Baking and at the same time discovering the many facets of baking from the ingredients to the people doing the baking.
That's where my life evolve as of now and for the past 15 some years. I sound old. Not too bad considering i do really know how to bake my breads. But part of the fun is when you discover stuff you never expected such as garlic added to the dough may have helped the proofing when you made a Ciabatta. I am not saying it is proven yet but I did notice it several times already.
Or when you replaced the potatoes with the box type and get a surprising flavor you have never tasted before in a Pandesal. Or when the bread did not rise because you pureed the raisins and turns out it retards proofing....
That's baking to you. When I explain to students how difficult it is to deal with the water in the dough, i try my best not to discourage them. It is what it is. The only way to get perfect results is to keep baking and find out how fascinating yeast dough is. You discover that not all bread flours are the same.
You discover that some are just plain bad and expensive like this one brand that has been torturing me for the past 5 months. Hyped and expensive, it absorbs less water than a sack of flour that costs 90 pesos less. Duh. Annoying right?
If you want to know what that brand is and I swear to my long gone dead toenail (just kidding), this brand is sold almost everywhere so you get the feeling that this might be good stuff.
Maybe 2 years ago. Because I first noticed the reduced level of water last year. Thinking it could be a fluke, I still tried using it this year but it got worst.
Just to warn you, the French bread has to have at least 60 to 62% water. If you're bread flour fell below it's level, change the flour.
I heard Pilmico was excellent and so is Montana. Calling suppliers, can you send me samples? :)