Home baking is a passion that I have only recently developed. And when I say recently, I mean three years ago I started my experiments (and I’m 47).
I read somewhere that home baking is a recent trend. That the importance of being US in control of what we eat has been rediscovered.
It is not always possible, for the majority of the food we intake, but at least for bread, which I consider the FOOD for excellence, we want to be the ONE to choose flours, yeasts, processing times and cooking methods.
Not surprisingly, the care towards the ingredients we use every day has grown. Likewise, the knowledge of flour has increased. The number of artisan mills in Italy has risen, resuming the flour’s production as it was before the advent of the catastrophic, for some aspects, globalization. It is equally now important to know where the flours come from, how they are treated, whether and which pesticides are used, which Countries are imported from and, above all, if these countries comply with the regulations in force in Europe regarding the use of chemicals.
What many of us have rediscovered is the importance of AWARENESS. We must choose consciously, knowing that the flour I will use, if I can, is coming from an artisan mill that has taken care of all the aspects of production.
Very often we find ourselves in Countries where there is not the luxury of finding organic flour. Very often we have no idea where it comes from, how long it has been on supermarket shelves and even if it is suitable for bread-making or pastry. What is left then? AT LEAST interrupt our dependency from mass-production chains and MAKE-BAKE OUR BREAD.
Four ingredients are needed for basic bread: water, salt, flour and yeast, and the heat of the oven. Fresh or dry brewer’s yeast, solid or liquid sourdough, or no yeast at all.. Ovens: gas or electric, fancy multifunction … or even just the sun (not in Scotland all right, but in Egyt is possible https://www.facebook.com/ArabicwithMahmoud/posts/1030634793802711
Very often those who are afraid to approach the world of home baking, use the phrase: “I have no time, I work all day and I CANNOT ALSO make bread”.
I also spent a period (almost a year) of commitment outside home from 8.30 to 4.30 arriving home “knackered”. It is absolutely true that the binomial: making bread at home and TIME go hand in hand … LONG TIME AGO!. In our very busy lives we have the technology that comes in our aid. Example? bread machines, DOUGH and PROVING program. We can to decide WHEN the dough must be ready for preparation (if you want to prepare rolls or baguette style bread) and the “I have no time home baking” problem is solved.
So let’s try it! From simple projects. The emotion and warmth that starts from your hearth once the first batch of bread is baked…you’ll remember it for a lifetime.
This is my first ever: mantovane with active dry yeast.
And from the Mantovane I progressed to Ciabatte, Grissinoni (breadsticks) panettone and pandoro. Always with active dry yeast. And then I began to look at the sourdough, liquid and solid altough my first choice yeast is dry active. It’s a matter of lifestyle.
A year after my experiments I decided to start a group on Facebook Panificazione Facile (Easy Homebaking), opened for those who, like me, are expatriates and OR just love bread making. With intense choral work, together, we reached bread-making knowledge and expertise unthinkable for me until three years ago and, as I often read from the comments, unthinkable for many members of the group who grew up with me.
The bread gave me, after two years of life of the Panificazione Facile group, the chance of traveling abroad, teaching or organizing workshops ran by others fellow bakers, and I met fantastic people.
Like Giuliana Bongiorno, a volcanic Sicilian (pun intended) who has a wonderful relationship with her hands and sourdough. And these are her amazing baguettes.
Doing Baguette with her, listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s live concert in the evening after having baked them, left a warmth in my heart that I still jealously preserve.
Giuliana and I will be in London on 15 and 16 June in Richmond. Two days of intensive bread making,hands on workshop.
Open to Italian and English speaking, and to all level of expertise.
The program is in two blocks:
1: Bread baking with active dry yeast
2: Sourdough (solid and liquid).
You can take part in both courses or just one
Here you will find all the program, the registration and payment form: https://www.cooksdayoff.co.uk/easy-home-baking-italian-artisan-bread/