The greatest thing about baking bread is the opportunity that I get every day to make a better bread than the day before. There are days when I'm very satisfied with my bake. Others, I am challenged to figure out what exactly went wrong. Sometimes it's simply that I've weighed out an ingredient incorrectly or forgotten the salt! Other times it's not so easy. Why has this bread that was so consistently good suddenly so flat or dense or have such an uneven crumb structure? With so many variables involved, the first thing I do is look over my notes including the temperature and humidity of the day. Subtle differences in flour and water temperatures as well as the type of grain and when and where it was harvested (and even the mood I'm in when shaping) all seem to play a role in the final outcome. Sometimes I end up focusing so much on how to improve one of my breads that it has the opposite effect! Then it's time to take a step back and a deep breath, reevaluate, start with the basics and often consult fellow bakers.
I have recently been working through the process (again!) with our Mischbrot (mixed bread) the German Standard. I think I am back on the right path to a better bread and hope you will agree! See you tomorrow at @athensfarmersmarket with breads, that as always, I hope are better than the last!