How One Woman Became Obsessed With Baking Bread

We step into the home kitchen of Laura Wolfgang to see how she went from not baking at all to scheduling her week around bread in a matter of months.

Released on 9/9/2016

Transcript

00:10
I like to wake up early in the morning
00:12
while my boyfriend's still asleep,
00:14
everything around me is still quiet.
00:17
This daily activity has become such a
00:20
regular part of my life that I'm constantly
00:22
thinking about bread even if I'm not planning
00:24
to bake a loaf.
00:26
It has embedded itself into my daily routine
00:28
in a really nice way.
00:30
It all stemmed from binge-watching
00:32
Michael Pollen's documentary series Cooked.
00:35
There's an episode that's dedicated entirely
00:37
to naturally-leavened bread.
00:39
While the bread episode was still playing
00:41
I messaged a friend of mine who I knew made sourdough,
00:44
and I asked him if he could share
00:45
some of his starter with me.
00:46
Within a couple of weeks I was baking my own bread.
00:51
The starter is really just a combination of flour and water
00:54
through wild yeast and bacteria that it collects
00:57
both from the air and the hands of the baker.
01:00
Bacteria in the starter breaks down
01:02
the carbohydrates into simple sugars
01:04
that then feed the wild yeast.
01:08
Then it uses all of that fuel
01:10
and you wanna discard that fuel and provide it with new fuel
01:13
which is fresh water and fresh flour.
01:18
I think that in order to get into making bread this way,
01:22
you kinda have to get into it.
01:25
If you're making it regularly
01:26
it just becomes a part of your life.
01:29
I really didn't understand the wild differences
01:32
between supermarket bread and high quality sourdough
01:35
or you know, what you would find at bakeries.
01:37
I realize the stuff that I was buying at supermarkets
01:40
bore very little resemblance to how
01:42
bread had been made for thousands of years.
01:43
It has gone from being simple three ingredients
01:46
of flour, water, little bit of salt,
01:48
and some wild yeast and bacteria from the air,
01:50
to something that was between 30 and 40 ingredients
01:53
and could last for weeks on your shelf.
01:58
One of the things I enjoy most about making bread
02:00
is actually handling the dough.
02:03
I feel like I'm still very early in my sourdough journey.
02:06
I try to take notes and I try to capture all
02:08
of the differences from loaf to loaf.
02:11
Even though I don't know intuitively yet
02:13
how to read the dough,
02:14
I'm hoping that by writing all of this down
02:17
I can make sense of it later.
02:19
Most of what's written in my notebook
02:20
is not how much of any ingredient goes into it.
02:23
It's schedules.
02:25
Time is as much an ingredient in sourdough
02:28
as the flour and the water and the salt.
02:32
I don't have a large enough cutting board
02:34
so I kind of like, maneuver two.
02:35
Home cook realness for you.
02:38
I am sad that people are so intimidated by bread.
02:42
People are especially intimidated by how
02:44
these recipes are written.
02:45
You know, five, ten pages of text
02:47
just on how to make a single loaf of bread.
02:50
Sprinkled in there are specific details
02:52
that you need to take away in order to make that bread,
02:55
and you come away with this vocabulary
02:57
and this arsenal of techniques that you can
02:59
apply to any type of bread recipe.
03:04
I've gotten to the point where I make more bread
03:06
than I can realistically eat,
03:07
so I've taken to giving a lot of it away.
03:10
My boyfriend is the primary beneficiary of my breadmaking.
03:14
The outcome for me is to see it come out of the oven
03:17
and to gauge what went right, what went wrong.
03:20
Eating it's just a bonus.
03:24
I would hate for the outcome of this conversation
03:27
to be that this looks like a super involved
03:30
really difficult thing to accomplish,
03:32
when in fact it's incredibly accessible
03:35
with a few tools that benefit your kitchen anyway
03:39
and a little bit of time anyone can do it.
03:42
And I'm not even like a great cook
03:44
(laughing)
03:45
or baker.