The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A new chapter in my life

Mebake's picture
Mebake

A new chapter in my life

I've been yearning for some real Artisan bread, but fate seems to have it some other way. Sadly, plans to start a Bakery have taken a detour, as things did not work out. Among other reasons, lack of sufficient funds and professional experience, have  taken a toll at last. It was time to move back with the family to my Native Lebanon.

As Artisan bakeries rarely exist here, i did an apprenticeship in a local Patisserie shop in Beirut For about a month (not sure if that counts as an apprenticeship..) and although i've completed a pastry program 4 years ago, It was my first exposure to a bakery kitchen. Despite my brief training, I learned quite a bit about Pastry production lines, and  had some hand's on experience. I learned new lessons, and grew out of this experience, and now that i Reflect back at this past year, i have no idea how i made it through a career change! it was quite a ride.. But... I did make it , and i'm glad to be whole again. 

News: I'm set for another opportunity. Something  looms from afar.... Something off-shore. More on this in another post. 

Finally, i would like to convey a message to all home Bakers: you are lucky to be able to bake wonderful sourdough bread at home! About two months ago, i've given my starter away to a lady whom i taught bread-making lesson. (i still don't feel comfortable carrying a sourdough starter with me on the plane, but perhaps i shouldn't be too apprehensive)

(Note to self: always use the freshest, preferably organic, stone ground flours to start a new active sourdough starter.)

Khaled

Comments

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I hope the transition goes well for you, Khaled. Keep in touch.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks. I'll keep in touch.

 

Ru007's picture
Ru007

Keep us updated!

All the best

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Will do

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I can think of a dozen platitudes but they generally don't offer much comfort. I have enjoyed reading your posts and sharing your progress and life experiences for several years. You are positive, willing to work hard and generally joyful. I hope your life experience will not change that. Stay who you are while you change what you do.

Good fortune. Keep in touch!

Caroline

Mebake's picture
Mebake

i will. Thank you for your heart warming words. 

Arjon's picture
Arjon

Sometimes, we have to step sideways or even backward. What's important in the bigger picture is to keep our overall trajectory moving in a positive direction. Your wording is apt; provided you still have the same destination, you've only taken a detour. 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

True, Arjon. clear Destination and trajectory is what matters.

Thanks

Syd's picture
Syd

You look very contented in the photo.  You look like you were born in a bakery, in that apron!  Get your hands back into that flour!  It's where your passion lies.  

How has your back been recently?

All the best,

Syd

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I've immensely enjoyed the experience of being in a bakery, and learning new techniques. Whether it be Bread or pastry, i find both to be an enjoyable experience. Now, deep down, i still prefer Artisan bread, and i can't wait to have my hands dusted with flour once again.

My back is holding on pretty well, actually. I've persevered through the long hours, and as long as i take care not to lift excessively heavy items with the wrong posture, or sit for long hours, then i seem to be doing fine. I actually noticed that when i'm upset, i get more back aches than when i don't. So, i try to remain positive, do what i enjoy doing and stay away from negative thoughts and emotions. 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

(Note to self: always use the freshest, preferably organic, stone ground flours to start a new active sourdough starter.)  I would add fresh milled whole grain flour to that list.

Funny how the world turns and where we end up in it.  Good luck with the new offshore venture and

Happy baking 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes! absolutely that too, no doubt.

Thanks. and yes, life does throw oddities at you. Well, it's either growth in one's potential , or decay... and i chose growth. I'll have to pay a price for it, you know.

Thanks, Db. good to hear from you again.

Happy baking to you too.

ElPanadero's picture
ElPanadero

Very best of luck Khaled.

I've always said that doing a stint in a real Artisan Bakery is the best experience and best way to see how small fry domestic baking scales up. As a "way of life" I believe being an Artisan Bread maker is simply untenable for most people. There just isn't enough profit in bread while ever you are competing with mass-produced cheap crap. There is a contingent of people who will pay decent money for "proper" nutritious bread but you need significant volume and consistent volume to make a viable bakery imo.

Your bread skills are unquestionable as we've all seen over the years from your regular blogs. So what to do?

Most artisan bakeries that I know have all had to branch out from bread and include cakes to get the profits up and most also eventually turn the bakery into a café/coffee shop. Consider doing that because a café is a great way to meet/greet people and build a community focus in which you then have a platform to showcase and sell your breads.

Needs capital to set up I realise but worth a thought.

One final comment . . .

