The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

February 2013

  • Pin It
ananda's picture
ananda

February 2013

Some of you will be aware that I am currently working as a contract baker for Dunbar Community Bakery, covering 4 nights of breadbaking each week.   I began this assignment in early January, and it is set to run until at least the end of March.   I am continuing to sell at 3 Farmers' Markets every month in addition to this contract work.

This is a demanding schedule, however, at New Year, Alison and I resolved that we would continue to work as hard as ever, and push the boundaries, in order that we could afford to fund more in the way of holiday time for us to enjoy.   We consider this as more than essential recuperation time, and having just enjoyed 4 days of wall-to-wall sunshine in the far North West of Scotland, we feel totally vindicated in our chosen work strategy.    Our home in Northumberland, UK might be considered by many to be far into the Northern hemisphere, and not noted for kindly weather.   Our holiday base is some 300+ miles further north than where we live, and yet I hung about in shorts for much of our time.   You can see all the photos on my flickr site, here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24731237@N03/sets/72157632818927609/   There are a lot of photos; here is a taste of what we enjoyed:

 

In order to try and relate this blog entry to bread, in some kind of way, we enjoyed the most fantastic sandwiches for lunch on our daily walks, made with a Sourdough Seed Bread which I took along.   Yes, I had a real holiday, and didn't make any bread at all during our time away!

 

After a long journey back on Wednesday, I enjoyed a good day of baking yesterday, and a sell-out day today at Alnwick Farmers' Market.   In the meantime, my colleague Nigel has been working hard on production, and I am all-set to go to Hexham to sell our wares tomorrow.

Then it's back to Dunbar.   But we have 2 weeks' holiday in Crete to look forward to at the start of April.   Back to Anatolika, the Beach House with the wood-fired oven where we stayed a couple of years ago.   How we are looking forward to that!

Very best wishes to you all

Andy

Comments

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

I'll take a slice with a wee dram please.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Cheers,

Wingnut

ananda's picture
ananda

Sharing good whisky and bread is cool; but I don't do fighting really Wingnut!

Many thanks for your kind comment

Best wishes

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Stunning pics Andy,

So good to hear you are healthy, happy and hard at work ...

Bring on the holidays!

Cheers,
Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

From you, Phil, that is a real compliment; however, it should be directed to Alison, not me!

And with the weather as it was, we were really blessed.   There is nowhere on earth like NW Scotland, truly!

But, we love Crete too, and you are right, that holiday isn't far away at all.

Very best wishes to you

Andy

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

vacation you take and have planned, I'm surprised you have time to bake at all :-)  I used to think baking was a young mans game but with all the YouTube videos of older women and men still baking every day the old way, I'm beginning to think that you have to be old like me!  Love your story and pictures and am glad you are selling out too.   That has to help - with that dram of course.  Keep working at it, stay happy .....and sanity will be yours - at least when you are on vacation!

Bake On!

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello DAB, and thank you, as ever for your generous words.

I believe I am neither young nor old; but I always have time to bake.

Best wishes

Andy

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

My wife and I will make a 2-week trip through parts of Scotland and Ireland this summer, so it's nice to see a hint of what we might enjoy.

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Paul,

I hope so much that you enjoy your trip to these shores, and that the weather is kind to you.   That's no certainty, but there is much beauty to be found here, come rain or shine.

It's always very good to hear from you

Best wishes

Andy

Wingnut's picture
Wingnut

Beware of the ghat flies PMcCool, murder.

Cheers,

Wingnut

ananda's picture
ananda

they are known as midges, or "wee beasties" over here....and I am afraid they can make life extremely unpleasant indeed.

A

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

We'll be sure to pack some insect repellant, then.  Having grown up in northern Michigan with mosquitos, deer flies, and (further north) black flies, I'm probably better acquainted with the concept than I want to be.  :-)

Paul

ananda's picture
ananda
PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

That's as bad as the gear I had to wear while working with my bees, years ago!

Paul

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Sounds like you've got your hands full, Andy.  Thanks for sharing the photos and take care of yourself.

