Hi to All,
I have been receiving requests from new folks wanting to join the testing process. I've been waiting till we reached a natural transition point and we're very close to that now. The text of the whole grains bread book is nearing completetion, though the testing will continue right up to printing day. I've tried to incorporate as many tester suggestions as possible in the instructions to simplify the process, so the next round will actually benefit from both new and veteran testers to see if our changes have worked. I will also be sending out a variety of new, never before seen recipes, but to smaller groups. That is, not everyone will get every recipe or even the same recipe, but everyone will get recipes to test. This way, we can re-test every recipe in the book and continue tweaking them. Many follow the same basic method, with different ingredient combinations, while others are totally different. I also have some gluten-free recipes that will need testing, more "Old World" dense breads with our simplified mash, and even some cracker and flat bread recipes. I also have revised the wild yeast starter technique to create a mother starter at the correct hydration level. Veteran testers, please do not discard your already existing starters. You can continue to use them and, if you want to, can try the new method as well. Only when you have a new, healthy starter should you consider replacing your original (or keep them both). My goal is to not overload you with lots of starters--a small amount of "mother starter" is all you will need to keep, from which you can build it up as needed, when needed.
All of these improvements are a direct result of the great feed back I've received from so many of you.
So, if you are not on the testers list, please write in from the e-address to which you want me to send the test recipes, and I will add you to the address list. If you are already on the list, don't worry, I will send you more recipes to test soon and, probably, a revised questionairre, again thanks to some your suggestions. I will not be sending any recipes out, however, for the next few weeks. I have to first finish the text so I can send it to the publisher by September 1st. So, don't worry if you don't hear from me till the end of August. We have a lot of testing still to do.
For those wishing to come off the tester list, only write if you have not participated at all. I want to be sure to acknowledge all who have tested, even if it was just once, so I will continue to send you recipes and you can ignore them if you don't want to test them; this way you can still re-enter the process and will still be listed in the book.
After I send you a new recipe to test, feel free to write back after you've tested it and request a particular bread, such as gluten-free or "Old World, multi-grain, cracker, etc. for your next round. That way, if the first one is not too interesting, at least you'll get to do some that you really want. I will try to send out a list of all the recipes once we enter this next round, so you can request a particular one to test. There will be over 50. This leaves about 1,000 recipes that will not be in the book--there are just so many wonderful breads that I hated leaving them out, but these 50 will represent pretty much every category and can be modified to match a bread that has been left out. Many breads, as I read up on them and their history, are so similar to others that the major difference is the name, shape, or place of origin, not the ingredients. A few raisins here or there, an almond instead of a walnut, buckwheat instead of rye--they're are an infinite number of variations, just as there are in beer making, where a few degrees difference, or a few ounces difference or type of hops, can create an entirely different, even weird flavor. Thank goodness bread gives us a little more wiggle room than beer--subtle differences can be masked by flour much easier than they can by liquid wort. But that's a whole other kettle of mash....(Forgive this beer talk; I had a great tour of our local micro-brewery, Rock Bottom, two weeks ago and my head is still spinning--not from the beer, of which I was a conservative but happy sipper, but from all the attention to detail and science I learned. The wonderful analogy that beer is liquid bread has been helpful as I explored some of the theories behind the dough method in this book. As we get close to deadline, I'm getting more and more excited. Thank you, again, testers and non-tester blog readers. It's been an amazing journey....
May Your Bread Always Rise (except your crackers)!