This is the last tip and insight in this ten-part series revolving consistency in baking results. Mainly it’s been about the Country style sourdough loaf baking, but I’ve also touched the sweet buns (bullar), pizza and hamburger buns. This final, and to me most important, insight is true to all types of baked goods. No matter how many courses you attend or how many books you read, you will always need to connect with the dough physically to gain wisdom and develop.
To get a sense of what’s feeling right and what’s feeling wrong – Get in there deep and battle a possible freight of stickiness. With every dough you handle, and every bake it leads up to, you and your hands have an opportunity to learn.
So, what does this mean practically? I’m talking about letting your mixer have a well-earned vacation, and use your hands to mix all the ingredients. I’m an advocate for small portions of leavening sources to let time do its work – using hands on folding of the dough at regular intervals to feel the evolution. It’s the friction, lightness, stickiness and density of the dough at the shaping phase compared to last week. How the dough responds to the touch of your hand after a second rise, cold or warm.
This “Bakers Sense” comes from experience. Keep on baking and exploring and you’re due to the sense eventually. Until then, if not already there, I’m really glad you’re tagging along with me in my exploration and attempts to describe how I experience baking.
Below you’ll find some videos showing part of the process where this connection is made, if aware!