Thought this should be posted, interesting philosophies and ideas...what you guys think?
He has some ideas that are sound. Scratch is the best way to go, it's worth the extra effort, appreciation of food isn't taught well enough anymore. But his whole idea of 'branding' and that his breads aren't for everyone? Makes him sound somewhat pretentious and egotistical. The fact that he talks about his stuff as product and goes on and on about how only a connoisseur could really appreciate his bread irks me to no end. Bread *should* be for everyone. It's the staff of life for crying out loud. The entire idea behind the artisan food movement, and the slow food movement for that matter, is to educate the people who *don't* know about this stuff.
It just rubs me the wrong way. He sounds passionate about what he does, and I can readily admit that things would be a lot better with regard to food in general if more people had that type of furvor for what they're doing, but some of the stuff that he's saying makes him come off in a way that doesn't reflect in a pleasant way on what he's doing.
I'm trying to get what I'm saying to come out in a non-harsh way. I don't think I'm succeeding. Bah.
I do sense an overtone of pretense, but I totally understand how certain products can be for everyone. This occurs more when you arrive the the most basic things like for instance...bread. We all have our different definitions and limitations and what we define bread as. A great example is me and my girlfriend's ideal bread. I havent had commercial bread in months. I bake two tartine inspired loaves a week to sustain me. My girl friend on the other hand cringes at the sight of a Thick, dark, crisp, crust and open, light, moist crumbs. even baguettes at panera are too much. She appreciates my bread and understands it, but just has no desire to eat it, and I think a lot of people are like this, those who like the Rainbow bread. These are the people I think he is talking about, though I do think you dont need to be a conissuer, but having a base knowledge of bread and what it is your looking for does help with appreciation.
A very dark crust turns me off as well, but does that mean I can't appreciate the complexity of that particular type of bread? No. I bake artisan-style loaves and...strange as it is...take them out at the perfect time for me. That perfect time is when the crust reaches a medium golden brown, not a dark one as is preferred by some people.
Obviously all bread wouldn't be for everyone. What he seems to be saying there is that nothing he makes is for the 'lay man'. It's all for the super-elite. Or that's how it comes across, whether he wants it to or not.
The real point is that what he's saying in that video can come across as arrogant and elitist. That's probably not his intention, but we'd need him here to actually clarify.
I went to the SCRATCH website before I listened to the video. I think there you can see what he is talking about on the issue of his breads not being for everyone. One of his breads is aged a week. He says he calls it "loaf fermented". I don't know from that whether he means that it is aged before or after baking, but either way I think it is fair to say that not everyone would like it. Another thing is that the website is a very in-your-face kind of marketing. He is selling to the youth and young adults of New York City, and it shows. Compared to the website, the video comes across as tame and sincere. I suspect he really is sincere in his desire to teach hipsters, or whatever they call themselves these days, to value good quality food and not just wolf down calories as he did in his youth. I wish him luck. It's got to be a better approach to making people healthier than trying to pass laws about how much salt people can put on their own food.
Stephanie - I do understand what you're saying... I find it interesting that the poster joined TFL only to help ScratchBread market himself.
prattle on about his movement made me so much more appreciative of bakers I can relate to, like Rheinhart and Chad Robertson et. al.
I have lurked tfl for a long time...Im a pretty active memeber of pizzamaking.com. I saw this clip and wanted to know what other people would think. Posting this on pizzamaking would seem out of place. I figured this would be the crowd. I am not from ny, but ky and bake bread twice a week, mainly sourdough loaves/boules with various mix-ins. If you would like I could post some pics of my stuff...so to rid everyone the thought of me being a guerilla marketer for scratchbread.
why do you feel you relate to chad or peter more so?
Reinhart is easy to admire because he's so enthusiastic and knowledgable. His Ted lecture is worth watching - he's like a little kid. The fact that he's such a prodigous author, works closely with test bakers (some of whom frequent this site), and still teaches at J & W shows the extent of his commitment. But at the end of the day he's just a likable teacher with some great recipes, from beginner to expert.
Chad Robertson, on the other hand, evolved as a baker in a very natural and open minded way. As Tartine Bread details, he ultimately discovered the kind of bread he wanted to make, learned from master bakers in France. His cookbook, which is wonderful, translates his hardwork as a student of bread in the kind of surfer zen style which feels totally inclusive and honest.
The ScratchBread guy seems to be making some good bread but that alone is not unique. Just check out some of the galleries on this site and you'll see exactly what I mean. Provided he realizes how egalitarian and universal bread baking really is, he'll do just fine.
I think the ScratchBread guy is speaking with the fervor of someone who had a problem with eating too much, which started in childhood. He mentions this at the beginning of the video. One of the things they teach you in classes for habitual over-eating is to respect the food you eat. That means not shovelling into your mouth anything you can lay hands on, but being choosy about the source of your calories. I feel that is the source of his apparent eliteism. Also, he is trying to convince people, who might never have thought of food as anything other than what is promoted through advertising glitz on TV, that eating food like he is making will make them feel elite also (sexier comes up a lot). His part of the movement is baking good bread, but the entire movement is for all kinds of good homemade foods. Here is how he says it on his website.
"My intentions are basically to enhance a common set of ideals shared through food. This means food that is approachable, yet sophisticated, plain and simple and most importantly, absolutely delicious.
I’m not breakin the mold by making good food from SCRATCH… But hopefully I can throw a few logs on the fire that will eventually wipe out all the crap the big corporations put in food."
So you see, he is not claiming that he invented home-baking, but only trying to promote the eating of good quality, homemade, food specifically to the people of New York City. No where in there is he trying to sell a book or cooking lessons. He is only trying to sell a lifestyle, and incidentally, some baked goods in support of that lifestyle.
And no, I don't live there either and I never heard of the man until I read this thread. :)