I am thrilled with the enthusiastic response from over 250 testers! I have to close the list now as it's time to move on to actually getting the recipes onto the page, develop the questionnaire, and get them out to you. Tomorrow I am heading to Asheville, NC to visit with Jennifer Lapidus, the owner of Natural Bridge Bakery. She specializes in wood-fired desum bread, the best desum I've ever tasted. I've asked her to contribute a short essay to the book on how she figured out her method, and I want to compare the amzing flavor she gets with the primary master recipe that I'm still tweaking. She's a passionate baker--cuts her own firewood, tends the oven, mills her own flour, and treats each loaf as if it were her child. No wonder people love her bread. There are many such bread heroes out there and I hope to feature a few of them in the book.
By the way, if you can make it, Asheville will celebrate its Second Annual Asheville Bread Festival on April 1st, where you can taste not only Jennifer's breads but also some other amazing breads and local cheeses. Asheville and its surrounding area, with a very small population, supports more artisan bakeries than most states. The bakeries are all small but truly artisan in the purest sense of the word. I'll post more details on the festival, such as location and time, as we get closer to the event (many of the details are still in discussion).
One final note: I love the enthusiasm of those of you testers who want to form discussion e- groups to brain storm the recipes. However, I need to ask you to hold off for now and focus on individually testing and seeing what questions arise in your specific test, and then communicate only with me on it. Group problem solving at this stage works against the test. Later, I'm sure we'll be able to open it up for group talk, but for now we need to keep it as confidential as possible and try not to share the results of your tests even with the other folks who you know are also testing--at least for now. That way I can look for trends and fix problems as they are reported. Thanks! More soon. Till then...
May your bread always rise!