I tend to dive head first into projects that are of interest to me. At the moment, and it should come as no surprise to anyone, my obsession is bread.
Now, we are not talking about the homogeneous loafs of bland white sandwich bread that line the shelves at the super-mega mart. What we are talking about is the hand crafted, rustic loafs of bread with distinct flavor, crustiness and texture.
I had some minor success with cibatta bread (tasty, but the crumb was too tight and can be improved with a longer final proof), and I also made two tasty baguettes that were far superior to anything I could buy despite not having quite the texture I would have liked. I need a better recipe I think. Of course, I am also making them in class this week, so I can just wait and do it then. We shall see.
I spent a lot of the weekend reading everything I could find about 'artisan' bread. Artisan, a buzz word IMHO, means more in terms of marketing, and price, than anything else these days. When fast-food chains start to advertise their buns as 'artisan' you know that the term has been degraded to the lowest level. I prefer, at least for me, to call what I make at home simply bread.
Tonight at school we are making up some basic breads, and making a sponge for baguettes, the first of four types this semester, that will be baked tomorrow. In my dorkiness I plan to try and bake some of the breads at home, particullary ones that I have not baked, or tasted, before. Of course, this is not 100% practical since I work full-time but even if I try just one a week I feel that will take me a long way into being comfortable with different formulas and techniques.
My theory at least.