I’m very happy to be here, but a little intimidated by the number of professional chefs populating these forums! I have more questions than answers; please be patient. I might post in the wrong forum, too. Be gentle. I’m Joel, I live in Las Vegas now, but I lived Osaka, Japan for 17 years; it considerably broadened my culinary viewpoint. I’m a self-taught cook. And I’m still learning. My current passion is bread. I was never a good baker. Breads, cakes, pies (who coined the phrase “easy as pie?” They should be shot!), all were unqualified disasters. Then I got a bread machine. It was like we were meant for each other! I haven’t had an inedible loaf once. Maybe not pretty sometimes (my shaping skills are nascent, too), but always edible, and mostly delicious. I rarely use the bread machine to bake anymore, but with my arthritis, it’s really a godsend (I have neither the space nor the money for a stand mixer. Yet.) My current course (home-schooled, of course. If I can’t afford a stand mixer, culinary school is certainly out of the question!) is baker’s percentages and ratios. I’ve got the math down okay, and I understand the general concept, but I’m having a hard time putting it to practical use. But I have some very good books, a scale, and a calculator. And the research is interesting. I guess by now, you’ve figured out my second passion is writing, lol. You can always shut me up, but again, please be kind! Dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening, but cook like everyone’s eating!