Let it Ferment

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If you want to make bread like the best in the world, like the artisans, you only need 5 ingredients.  You need some kind of yeast starter, flour, water, and salt.  If you find the best source for each of these and mix them together in the right ratios and then bake it, you will end up with a brick that has no flavor. Why?  Because you forgot the one ingredient that is responsible for bringing about the characteristics that we look for in a good loaf of bread.  Time.  The dough needs time to develop and rise.  You’ll need to turn it, possibly knead it, and form it to get results that are worth paying attention to, but mostly you must give it time.  That gives the yeast a chance to work its magic.  You will discover complex flavor that you didn’t expect.  Oh, the magic of fermentation.  I have it to thank for a few of my favorite things.

There’s a lesson here that applies to anything you may want to make that you’re hoping will be worth talking about. Its not enough to gather all the right ingredients and put them together.  If you want to discover all the nuance and magic that lies in your recipe you’ve got to give it time.  You’ll need to interact with it, help it along, and make sure you provide ideal conditions, but it will take time.

So, if you’ve put it all together and it’s not what you hoped, don’t get too discouraged… yet.  Let it ferment and look for the unexpected character to emerge.  Be patient.  It’s part design and part discovery.