assume you are just finishing up with the Hamelman book.  I'll just wait and see what you decide to do next.  Until then I'll enjoy looking around and reading posts.

Offline Paul

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Re: What next?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 01:31:37 PM »
Aulos:

Please, no. Don't just "wait and see"... Chime right in! Add your opinion, throw in some ideas!

If you are looking to participate, the ideas we're tossing about here should include yours too. My involvement is really just steering the boat, I have not taken up ownership of the IDEA here. The course and destination, however, should be based on and reflect everyone's views.

That definitely should includes yours.

So peruse the forum and get a feel of what we have been doing but please do share what you'd like to do. We need more input. 
Paul
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Offline Naomi

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Re: What next?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2011, 10:29:52 AM »
I'm a little sad that the BREAD is coming to an end, since I was late to join, and I definitely want to bake the breads of JH's book. So I guess I'll have to continue after this group ends. Maybe there can be a sub-group for late-comers :)

An idea for continuing: recipes from different countries/regions.

Offline Sloan

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Re: What next?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2011, 02:50:20 PM »
Just to muddy the waters, let me make a couple of observations and suggestions.

First, I'd like to see us continue one more month and do the decorative projects in Hamelman (Chapter 10).  We could use this as a filler if need be between this project and the next.

Next, the Hitz book is quite good and not at all expensive, but it is fairly short.  It might be worth noting that there is a companion book just on bread---same format, about the same size and price, and with a DVD. Hitz also has a series of DVD that are excellent but quite expensive. 

Also, some of you might be interested in knowing that there is another group doing Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads book even as we "speak".  They are only about 10 recipes in, so it wouldn't be too late to join. I'm doing both (and I think there are a couple of others.) For more information, see http://somethingtosavor.blogspot.com/2011/05/wgb-challange.html

Finally, if folks are interested in something a bit different, might I suggest we consider Flatbreads & Flavors  by Alford and Duguid?  This is a collection of bread and other related recipes from around the world.  It has recently been release in paperback and is under $15 at Amazon.com. 

Offline Natashya KitchenPuppies

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Re: What next?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 04:01:24 PM »
I'm a big fan of Alford and Duguid!

Offline Paul

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Re: What next?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 04:55:20 PM »


US link, $14.59
UK link, £10.98
Canada link, $16.29


Thanks for the mud, Sloan!  :snicker:
That does look interesting. There's no "Look Inside" for this book; can someone who has it give a quick breakdown? How many recipes, categories, etc. so we'd know how long it might take to get through and what breads to expect.

As for hitting the decorative stuff in BREAD, let's go for it, if people are up to doing so. Everyone raise your digital hands if you'd like to give that a go in February!

As to the Hitz book being short, that's actually one reason I was suggesting it, that it wouldn't need two years to get through. With about 33 recipes, at our usual 3 per month rate it would be done by end of the year or faster, assuming some recipes can be grouped.
Paul
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Offline Sloan

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Re: What next?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2011, 12:20:22 PM »
For those of you not familiar with Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, their books include: Hot, Sour, Salty and Sweet, Mangos and Curry Leaves, Beyond the Great Wall, Home Baking, and Seductions of Rice. The first three are large-format, coffee-table books. Most of their books are part travelogue, part culinary history, and part cookbook. This is certainly an appropriate description of Flatbreads & Flavors.

Flatbreads & Flavors runs 441 pages. After the first two introductory chapters, each chapter contains information about the region, bread recipes and additional related recipes. Of the roughly 150 recipes in the book, 61 are bread recipes. In suggesting the book, I’m thinking we would make the bread recipes and folks could make as many or as few of the other recipes as they choose. I haven’t looked closely but it appears that most, if not all the recipes are one-day recipes. There seems to be enough variety so that it would work well doing the recipes in sequence. Since the recipes are simpler, we might reasonably do four recipes a month and finish in about 15 months.

Here is a list of recipes in the chapter “Central Asia”:

Uighur Nan with Cumin and Onion
Spicy Cumin Kebabs
Oasis Peppers
Afghan Home-Style Naan
Afghan Snowshoe Naan
Mint and Yogurt Sauce
Chicken Street Kebabs
Apple Turnovers
Hunza Sprouted Wheat Breads
Apricot and Almond Bread Aziz’s Apricot Noodle Soup
Pebbled Persian Bread
Lentil and Sultana Salad
Herbs and Greens Egg Pie
Pomegranate and Meatball Soup
Sweet Persian Bread
Turcoman Sourdough Bread
Sweet Onion Salad
Chickpea and Onion Stew
Tibetan Barley Skillet Bread
Tibetan Dried Meat

Each recipe has extensive head notes. Each chapter begins with a map identifying the region from which the bread comes.The book, organized by regions, contains the following chapters:

Introduction
Flatbread Basics
Central Asia (10 bread recipes)
China, Vietnam, and Malaysia (6 bread recipes)
India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka (9 bread recipes)
Eastern Mediterranean (11 bread recipes)
Morocco, Tunisia, and Ethiopia (4 bread recipes)
Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan (4 bread recipes)
Europe (10 bread recipes)
North America (7 bread recipes)

Additional reviews can be found on Amazon and Google Books. The publisher’s website is: http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Flatbreads-Flavors/?isbn=9780688114114 The author’s website is: http://www.hotsoursaltysweet.com/.

One caveat, I have the 1995 hardback, not the 2008 paperback, but I have the impression that the paperback version is unchanged.
Hope this helps.


Offline Melanie

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Re: What next?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 07:26:15 AM »
Its sounds like others are of the same mind, but just let me say I'd be absolutely, positively thrilled if this group continued in some capacity or other.

I think my own preference would be towards working thru another book, but I wouldn't mind working from online recipes or such either.  The nice thing about a book is that you have that book for future reference when you want to remake the recipe.  A book with both bread and pastries sounds like a good idea just to mix things up a bit.   I wouldn't mind doing other ethnic breads/pastries as long as they don't get too weird and use ingredients that are hard to find or prohibitively expensive.  If we make recipes with too many ingredients that others can not locate, they might be discouraged from joining in.   

I wish I had a book to suggest, but I'm not too familiar w/ what's out there.   I would vote for trying the book suggested by Paul or the other one (as long as the ingredients are easy enough to find). 

Offline Natashya KitchenPuppies

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Re: What next?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 08:39:11 AM »
I'd totally be into Flatbreads and Flavours!  pompom I have the paperback, and love regional baking and cooking.