Next steps in breadmaking

I’ve had this dream for a long time about baking really good bread from grain I grew. I finally decided to make this happen, and I decided the best way to do that was to start at the “end” and work backward, so each step would be manageable. (What can I say; it’s the instructional designer side of me coming out. I know how to sequence learning tasks for maximum success…)

You’ve seen the results of the first step – making a really good loaf of bread from commercial flour. So here are the remaining steps, in order:

  • Make a great loaf of bread from grain I ground from commercial wheat berries. Experiment with differences in wheats – hard and soft. I’ve ordered a grain mill that should arrive in a couple weeks. (It also has attachments for veggies that should make homemade pickled ginger carrots a reality!)
  • Grow and thresh wheat. (I’ve already done this with rye.)
  • Make a great loaf of bread from grain I grew.
  • Make a great loaf of bread from homegrown grain on an open fire or wood-fired cookstove or oven.

The cool thing about starting with the most easily-accomplished step and iterating through the more complicated steps is that I can refine each step as I go. Just making decent bread with commercial flour took four solid days of work. But if I started off trying to make bread with grain I ground and it didn’t work, I wouldn’t have known if it was the bread recipe, my technique, the grain I used, my grain grinding technique, my grinder…horrendously more complicated. And now I’m totally jazzed for the next step, instead of feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

I highly recommend this technique to anyone trying to make a big change in their life. Start small, with an easy-to-accomplish success, get excited about it, and add another small triumph on until you reach your goal. I’d like to say this is the kind of “learning task organization” they taught in grad school, but actually, the first place I heard of it was on PBS on a show where they were talking about how they train monkeys to assist people in wheelchairs. Well, heck. We’re all primates, right? 🙂

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