I’ve been playing about with making yeasted bread for about a year this go round. Before that I’d done the odd loaf here and there following recipes in whatever cookery book I liked at the time but never really had great results. This year I’ve been getting good results but still end up a bit frustrated – I get on really well with some recipes and others wouldn’t turn out so well but I didn’t understand why.
But I came to two conclusions about bread a while ago, partially based on watching the DVD that comes with Dough. The first is that (of course) bread making isn’t easily taught through words, no matter how well chosen – the 20 minutes of watching him do things I’ve read about many times just really clarified the method for me.
The second is I get on so much better with the sort of high water content, gentle kneading technique that he uses than the earthy serious arm work method I tend to think I ‘should’ be using.
But I’ve also come to conclusions about learning hand work. The first is the same – you need to see what you’re trying to do, not just read about it. That’s why knitting group has been good for my technique – both through seeing others work and through thinking about what I do when discussing it with other people. Secondly, you have to be ready to hear the lesson. At least some of this stuff I’ve read/heard before but I wasn’t at the point in my 10 000 hours that it made sense to me yet. Now I’m ready, though I think I’m still very early on that path.