The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

It's just bread...

PiPs's picture
PiPs

It's just bread...

At the start of a new year I find I am torn somewhat. I know in my head that the 1st of January is just another day flowing in from the previous but my heart speaks to me of time spent in reflection and questioning before looking forward into the next 365 days of my life.

How do I want my world to look? How do I want to colour and decorate it?

I watched a video of the late Alan Scott online recently and it has resonated with me deeply. He talks of leaving gentle footprints and when I think of the year ahead, I think of these words. I want to bake bread for my family, friends and people who are again appreciating real bread while leaving a gentle mark.

So it turns out the first bakes for this year have not been for us at all and I wonder if this will be a trend that may continue. Through some word of mouth and enthusiastic tasters I have started baking breads for a few people and families on a regular basis.

What can be more rewarding than this?

I have struggled with what to write next and Nat reminded me of some feedback that I received today which was along the lines of “Its just bread, but its amazing bread”

For me bread is so simple but so rewarding and this is what I bake for people, simple but rewarding bread.

I have settled upon a basic Pain au Levain formula and baking routine that fits easily into my schedule while bringing great flavour.

Also my hybrid ciabatta has been taken to MkII with a bake I did for a friend of ours on the weekend. I increased the hydration and dropped the amount of handling in the bulk ferment. Very pleased with the result and I may look at posting on MkIII in the future.

 

Even though I have streamlined my baking process as much as possible I still end up with inevitable amounts of washing up. While day dreaming­ yesterday ... elbow deep in washing up water from yet another bake, I spied a feathered visitor in our backyard. He was kind enough to allow me to take his picture.

All the best for the year ahead.

Cheers,
Phil 

Comments

lumos's picture
lumos

Beautiful loaves as always, Phil.  Especially love how open the crumb of the ciabatta is.  Is it based on the recipe in Maggie Glezer's book again?  How high is the hydration?

Beautiful looking bird on your cloth dryer, too. What it's called?

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Lumos,

The ciabatta is a work in progress that I first posted about here. This version was a not terribly well documented but I would say the hydration was closer to the 90% mark and I handled the dough less during the bulk ferment. I produce it differently than the Glezer ciabatta as I use a double hydration method so I can give the dough an intensive mix and develop the gluten before adding the remainder of the water.

The bird is a kookaburra. You would recognize their call as it has been used to death on "jungle" soundtracks in movies.

Cheers,
Phil

ananda's picture
ananda

I believe we share a very similar vision for what we want our world[s] to be Phil

And your bread is as wonderful as ever....best is simplest in my view.   At least then you really can say it is "Just" bread!

Afterall, much of what is sold as bread....is it, really??

With fellow light footprints

Andy

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much Andy,

From time to time when passing the bread aisle I will stop and read through labels of plastic sealed bread. Not only does the list of ingredients leave me reeling but the sheer amount of it in just one tiny supermarket. Bread is important to me so I find it baffling when I know there can be other ways ... and then I wonder about the rest of the shelves and all the products lining them and my lack of  understanding on how they are produced ... or even where they came from. 

I hope your business plan writing is going well ... looking forward to hearing about and seeing more of your real baking.

Cheers,
Phil

varda's picture
varda

Flour, water, and salt.   It seems amazing what can come out of those simple building blocks.   Wonderful that you are baking for people who care about bread.   Your loaves are beautiful as always and you got a nice companion for the clean up.   Happy baking for 2012, and hopefully lots of it.  -Varda

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Hi Varda,

I still get a thrill watching a dough made up of those three ingredients expanding in a hot oven.
Best wishes
Phil

R.Acosta's picture
R.Acosta

I think the most pleasurable part of any skill we may possess (particularly when it comes to cooking and baking) is getting to share the products of your hard work with others.  It's hard to describe what a wonderful feeling it is, perhaps it is that you're making (a gentle) yet very tangible impression on the lives of those you choose to share with.  I know I'm probably being a bit redundant, but your post just struck a chord with me.  Keep baking taking those beautiful pictures! Happy 2012 :).

-Rachel

PiPs's picture
PiPs

I think your right Rachel,

Sharing products and having them appreciated is very satisfying ... Perhaps when we know where something comes from and the effort and skill put into it we appreciate it so much more. We received so much wonderful home baking/cooking over the Christmas period and ever bit of it was special.

 It is not an expendable and throwaway product.

Cheers,
Phil

tomcatsgirl's picture
tomcatsgirl

Wonderful post to read first thing this morning. Beautiful photos. What kind of bird is that? The feathers are amazing!