Ditch that shower cap it looks terrible ! :-)

Get something like this:

ATB

Mebake's picture
Mebake

ATB, you are reading my mind. I do plan to start a Cafe, that bakes it's own Breads and pastries from scratch. I daydream about it. You are right, there is just not much profit to be had with bread alone; it's got to be a one stop bakeshop.

As always, thanks for the tips and useful comments. Much appreciated.

Best wishes

bakingbadly's picture
bakingbadly

Thanks for the update, Khaled! Sorry to hear about the unfortunate news but, as you say, it's a new chapter in your life. A detour filled with opportunities. Likewise, I'll be taking a detour. I've closed my bakery and will head to Perth, Australia upcoming Monday to improve and learn new baking skills. And also to rejuvenate my creativity and passion in sourdough baking.

Best of luck to you, my friend. May you achieve your heart's desires. :)

Zita

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I'd love to see what you two guys will be up to in Perth. Do share your baking experiences. 

We are both on the same path, and i can see clearly that you are on the right track. Sometimes we have to make changes, adjust plans, and work around obstacles to reach our goals. But despite the hardships, it will all be worth it and you will realize how people will start to commend you after having doubted you and your plans.

Bake, Believe.

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Great to hear from you Kahled.  Someone as talented and passionate as you I'm positive will succeed.  I'm happy to hear that you are still pursuing your dream and look forward to hearing from you soon!

Best of luck.

Ian

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Ian. Keep baking awesome sourdough.

Best wishes!

yozzause's picture
yozzause

What no more chance to catch up on the stop over in Dubai on long flight from Aus to the UK, Oh well  at least I don't do that trip very often nowadays that the parents have passed on, but it was great meeting you a few years ago and im sure we will meet again. So back to the native Lebanon I do hope a change of scene will all go well for you, the weather should be kinder  and baking opportunities greater.

Im sure we will all look forward to following your continuing adventure my friend here on TFL.

I will be looking forward to another TFL member Zita (Bakingbadly) coming to Perth next week for a couple of months i'm sure we will be able to get up to some bakery bashing and doing a bit of baking together, I extend the invitation to Ross (rossnroller) too if he reads this and can PM me and we will get together. Shame you couldn't be here to Khalid!

No doubt  something will get to TFL about this anticipated get together.

Kind regards Derek 

Mebake's picture
Mebake

I'd loved to have met you too at that spot, and at your leisure time. Perhaps, like you said, we'd meet up again somewhere. the world has indeed shrunk.
As to Lebanon, yes, weather is kinder than Dubai. Career , however, calls me to go elsewhere, and i'll oblige.
i'm excited to learn more about you and Zita, and perhaps Ross too. It is Always a pleasure to work with like minded individuals.
thanks, my friend.
best wishes to you, and yours

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Always fascinating to hear the latest report on your career quest, Khalid.  Now Beirut -- but wait, another offshore opportunity coming up?  Hard to keep up with you.  Beirut is a pretty cosmopolitan city that ought to have sufficient clientele for artisanal euro style breads, no?  But perhaps you've got a brighter prospect.  So how does your new Lebanon starter compare to your old Dubai starter?  Different character?  We've just relocated 2500 mi from our home of 25 years and my starter has taken on a whole new character despite same maintenance regime as always. 

All the best to you in what comes next.

Tom

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Well, i'm just following my intuition And doing my best With the opportunity at hand. It is true, it is a far cry from my desk job life of 9-5, but i don't ever regret that I've left it.

Beirut has a clientel for artisan bread, in fact , i plan to visit a guy just outside Beirut who runs a sourdough bakery , and mills his own grains. As to the starter there, i've tried making a new starter there with local wholewheat flour but it didn't work. Probably old flour. Now, i'm trying to make an organic brown rice flour starter, and convert it to wheat.

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Khalid.

With your intelligence, persistence, talent and realism, I don't think sympathy for your "failure" is the correct sentiment. I think you have learned from your recent experience in Dubai. I am confident you will eventually find your proper niche and your long-term success. 

I gather that plans for your next step are still developing, and I look forward to hearing about them when you are ready to share them.

Warmest regards,

David

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, David, i learned so much from the experience and i'm thankful for that. I'm trying to improve my self by seeking professional training. 

Thanks for your encouraging words, David.

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Yes, David, i learned so much from the experience and i'm thankful for that. I'm trying to improve my self by seeking professional training. 

Thanks for your encouraging words, David.