The Baker & The Tester Rikard Edgren

I’ve recently become addicted to baking bread. I don’t know why, but it has the same kind of magic as music and software testing; so I’ll try to make some analogies.

Results – The best bread results come when there is long fermentation time, just as when a tester can spend a long time with a product.

Content – There is no need for many ingredients to get an awesome result, but they need to be of high quality, and be handled with care (which also includes banging the dough really hard, as when proviking a crash.)

Recipes – You can follow a recipe (or a test case) and get a good result, but it will be even better if you observe the object and make modifications as the project evolves.

Best Practices – There are a lot of best practices for bread baking, and some of them are totally opposite. They are great to have as guidelines, but different bread requires different practices. You will also get your own best practices, just because that’s the best way to handle dough in your kitchen, in your project.

Tools – A way to bake the dough is needed, but apart from that your hands and mind are the only necessary tools. On the other hand, a kneading machine makes it easier, and a lame bread slasher can be handy. And you have to know when to use the tool, and when you shouldn’t.

Automation – In the shops I can buy bread made without human interference, they are edible, but don’t taste good, and are not healthy. A person that at least overlooks the process and make necessary alterations is needed for a really good bread.

People – Bread (and software) is about people; people that make’em and use them. A perfectly made bread is of no use if noone wants to eat it.

Context – Some bread are perfect for breakfast, and others taste best together with dinner, and some bread might only work with a special kind of soup. Some bread are your favorites.

Sometimes I joke and say that a tester is being really lucky when he discovers a very important defect.
But it’s just like the baker; it isn’t like he is opening the oven and saying: “look what a wonderful bread I found!”


And for your own baking: buy a proofing basket; use any recipe, but add more water and halve the yeast and double the fermentation time; feel the dough and smell the bread in the oven.

Rikard Edgren March 24th, 2009

A very easy and well-tasting Swedish bread recipe:

Kristine April 3rd, 2009

pity that i do not understand Swedish.

P.S. tnx for this blog! i am beginner and i find here a lot of useful information.