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks tomcatsgirl,

Our friendly visitor was a kookaburra. We hear them more than we see them. You would recognise their call as it has found its way onto many "jungle sound" soundtracks. Now and then they pop into our city backyard. He/she was quite patient with me and my camera.

Cheers,
Phil

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

 

Beautiful photography and lovely little wild bird.  Thanks for sharing all.

Sylvia 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much Sylvia,

All the best for the New Year ahead.

Cheers,
Phil

foodslut's picture
foodslut

... well before reading your great piece, one of the few resolutions I committed to for 2012 includes:

Share more home-made bread.

Thanks for this.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Great resolution for a new year...

Glad you enjoyed the posting.

Cheers,
Phil

Ascort's picture
Ascort

Careful Phil!!!! There is an old wives tale about those birds, that says something about when a Kookaburra hangs around your back yard someone will get pregnant. Even Google mentions it, so it must be true.

I am just about to make some bread for the week but I am sure that my results will not be as mouth watering as yours.

Keep up the great posts in 2012.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Dad,

Well he didn't hang around long ... how long does it take? :)

Hope your feeling better ... oh, we have a stollen waiting here for you guys as well.

I'm sure your bread will be great ... have you used any of the ideas in 'Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book'?

Speak soon,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Phil,

No words....one of those quiet moments of sheer appreciation - your photos.....

Had to chuckle about your bread to friends and neighbors....funny how this baking bread thing progresses into that...I do the same...As neighbors stroll by I race out to meet them and hand out my day's baking.  I have 'several' regulars and I survive by their acceptance of what I give them.....allows me to bake on a daily basis which I love to do...the organic rhythm it sets for my days is a great comfort in this otherwise hectic world....

It is amazing to me that the breads I pass out have been inspired from bakers all over the globe....diversity in an otherwise typical American suburban neighborhood :-)

Your loaves have been some of what gets distributed.

Thanks for the post!

Take Care,

Janet

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks so much Janet,

How's the snow?

I had to chuckle also when I read your comment to Andy about the borodinsky rye you made coming from Russia to England to Australia then to you in Colorado. The web sure has made the world a smaller place ... so great when it is used in this way.

Not only do we share our breads with friends and family but we also share so much information and knowledge on this site.

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Snow is melting.  We have been having a warm spell so what was here a week ago is rapidly vanishing which is one of the nice things about Colorado....don't have to deal with snow packed roads etc all winter long!

Janet

jarkkolaine's picture
jarkkolaine

Hey Phil, 

That was a beautiful video, and I think the idea of making bread for your family, friends and people who are beginning to appreciate real bread again is a powerful one. Thanks for sharing!

And your breads look wonderful! Keep up the great work!

Jarkko

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you Jarkko,

It was really nice to have a small break after Christmas ... a few days where ideas of bread floated in and out my thinking without to much effort involved. It is nice to be home and back in my kitchen again.

Good to hear from you ...

Cheers,
Phil

GrapevineTexas's picture
GrapevineTexas

than sharing bread.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your reflections, Phil.  Beautiful photo's too!

Happy New Year to you and yours.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thank you ...

... and best wishes to you as well for 2012.

Cheers,
Phil

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you for this post, Phil!

And your photography - I like the fact that you included the washing up. For me often the cleaning after making bread takes longer  than the actual creating and handling the dough (especially with high-percent ryes).

Happy New Year,

Juergen

 

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Thanks Juergen,

No matter how much I try and streamline and simplify my baking I seem to create piles of washing up. Part of the process :)

I have learnt very quickly not to let bits of rye sit in bowls or on utensils ... I wash it up as soon as possible. Its like concrete that stuff :)

Best wishes for a new year
Phil

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

When even a dirty oven mitt is beautiful, you know you have received a gift from an artist.  Thank you for this post.

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Ha Ha ... the grotty and well loved oven mitts ... yeah, I try and capture all the bits and pieces of the kitchen. That was a spur of the moment photo :)

So glad you enjoyed the post...
Phil

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Phil -
Thinking about your comment about colour and decoration in your post -

Colour - the burnished brown and caramel colours in the crust of your breads
Decoration - the artful slashing, and gorgeous flour patterns on the surface of your loaves
(the random flour pattern on the ciabatta as beautiful as those patterns from the banneton)

...and then there's the colour and decoration in the feathers of the kookaburra :^)

Looks like you're off to a great start to 2012! What a lovely post.
:^) from breadsong