Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?

As part of the Modernist Bread Crumbs podcast series, Heritage Radio Network has been offering a series of baking tips. Today’s is “How to sift flour“. It contains this priceless gem:

One thing to note, as well, is that sifted flour weighs significantly less than unsifted flour, so you may be putting in the wrong amount if you are not sifting carefully.

Daft, at least to me. And true only if you are attempting to weigh, say, a cup of flour. Why would you even bother to do that? Oh yes, because your forebears did it and all your recipes continue to do it and you don’t actually have a decent scale.

I suggest you ask Santa nicely.

You may still want to sift your flour for some recipes, but at least you won’t have to worry about how much it weighs.

Come and learn how to use a century-old Tuscan sourdough starter to make delicious bread. Leave with a loaf of fresh bread, starter of your own, and a better understanding of traditional bread-making and the skills to match.

While your bread is rising, we’ll talk about everything from grains and milling to the future of bread.

Saturday, December 16th: Basic Sourdough

Sold out; there is a waiting list.

A step-by-step, hands-on workshop will end with you making a crusty sourdough loaf. I will explain each step of the process and give you the confidence to bake a beautiful loaf of bread. No experience needed.

Sunday, December 17th: Ciabatta and Rye

Change of plans; this will be another beginner course, focused on a multigrain seeded loaf.

Building on your bread-baking experience, this workshop will specifically address how to make an Italian ciabatta and sourdough rye bread.

Each workshop will last from 9AM to approximately 4PM.

Cost per workshop: $100, which includes snacks, a light lunch, and wine. At the end of the workshop, you will take home your own jar of sourdough starter, a freshly baked loaf of bread, and a booklet with instructions and recipes.

For details, contact our gracious host, Jennifer Wilkin Penick.

Apparently it is Real Bread Week. For me, that’s no different from every other week. But to celebrate I embarked, last night, on a repeat of “that dark sour bread” I first tried about a year ago. This time, the whole rye berries are, I hope, softening a bit in the Thermos. It’s a long process, and there probably won’t be too much to see for at least another 24 hours, maybe 36. Still within the week though.

Not everyone is lucky enough to work at home, with the freedom to attend to starters, leavens and dough according to their needs. Here’s an article that goes into huge detail about how to be a better weekend baker.

The one thing I’m thinking of changing in my own schedule is to add one more build after taking my starter out of the fridge. Maybe it will produce a more active leaven.

Black Pepper Rye

Dan Lepard’s Black Pepper Rye first swam into my consciousness in 2009, and I wrote about it shortly afterwards. It swam back into my consciousness a couple of days ago, and I realised I had never shared the recipe here. I’ve also adapted it a bit.

The method has an unusual twist that is actually not all that uncommon for rye breads. You boil the rye with the liquid, or pour hot liquid onto the rye, or …

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