Hello, I am ars pistorica (Latin for "the art of breadmaking"), and bread is my favourite food. It has been this way since childhood. Upon first hearing robbers are put in jail and only fed bread and water, I surmised prison must be kind of cool.
I have always liked to make bread, but more than that, eat it.
Nowadays, I am a baker, both at home and professionally. Before that I worked extensively as a head chef and pastry chef.
My last meal would be a perfect baguette.
I do not believe in designating certain foods as "guilty pleasure" or "low-brow." If you like a food, you like a food, and that should be the end of that.
I look to food science to find out what we should know, then to us, the bakers, to do what's next.
The people I am most influenced by and respect, culinarily, are those I know or have worked for: Chris Bianco, Thomas Keller and Chika Tillman to name a few. There are many, many more.
I read a lot. Like, a lot. This is because I have Asperger's.
And, no, this does not mean I am good at math. Or counting matchsticks. It does mean I am bad at certain social interactions most of you are not. I can be too straight-forward, direct. Dismissive or standoffish.
Do not worry, though, my intention here is the same as everybody else's: for bread alone. To share and learn, both what I know and do not know.
I like simplicity, great ingredients and even better technique.
The best sourdough bread I have ever had was, and still is, made at Wheatfields Bakery & Cafe, under the expert eye of Thom Leonard.
I do not believe in sacred cows. They often turn out later to not be what we know of as a cow. So let us appreciate the Calvels, but let's move on. Wikipedia was created by people; so, too, can the mountain of bread knowledge be built even higher.
Shortly after Barack Obama was elected the first time I moved permanently from New York to Australia, where I live now, with kids that speak funny.
Bread should not be thought of in categories or types. They act as useful reference points, but little else.
I have the mind of a pastry chef but the heart of the baker, and one big lesson I can impart is, be precise.
If you find I think outside the bread-box, that's because I do not know otherwise.
During my first time to Paris I wondered why most levain breads taste like cake, why all the baguettes, even freshly baked, were limp, dilutely coppery-tasting, and really bland. All were previous best baguette winners. Now I know. Forever I was a Francophile; that is, until I went to France. I still love Paris, but I know that my approach to bread is North American. Hard winter wheat, Lb sanfranciscensis, dark bakes.
Wheat is my favourite grain. I would give up all other foods for it.
Part of me posting here is to share what I have discovered, what I know, and also what I think as it relates to bread. Do not worry, a full blog (with more than just citations) will be coming, called Breaking Bread.
I do not believe in keeping secrets. Danny Meyer is right: all boats rise with the tide.
Hello. I hope each of you has a crumby day.