All Things Bread No.18

Hello Friends of Sourdough!
I was just thinking, if Betty bought some bitter butter maybe she shouldn’t have thrown better butter after bitter butter? I mean bitter butter..sounds like it could be harmful to health? Thoughts?

In today’s All Things Bread I dare to share pictures of a non-sourdough bread! 
In Bread Briefing we discuss zen and the art of sourdough practice, and we ask the question : To Degas or not to Degas? (Curiously I find myself (mis)quoting the Bard a lot in this newsletter)

All Things Bread
Saher and I were gifted this beautiful package:

Which we then opened to find: 


Packed with all kinds of incredible delish goodness!!

This was Tyrone Massey’s way of saying “Pssst : Magic exists outside of sourdough too!”
Thank you Ty for this incredible loaf! So tell me Dear Reader, what’s your favourite bananananana bread recipe?

Bread Briefing

I refer to my baking life as my “Baking Practice” the same way yoga or meditation folks refer to theirs, and I encourage you to do the same. 
The parallels abound. Sourdough and baking are as much about the journey as they are about the destination. ‘Sourdough don’t wait for no-one’ as I am fond of saying, and it is therefore necessarily an immersive activity. 
Much like flying a plane or bottle feeding a baby. That dough isn’t going to knead itself and it won’t allow you to check the twitter’gram while you’re at it.

Another aspect in which Sourdough practice is similar to Yoga / Meditation practice is that each time we come to our mat / mixing bowl we are at once both novice and expert. The movements are practiced and familiar, yet there is always something new to learn. It’s simultaneously humbling and exhilarating!

We’ve spoken about practice but now I want to speak to you about a far more important subject: Play! I cannot overemphasise the importance of play in improving your bread.

Play with shapes : The next time you’re making a batch of SD, set aside a piece of dough and play with it, shape it into a bun, batard, loaf roll, braid etc.

Try out different scoring methods: When your dough is ready for the bulk rise stage, before you put the lid on and let it rise, take your blade or Lame and play with making different cuts and designs! In this way you will learn what it feels like to get the blade to run through the dough.

To Degas or not to Degas? We’ve all seen recipes that call for a “Degas” of the dough. This came up during the zoom session and while I went full Chad Robertson (never go full Chad?) and said “no way never no no”,  Reshma had excellent counsel (as usual) : Only do so if it’s appropriate, bearing in mind the trade-off you are making.
If you do degas, you will get generally get a more even, regular crumb structure (Think of sandwich bread). And if you don’t degas you will get a more irregular, open crumb (see the cross section of a rustic SD loaf or baguette).
See you today at 4pm Dubai!