Best,

-Floyd

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Floyd,

It's a pleasure to share higher quality photos than normal; thanks go to Alison for that, as noted.

We keep busy as always; the best way to be

Good to hear from you Floyd, thank you for your kind words

All good wishes

Andy

Nici's picture
Nici

I did not realise you were baking at Dunbar.  I will try and get over there soon to buy some of your bread.  I am glad things are going well for you and Alison.  Cheers Nici

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Nici,

I'm in Dunbar Sunday night through to Thursday morning, now to the end of March at least.   I'll buy you a coffee if it's possible to meet up...and Ross makes some of the finest patisserie you'll find in Scotland.

Take good care

Andy

varda's picture
varda

from a two day class with Jeffrey Hamelman.  Your pictures are lovely and must reflect the relaxing time you had way up in the north country.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello Varda,

Many thanks for your ever generous comments.

I am sure I am not alone in hoping for some detailed reports on the Rye Bread course with Jeffrey Hamelman.   Afterall there were numerous "loafers" attending.   You must have had such a good time!

All good wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

A well earned vacation, Andy.

Beautiful sourdough seed bread BTW!

Best of wishes to you, and Alison.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello Khalid,

Many thanks for your compliments on the bread and your good wishes; it's really good to hear from you.

Take good care

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

The northwest part of Scotland is my favourite place on the British Isle! You're very lucky you were blessed with wall-to-wall sunshine there, especially in this season!

Your breads look great, too, with lovely crumb, perhaps a little more open than your usual crumb structure?

Good luck with all those intensive schedules and take care of yourself. ;)

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi lumos,

how good to hear from you and hear you share our appreciation for this part of the world.   The weather is better than some may expect, in general.   However, you are quite right; what we enjoyed was truly exceptional.

Many thanks for your compliments on the bread.   It is 50% wholewheat and 50% white flour...but I need to use the Marriage's Organic Strong flours in the formula.   It is 25% seeds on flour!   Crumb structure is actually what I usually achieve for this bread: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/27677/sourdough-seed-bread-leinsamenbrot-roasted-almond-and-raisin-bread   although it's no 100% rye bread, for sure.

All good wishes

Andy

davidg618's picture
davidg618

You and Alison must be charmed!

Working for the Royal Navy, I've memories of being tied to a pier in Fairlie for a week of constant rain and wind, and the weather at sea too rough to sail away. To be fair, I also have memories of a mid-summer week in Sterling that was beautiful. We ate take-away in the park for dinner twice just to enjoy the weather.

I'm a bit envious.

Warm Regards,

David G

ananda's picture
ananda

You may be right David,

I've been spending time in the Scottish Highlands since 1990...a lot of time, too.   So, I have endured all kinds of weather up there.

Maybe it's Alison's influence, as the most recent trips have always offered at least some good weather, and some of it totally exceptional.

BUT, you have to go there and accept whatever the weather chooses, and make the best of it.   If you get lucky, like we did, that is one huge bonus, of course!

Very best wishes to you

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

Nothing like a bit of sunshine to chase away the winter blahs is there? It looks like you and Alison managed to arrive at exactly the right time to make the most of it, good on you. Please convey my compliments to Alison on her beautiful photography of the Scottish countryside, truly breathtaking scenery that I hope to see for myself some day. My compliments to you as well on your Sourdough Seed bread, it looks fantastic... and that nice 10 year old Jura doesn't look too bad either!

Cheers Andy, all the best.

Franko 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko, and thank you very much for your always-geneorus words.

I have to admit that the whisky only just outlasted the bread; and by a matter of just a few hours.   It was quite an easy-drinking single malt actually...just a splash of water required.

I hope you get to see the Highlands too, and that the weather is favourable for you when you do.

All good wishes

Andy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Andy,
So glad you enjoyed wonderful, sunny weather during your time in Scotland!, and hope you have a lovely holiday in Crete as well.
Thank you for sharing photos from a most beautiful part of the world!
:^) breadsong

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Breadsong,

Lovely to hear from you as always.   It's good to share photographs which really convey how wonderful the Scottish Highlands are

All good wishes

Andy