Writing this blog has been helpful for me as I continue down my relatively new journey into the realm of artisan bread baking. Without going on a long philosophical trip, there are a few things about my baking ethos that I’d like to mention.
When I tell people that I like to make bread, I often hear something like, “oh, wow that’s great. Baking bread is such a lost art these days.” For me, creating something with your hands, especially when it will be shared or given to someone else is a very gratifying experience – for everyone. The majority of the breads I bake are for people at work, neighbors, friends, or anyone who wants to participate in this exchange of time, energy, and love for food.
The long-term vision for my baking path involves developing ways to use bread as a vehicle for social entrepreneurship, as well as fundraising for causes aimed at improving people’s lives.
It is perhaps a paradox that the recent resurgence of baking artisan bread has more or less coincided with the gluten-free movement. It would be hard to argue against the notion that the bread revolution, most notably the use of ancient grains and sprouted flours, is not being greatly influenced by the GF pioneers. An increased awareness of what we put in our bodies and the push for more whole, healthy breads in general is good for everyone. The taste for bread that includes more of the whole grain and as well as healthy additions, such as millet or sprouted wheat berries, is growing, albeit more slowly than I’d like to think it is.
It’s fair to say that bread has been getting a bad rap these days, but this isn’t for a bad reason. Most of the bread on the supermarket shelves is made of highly processed flour and contains a lot of sugar to compensate for the lack of flavor. The poor quality of these products is actually a significant issue of food security. Furthermore, not everyone can pay $7.50 for a loaf of healthy, wild yeast-leavened bread. I want to increase the access of good bread to those who cannot get ahold of it, for whatever the reason. How I will do this is still in the works.
I hope that my fervor and passion for baking wholesome, healthy breads sparks other bakers’ interest to try it for themselves, and that sharing our creations with others is equally or more gratifying than eating them ourselves. Go bake with a friend!