Observation #1 - It never helps to work when my eyes are barely open.
Observation #2 - It never helps to be in a rush.
Observation #3 - Despite good intentions, the words of wisdom in observations #1 and #2 are frequently ignored.
Observation #4 - I know what a good starter looks like, what a nice rising dough looks like, but not what a well-baked bread in the oven looks and feels like. Hence the occasions when breads inadequately baked have been removed from the oven. To buy one of those nifty $100 stick-it-in-the-bread thermometers or not, that is the question.
Observation #5 - For millennia, bakers did quite fine without nifty $100 stick-it-in-the-bread thermometers.
Observation #6 - Bakers also did quite well for thousands of years without lots of other stuff on my wish list, including a virtual library of bread books. Really have to join and start making use of the amazing loafonline forum and its own library of bread making information.
Observation #7 - Ancient bakers and those much closer to our own time used what we consider primitive technology to build much better bread ovens than we have with conventional home ovens.
That leads us to:
Fantasy #1 - Building or buying the bread oven. This is another expensive, but more importantly, dangerous proposition. I do not want the house to go up in flames. The neighbors might be unhappy as well if their homes went up in flames. A case, perhaps, of the fantasy being better than the reality.
Fantasy #2 -The expensive week-long bread class in Scotland.
Fantasy #3 - Baking almost every day and not just on weekends. This requires some more organization and probably more time working at home just to accommodate rising times, 30-second stretch and folds, and putting bread in the oven - all less time than a conversation. Then I would bring more fresh-baked bread to the office. It's a win-win situation.
Fantasy #4 - Hours and hours to read about bread baking.
Fantasy #5 - Hours and hours to read about bread baking, along with purchase of all of the wish list items, a fantastic bread oven, and friends and family to eat and enjoy the excellent bread. My starters would stay happy and healthy as well.
As this photograph shows, there is still space left in the baking drawer.