french batards

          the loaves of bread coming out of my oven since i started baking with patty-cake sourdough starter are the open crumb, hard crusted kind i've been trying to make for years, but failing by a long row of baguettes. the bread i was making before was good, even great at times, and i do think anything i make myself, in the heart of my own home is better than what i bring here in a shopping bag. but i just couldn't produce the character or texture of a crafted bread that comes from an artisan bakery. that is, until i took on the challenge of growing a sourdough starter, and committed to the process of traditional baking.
          don't get me wrong, i remain a humble novice at baking. i can only aspire to knead  pounds and pounds of flour into interesting shapes and textures . . . and, spend countless early-quite-solitary mornings of folding and proofing doughs while jim is still asleep, to find pretty-sculptural bread rewards at the oven door. one of the joys in baking is that there is always something new to learn about the science and artistry of mixing starter, flour, water, and love, and that's what makes it so interesting and fulfilling.

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