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Did you know Mike sends out a newsletter (almost) every week? It's filled with news about bread or whatever Mike is excited about this time. It's "Mike's (more or less) Weekly Baking Tips"!

Mike's Bread Blog, 2019

A change of plans. For some time all my blog content has been going into "Mike's (more or less) Weekly Baking Tips" when they should have been going here. So, now, we're changing that. Our tips, hopefully more weekly than not, will be here. The newsletter will continue, largely with teasers pointing to ths current blog page. And with that out of the way, let the blog times roll!

2019-05-19 - The Epi Dysfunction - is it water? Or is it not? Can I stay, or should I go now?

Two weeks ago, I did the unthinkable. I left the newsletter at a cliffhanger. And then I compounded that sin by posting an unrelated article the next week. Let's see if we can bring this ship into port today.

To summarize, after we moved from the mountains of Colorado to the lowlands of Texas, I had trouble making bread. The dough would slump. With lots of work, the dough could stiffen up, but as soon as we stopped sweet talking it, as soon as we stopped whispering sweet nothings in its ear, as soon as we stopped stroking it's fragile ego, it would slump. Boules? No way! Batards? Not on our watch! Baguettes? No, they also went to slump city. Pan breads? Yeah, but - the surface of the dough was not well developed. It was like I'd developed an epi dysfunction!

What changed when we moved? While altitude can be frustrating, that is usually for people who go from low to high altitudes. I've baked at low altitudes in the past - I have baked successfully in Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, Galveston, Houston, Huntsville, Pasadena (Tx) and San Francisco in the past.

Was it a matter of skill? I'm the same baker as before, and we ran a bakery that made darned good products, so it isn't a lack of skill. Or is it? To see the rest of this exciting saga, click here.

2019-05-12 - An apology and a long post about bagels!

Saturday May 11 (yesterday), we had a BagelMania class. This is one of my favorite classes, and may be my favorite food event, second only to Thanksgiving - it revolves around bagels and a bagel party with a host of flavored cream cheeses. If you've never made flavored cream cheese, you should! Easy, cheaper and WAY better than the stuff in the grocery store. We're thinking of doing a video on the topic for The New Burgundians, another of our food focused web sites.

After class, we send students home with dough that they should retard overnight, and then finish off the next morning by boiling and baking. Only.... Larry, one of our students, reported it just didn't work right for him. The dough didn't rise and the bagels didn't float in the boil. That's not good! Click to read more....

2019-05-05 - In Which Mike Battles Classic Epi Dysfunction

When we moved from Colorado to Texas, my bread making success ratio plummeted. I'd knead the dough, I'd shape the dough, and instead of standing tall and proud, it slumped. The only real option for many breads was to make them in bread pans. While I have nothing against bread pans, I also want to make baguettes, batards, boules, epis and even a fougasse or two.

But, no matter how I teased the dough, it wouldn't stand up for me. I was looking, I often joked, for dough Viagra. And that just wasn't happening.

So, we began a multi year search for what the heck was going on with our dough. Click to read more....

2019-04-26 - Where Does Bread Flavor Come From? Peter Reinhart tells us that the oven only contributes about 10% of the bread's flavor. There are some issues with that idea. First, how you measure flavor? And, we sure spend a lot of time obsessing over ovens. My view is a poorly used oven can detract much more than that when someone under bakes a loaf. So, where's the base line for the 10% number? Still, some flavor does come from the caramelization of the crust. Other people say that 90% of bread's flavor is in the crust. Again, how do you measure flavor? Click to read more....