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Sourdough Myths and Folklore
Clearing up some common mythconceptions

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Saturday May 26, 2007
Some more reflections on Camp Bread 

I never finished the blog entries for May 23, 22, and 21. I'm updating them today, and adding some pictures to the blog. I hope you will enjoy it. Expect more changes over the next few days.

First a few ironic observations about the hotel we stayed in, the Embassy Suites. The Embassy Suites on Gateway in San Francisco advertises itself on its web page as San Francisco's Gay/Lesbian headquarters. That seems like a rather big boast, but OK, whatever. While we were staying there, the Sonoma Moms had a convention there. One of their sessions was titled, "Raising G-rated children in an X-rated world." I have to assume that the Sonoma Moms hadn't seen the hotel's web page. Also, when we checked in, we noticed that there was a placard at the check-in desk that advised that the hotel would not tolerate parties. And, as a result, they will not allow more than 4 people in a room with a king sized bed. Or 6 people in a room with double beds. I don't know... 4 people in a king sized bed sounds like someone is having a party. I hesitate to think what made these policies necessary, or why they were considered adequate. My wife often tells me that I just don't understand the obvious.

And now, back to baking. One of the things that surprises me is how expert, world-class, bakers have totally opposite opinions. Both of the bakers I am referring to were Team USA Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie competitors in the bread/baguette class. One of these bakers assured us that the different types of yeast - fresh, active dry or instant - were the same within a companies product line, and that they would produce similar results, though the number of dead yeast cells in active dry yeast would increase the extensibility of doughs. Another world-class baker commented that he just didn't like dried yeast, he ONLY used fresh yeast, that the results with dry yeast just wasn't as good. Is it any wonder that ordinary bakers are, at times, confused, when world-class bakers can't agree on what seems like basics?

My only regret about Camp Bread is I didn't have a real chance to thank a number of people who have been important to me. Two that come to mind right away are Abe Faber who has given me endless good advice over the years, and did a great job as the camp director. Also, Craig Ponsford has saved my cookies a number of times over the years.

A final post Camp Bread note. I was quite worried - four days of eating well but not wisely. I was afraid to get back on the bathroom scales when I got home. Finally, I worked up the nerve - I didn't gain any weight on the trip! WHEW!

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