So I'm between bakeries again. This is, I guess, my opportunity to lead a normal life for a while. Now I go to bed at a civilised time (that means AFTER 9.30 for a baker) and get up AFTER the sun. I can feel my body starting to recover from this past 18 months of craziness. I've discovered a whole bunch of new physical ailments, hidden beneath the surface layer of wear and tear. Why do I do this to myself?
After a week of no decent bread, I know why.
I've been chasing down all the local sourdough breads, as well as some supermarket 'artisan' breads like pane de casa etc. I haven't had to do this for a while now - and now that I have, I'm feeling a bit depressed. All these supermarket artisan breads have no substance, no character, no presence. They are just an illusion, an appearance of goodness that isn't met by the reality when eaten.
I can't get no satisfaction!
I can't get no nourishment!
(Sorry Keith and Mick...but I do know how you feel..)
The sourdoughs, though, were better - just not mine!
I cooked risotto the other night. The next night, pasta. Then noodles. The result? Boredom. I just want a diabolical crust, a bit of flavour, some character and excitement for my evening meal. These carbs just don't do anything for me at the moment.
Bread, when it's made properly, transcends the mundane, and lifts the soul to another level.
It's taken me two decades to get it right.
The secret? It's contained in the previous sentence. But to unpack it a little, there are a number of important things - like Bertha, the 2 tonne woodfired oven. There's the 21 years of sourdough culture, known affectionately as Papa, that I've been lugging around from bakehouse to bakehouse for that whole time. There's at least 36 hours more time in the dough that's made from Papa. When we have all these things in place, it comes down to technique - and those who have done my classes or who I've trained over the years will tell you there is a bit more to it than meets the eye. 'Nuff said.
So I am still on a mission, I guess. I don't want to be the only person who can make decent bread, and I don't want people to forget what decent bread is.
I've got to find a way to do this cost effectively, so that you can have great bread, and I can have a life. And I have an idea as to how to do this. It's the 'What's next' bit of the title...but I'm gonna keep you in suspense until next post.
There will be a 'next', and I'm hoping you will support it. Stay tuned!