On Life and the Turns it Takes

I work in a bakery and know a great photographer.

This is me doing what I love – making dough.

It’s been a while since I last posted.  In fact, it’s been forever.  Why?  I got caught up in the whirlwind that is a completely new direction.  I used to think that I wanted to spend the rest of my life holed up in a science lab building explosives and mixing chemicals.  And while that still sounds like a great plan (seriously – if you need a lab technician to do lab work, email me your offer and we’ll talk), I’ve found a new love.  A love made of four simple, everyday compounds.  Flour.  Water.  Table Salt.  Yeast.  From these ingredients, there is an entire world to be explored.  I can play with the ratios, the temperatures, and the time that it takes to make a dough to change the flavors.  Even simple white breads become complex when you consider that the yeast culture might be three times your age.

There is still a bucket fuck ton a lot of chemistry that goes into making good bread.  I have to consider how the proteins in the flour might affect the final product (especially true of rye and sourdoughs – the proteins/acid content might break down the gluten and cause the loaf to look like crap).  There’s a lot of biology – how do you culture a yeast population that is well-balanced with the bacteria to produce a particular flavor?  There’s just a lot of science!  In fact, there’s an entire branch of food science where they study – and this phrase makes me giddy – dough rheology.

I haven’t given up the dream of science, or even of bringing science to the masses, I’m just having trouble finding time between all the learning I’ve set out to do to be well skilled at making bread.  I want to be a scientific baker.  Oh – that’s a good title…I’m putting that on a business card.  I’m going to make a deliberate effort to write more (I’ve had this half finished post on the scientific method sitting unpublished for four months now) and to share with you all the love of science that led me to my degree.

-N.Tesla

(P.S. The photo above was taken by E.Haskin, a good friend of mine.  She’s an amazing photographer who has chronicled some of my baking experiences.  I just wanted to say thank you, E.  You’re a gentleman and a scholar.)

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