Welcome to the Sourdough Home Test Labs
Maybe it's my background as a network manager. Maybe it's my recent past as a product tester and reviewer for a number of computer magazines. But, I just can't take much on faith. If you tell me a certain flour is the best flour, I have to try it. If you tell me your San Francisco Sourdough Bread recipe is awesome, I have to try it.
So, I've started doing tests. The first test is the flour test. My feeling at the outset is that I won't find a flour that is "the best". I may find a flour that is the best for a type of bread. But time will tell.
Once we run through some of the more common flours, and some of the more popular flours with hobbyist and artisan bakers, we'll move on to testing English Muffin and San Francisco Sourdough Bread recipes.
As more than one person has commented, this area seems to be kinda dead. As if no testing had been done for, well, years. And that is a correct observation. For almost two years we were starting a bakery, running a bakery, and then shutting the bakery down.
This pretty well made sure we weren't testing and reporting on tests. What little spare time we had was spent sleeping. Now we're back to other, less time consuming, pursuits. Which means we have time to enjoy baking and putzing around in the kitchen again.
We have closed the flour tests. Our feeling is that the flour tests served their purpose - they are useful to bakers. We also learned enough in the time when we were running the bakery that we feel that we need to re-design the flour tests to make them more meaningful, so if we re-start the flour tests, it will be with a different, and more rigorous, methodology.
We are gathering recipes now to embark on tests of sourdough muffin and San Francisco style sourdough breads. As we've said before, watch this space....
If you have comments, suggestions, or heckling about the flour testing, please drop me a note from the "Contact Us" page.