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Hi, I'm Peter Reinhart, Ask Me Anything, Live Session - CLOSED

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  • Hi, I'm Peter Reinhart, Ask Me Anything, Live Session - CLOSED

    Hi Everyone, I'm here to answer as many questions as I can in the next hour. Please keep your questions focused on pizza, dough, bread, fermentation, and the like, not so much about wood-fired ovens, which has it's own forum conversations and it is not my main area of expertise (though I do know a little). Important: You will need to refresh your screens continuously in order to see new postings. Also, please start a new topic with your question so that we can keep threads separate from each other instead of having questions overlapping each other in the same thread. Allow a little time for me to answer and to do my own refreshing, so there could be a few minute delay between your question and the appearance of my answer. Thanks for your patience. So, with that said, let 'er rip and I'll do my best....
    Last edited by admin; 02-16-2016, 11:14 AM.

  • #2
    Hello Peter,
    Thanks for taking time to address the forum. I started to bake with sour dough starter last winter, and never really got past the hockey puck stage. I blame it on my lack of experience with any form of bread baking and so I want to start over and maybe back up a bit to something a little more basic and maybe work my way up to the starter again. I have taken a few Craftsy classes with you and Richard Miscovich and of course using my wood fired oven. I am open to suggestions how to get restarted on my bread apprenticeship. What are some easy beginner recipes that will allow success and hopefully fuel the urge to get better.
    The cost of living continues to skyrocket, and yet it remains a popular choice.

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    • #3
      Sourdough baking is like flying on a trapeze without a net. My suggestion is to make some doughs that use a mixed method -- that is, both starter and commercial yeast, such as the French do with their pain au levain bread. This way, you get a good loaf, maybe not as tangy as a pure sourdough, but at least with lots of character and flavor. Books like "Bread" by Jeffrey Hamelman, "Flour, Water, Salt, and Yeast," by Ken Forkish, and my own "Bread Baker's Apprentice" and also "Artisan Breads Everyday," provide methods like this as well as full on sourdough breads. I think Richard Miscovich's Craftsy course is also an excellent place to start so, since you are a subscriber to it, you might want to write to him within the course itself Q&A about some of issues you are encountering. Most likely, in you hockey puck situations, the starters just weren't devloped enough to provide the leavening you needed. I'm sure you'll get there soon if you keep at it.

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      • #4
        Thanks for your response.
        The cost of living continues to skyrocket, and yet it remains a popular choice.

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        • #5
          Folks, thanks so much for joining in. I'm going to log off now, but will check back from time to time to answer any new questions or comments/ So, if you joined in too late for the live session, it's never too late to jump in with questions. Till then, happy baking!! Sincerely, Peter

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          • #6
            Dakzaag, I'm still building my WFO but have pretty good luck baking naturally leavened bread in my electric oven. Peter mentions not having the starter developed enough, which was one of my problems early on, I just didn't know it. My Wife got me a copy of Wing and Scott's "The Bread Builders" where I learned the two step feeding approach as well as how to get my starter healthy and properly maintain it. I've had my starter over 25 years but for the first 20 or so did not know how to use it properly. The other technique I picked up was from Robertson's "Tartine Bread" where I learned about using the dutch oven approach to cook my bread covered for the first 20 minutes where the moist steamy environment allowed the bread to expand, then uncovered for 20 to let it get the nice golden brown. Before I was never able to get enough steam in the oven so I was solidifying the crust before the bread was able to have good oven spring. I don't doubt that the books Peter mentioned are good, but I am not familiar with them. You can find enough about the dutch oven method online, but I really recommend Bread Builders, especially if you want to get deeper into understanding microbiology of sourdough. Attached is a picture of some typical hearth loaves I bake - probably could be darker for some folks but didn't want to burn the bottoms too much. They are 50% whole wheat and still get some pretty nice rise and fairly big holes in the crumb.
            Last edited by JRPizza; 02-17-2016, 03:52 PM.
            My build thread
            http://www.fornobravo.com/community/...h-corner-build

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