My wife, Alison, often asks me why, when I spend most of my time sawing and cutting wood square, can I not cut bread square. We like to eat home made bread in our house and I have to plead guilty to making the cut look like the above when we get to the end of the loaf.
Anyone who has been on my beginners course will know it’s not that simple! First you have to plane a face side and face edge on the piece then mark the line square with a marking knife and chamfer down to the line with a chisel. Then we are ready for the cut, remembering to keep the saw arm in line with the saw and the eyes over the saw. All this is quite tricky on a loaf of bread, which is why I can’t cut bread straight.On the February beginners course the discussion got round to bread making. We had Nick on the course, he’s about as fanatical about his bread making as I am about my furniture making. In our house bread making consists of slopping flour, water and yeast together then bashing it around till it feels springy then leaving it to rise and forgetting about it so the dough climbs over the side of the bowl. Nick has a much more precise approach. This consists of mixing a preferment the day before and being very precise in mixing and kneading over an extended period. I tried out his recipe over the weekend, it took almost a weekend to do it! But I must admit that the consistency and flavour was much better than our usual bashed up bread. I think it will get even better because I suspect out yeast was getting a bit past it.
This is what I like about teaching. Although I’m the teacher I can still learn from my students, be it a new light on a woodworking technique or a new approach to bread making.
If anyone would like Nick’s bread recipe let me know and I’ll send it to you.
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