The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings from the Catskill Mountains

mountaindog's picture

Greetings from the Catskill Mountains

Hi All - I stumbled upon this site from Peter Reinhart's site to check out the stir about the NYT no-knead bread and found so many interesting things I decided to join.

I live in Phoenicia, NY in the heart of the Catskill High Peaks and Forest Preserve just west of Woodstock, and have been making a very limited variety of European-style hearth breads for about 15 years. My Dad used to make bread every Saturday morning when I was growing up, so I always had an appreciation for good bread. Also, my husband is from France - we travel there quite frequently, and nothing is more important to a Frenchman than the holy trinity of bread, wine, and cheese ;-)

I also to happen to be lucky enough to live right down the road apiece from Dan Leader's primary Bread Alone Bakery in Boiceville, NY for those of you familiar with his book - I pass it every morning on my way to work - a great local resource for the times of year I don't have time to bake due to the garden keeping me busy, the pain au levain and miche are my favorites.

I love seeing photos of what different people are experimenting with on their blog pages and look forward to learning a lot, especially more specifics about the influence of flours, protein levels, ash levels, wheat varieties. I started reading Reinhart's BBA last year, got really busy, didn't finish, and am now eagerly re-reading it again with pleasure and looking forward to trying the techniques.

Books I have used include the Il Fornaio Baking Book, the various King Arthur books, the Bread Alone book, BBA, and a very tattered copy of the Tassajara Bread Book that belonged to my Dad and which I still love. The Il Fornaio book got me started on lean breads. I had been working in Palo Alto, CA back in '92 or so and loved the Il Fornaio bakery and restaurant there - I had never seen bread like that outside of Europe before, and the book has a great recipe for Pan Marino (rosemary bread) made with a biga.

Cheers, --Terry

HUGO's picture

HI Terry,
You bring back old memories.  In the early 60s I was in the U.S. NAVY.   Many times we would pull into the RIVERIA for a few days R&R.   I became addicted to french bread.  Those long long slender loaves.  I also enjoyed the French ham and ''mustard''.   After many days at sea, pulling into FRANCE, the bread was really somthing to look forward to.    One Christmas we pulled into ''CORSICA''!   It was a feast.  French bread dunked into a Corsican seafood stew!!!!!!   A few years later I was stationed in MOROCCO!  There was a bakery in KANETRA French owned with MOROCCAN labor.  The bread had a darker crumb due to inferior flour.  However it was every bit as good.  Yummy.  I also can close my eyes and see 2 lovers riding down the street with a long loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a smile riding a motor bike or a Vespa scooter.

I am ITALIAN by blood but I must admit, the French have evoloved bread to it's highest level.