This year’s was the seventh Grain Gathering (GG) (well, technically the fourth as it was called the Kneading Conference West for the first three years). Every year, in the weeks preceding the event I find myself dragging my feet and wondering why on earth I decided to make the trip and whether or not this GG would the last one for me. And, every year, once I am there I get swept up in the excitement and energy and I just love it. [Read more…]
Remember Alex Bettler of Today Bread? I had the pleasure to go and visit him last year on the last day of our stay in London. He was on the verge of moving his home bakery to much larger premises in Walthamstow, North London. The actual move took place in July 2016. Fast forward one year and I was back in London and curious to see how things had changed for him as a baker since the move. Again Alex kindly found time for me despite a schedule that can only be described as packed. Read on and you’ll see…
Margot Bakery isn’t the kind of bakery you would expect to find in East Finchley, North London. Well, perhaps you would but I didn’t. Maybe because it was my first visit ever to East Finchley (or, for that matter, to that part of North London) and all I had to rely on were preconceptions. Also because, when we stepped off the tube, the area looked so quiet in a British don’t-rock-the-boat kind of way that if I had had to conjure up a bakery there, it would have been the traditional English sort selling cottage loaves, scones, buns and pre-packaged sliced sandwich bread. Margot Bakery definitely isn’t like that.
As a child in Paris I loved it when we stopped at the corner bakery on the way back from school and my mom got my favorite: a baguette from which she broke off one of the heels (a real treat as it was both my parents’ favorite too and I didn’t always get it.) Some things have changed since these early years and some haven’t: I still love to stop at bakeries but while I can never resist a beautifully fermented baguette when one comes my way, I can’t say baguettes are my favorites anymore. I have many favorites nowadays and in fact when I visited Josh Raymer at Bakery Joju in Fredericksburg, Texas, last April, the list suddenly grew appreciatively longer.
Vermont baker Gérard Rubaud is the one who introduced me to on-site milling. Before meeting him back in the fall of 2009, I had never personally seen a baker mill grain and immediately use the resulting flour in his levain or his dough. To say I was taken by the flavors and aromas would be a huge understatement: I wasn’t taken, I was floored, I was smitten, I was conquered. I would never approach the taste of bread in the same way again. [Read more…]