Breadication: Stories from a Baker's Kitchen

By / Photography By Alyssa Grennings | May 01, 2015
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Breadmaking illustration

MONDAY

5:30 AM:
– Alarm goes off
– Feed starter
– Feed kids
– Off to bread shop

8:00 AM:
– Firewood
– Dough mixing
– Bulk fermentation
– Paperwork
– Prep
– Fire

12:30 PM:
– Shaping
– Proofing
– Think how to make bread better
– Clean Up

AFTERNOON INTO EVENING:
– Watch fire
– Watch bread
– Home
– Kids
– Supper
– Put bread in final resting place
– Put oven to bed
– Sleep. Bake in the morning.

The 2014-15 winter had been tough. The sawmill is out of slabwood. Mill says lack of demand for lumber means no milling which means I am out of my firewood source which is a BIG DEAL.


TUESDAY

4:00 AM:
– Alarm goes off
– Get to bread shop

5:00 AM:
– Clean oven
– Bake
– Curse at myself for not executing a few details about the bread
– Generally stress out about self employment
– Have some tea and toast and remember what Bob Marley said, “everything is going to be alright.”

10:00 AM:
– Deliveries
– Errands
– Home
– Kids
– Make supper
– Kids
– Feed starter
– Emails
– Sleep

There is so much discussion about bread and grains and gluten. It seems that the conversations always focuses on wheat breeding and growing, rather than how it is fermented or whether it is grown organically. There are few happenings that suggest this incomplete societal conversation is going to become more informed.

Community Grains put up an incredible seminar on YouTube that talked about grains in a way that included all the field to table concepts that are too often overlooked (milling, fermentation, and baking.) They laid out one comprehensive process to make the best bread, nutritionally. Some popular foodies are publicly questioning the anti-gluten hysteria. Check out Michael Pollan’s line in the NY Times:

“Gluten has become the bad nutrient of the moment, the evil twin of Omega 3 fatty acids. Could it really be that bread, a staple of Western civilization for 6,000 years, is suddenly making millions of us sick? I’m dubious.”


WEDNESDAY

5:30 AM:
– Repeat Monday but add back pain and carpal tunnel.


THURSDAY

4:00 AM:
– Repeat Tuesday but with more complicated, bittersweet feelings towards the craft of bread making.

I am not entirely sure what I expect the bread shop to become. I concentrate primarily on making the bread better and expect the business to grow organically, little by little, by focusing on the craft rather than the enterprise. However, that strategy feels a bit abnormal because nowhere do I hear my kind of plan echoed in the context of the larger business world. And by larger business world, I mean the NPR’s Planet Money podcast, which I love. I am not trying to manufacture a ‘rogue baker tries to change the world’ idea at all. It’s more like, ‘sometimes this country and culture feels so foreign to me that I don’t know how to engage it. Perhaps if I do this bread thing right, then something will make sense, finally.


FRIDAY

5:30 AM:
– Repeat Monday increasing production by at least 40% for the Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Farmers’ markets have become an essential part of my life mostly because of the positive feedback I receive from those who buy my bread. I have this perfect concept of what my bread should be and I try to realize this ideal during each bake. How close the bread is to my ideal determines how upset I am that day. Sometimes it is a little, sometimes it’s a lot. But the market is where everyone else lets me know, that no matter how I feel about it, they are so happy to take home and eat my freshly baked bread. That positive feedback is motivating in ways I never expected.


SATURDAY

2:00 AM:
– Alarm goes off.
– Repeat Tuesday but bake more loaves in less time and drive 80% farther.
– Get to the market by 10 am.
– Tea.
– Coffee.
– Whatever, just make it strong.

Perhaps if I do this bread thing right, then something will make sense, finally.

Article from Edible New Hampshire at http://ediblenewhampshire.ediblecommunities.com/what-cook/breadication
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