The bread? Covid 19 shrunk my clothes!

Hello to all!

Hopefully everyone is staying healthy and happy. Things here are great, although I’m a little upset. Covid 19 has shrunk all my clothes. Bahahaha!

Many of us have been cooking at home, testing new recipes with some ups and a few downs.

Cooking the same thing over and over again, with consistent results, is very challenging. It’s one of the top struggles for young apprentices to learn. Perfection only comes with lots of the right practice. How hot you make a skillet before searing a piece of halibut, how to keep a vibrant color when blanching broccoli and how long to let meat rest before cutting are just naming a few. All decisions chefs contend with can affect the final outcome of a dish in a positive or negative way.

Sourdough bread baking comes with an all new set of challenges. Some logic is easier to follow than others. This kind of flour verses that kind of flour, when to add salt to the dough, air temperature & humidity control and what kind of shortening to use, if any, are just a few topics that are and are not negotiable. LOL… Seriously! You have to have the right combination of ingredients and processes if you want bread results which are “butter worthy”. Everyone has their own little secrets.

Chefs like to change things up all the time. It’s fun to take what we know, mix it with some ideas we get from others and stir in some of our never ending dreams. We have hopes of the end results being the spectacular creation which is in our heads (at least We think it's spectacular!). It has to have the exact taste and look or we are probably not going to be happy. I sometimes think about a recipe for a long time before making it… fine tuning- you know!. This is fun part… creating. Many ingredients are expensive, so lots of thought has to go into recipe developing before recipe testing can take place.

Food stylists definitely have to know the client’s end in mind, and be able to achieve exact results very quickly because studio time can add up fast. Think about it… with an art director, prop stylist, food photographer, advertising agency rep, etc… all on the clock, things have to flow to keep costs down. As they say, time is definitely money.

When cooking at home, I may practice on foods that are not my strengths. Hopefully they will become another strength I can add to my repertoire. Lately, it’s been sourdough bread. I’ve baked literally tons of bread in my life, but only a small part has been sourdough.

Food is my passion... never stop thinking. I recently decided to study how a variety of successful bakers make their sourdough bread. I wanted to know how they handle their starter, hold their hands when shaping the dough, forecast timing, etc… My goal was to achieve an understanding of how to create the best flavors.

I’m sharing a few photos of some sourdough bread I practiced with recently. There are some imperfections, but I am getting an understanding and lots of knowledge. To master all the imperfections, it takes years of practice after you understand what you are doing. I’m pretty happy with the results, and will keep plugging away. There is one problem… I have more ideas and want to bake 10 loaves a day, but we can only eat so much bread.

By the way, the last 2 photos are not sourdough bread. One is a new style and shape of dinner roll I made sometime ago. The other is of mom. Sometimes when I'm at her house we take turns watching what the other person has up their sleeve. She usually just watches me and has nice comments. I have a lot of questions for her maybe even a few suggestions. BAHAHAHA! I can't think about a good meal without thinking of mom.

What to learn next??? Let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

God Bless! I wish everyone the best.

Enjoy!

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    Chef Nicky is an acclaimed food stylist for commercial food photography & food videos. Contact: chefnicky@chefnicky.com