Saturday, February 4, 2012

Achieving A Failure

Achieving A Failure
And that's a good thing because it means I'm working and experimenting. What's the sense of finding some comfortable niche that only limits my growth as a bread baker or artist. To always succeed at something bespeaks a timid attitude. Yes, I can always bake the same loaf of bread using the same procedures, and that's what professional bakers need to do if they're selling to the public. Or, I can keep painting the same scene with slight variations, never taking any real chances, because then I might be afraid no one would want to buy my work, but what kind of a life is this?

When Dylan wrote, "there's no success like failure," he wasn't joking. And when Emerson said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," it doesn't take a quantum leap to draw a parallel with what Dylan said.
Yes, it's much more difficult for me to make a piece of art using unfamiliar colors and materials or construct an earth oven of unusual design. Sure, I might fail, but I'd prefer that to riding on a wave of certitude that will always inhibit my growth.

Today I am changing my sourdough bread formula. Day#1  Normally I use about 1/4 cup of sourdough starter for a loaf of bread. Today I stirred in a full cup of starter. I don't really know (although I think I do) what will happen, but I'll let you know the results. Day#2. The resulting bread was heavy, although filled with mouse holes, between them it was dense and very sour, not exactly my favorite.

Yes, I used too much sourdough starter, but I had to go to that place. I went there because I was asking my perennial question. What if?

P.S. I forgot to mention in my last post that I never did get an opportunity to achieve another failure in Guatemala making corn tortillas. I was simply too busy building stoves, and I didn't have time to mess with the masa harina. Just as well.


Anonymous said...

Stu,Regarding your trip down south.How long to build a stove and how many in your time frame?Any earth oven class's this year?
Thanks for a great blog!!

Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

Our crew of four was able to construct a stove in about four hours. We did a stove a day for five days. There were approximately five crews, each building a stove per day.
Hope I have the numbers about right.

I'll be teaching a bread baking and earth oven construction class on Saturday, June 2 in Waterville, Maiane