Archive | July 2014

Do you have (insert name here) bread this week?

“It only takes a small oven to produce a half-baked idea.” ~ Brandy Brandon

At least one thing I make each week doesn’t live up to my expectations, or it fails outright. I can blame ingredients on occasion, and the humidity might be a significant factor at other times. It might be because of injury (two weeks ago), or mechanical failure (mixer mishap last week), However, in the end, it falls to me. Injury or mechanical failure can usually be attributed to inattention to detail or circumstances. 

Problems with ingredients or humidity might be a little out of personal control, but again, attention to detail can help overcome those as well.

Attention to detail. It’s important.

Do you bake all this yourself?

Yes. I do.

I do have some help in the shop. In the past Michael Kelley assisted me, and that young man is a highly skilled assistant. Madison, my lovely daughter, is working full time for me now and learning the trade. I have help mixing and prepping materials, but in the end, every loaf of bread, every bagel, every croissant, etc., is my responsibility.

So yes, I bake it all, despite how incredulous that might seem to some.

*Except the cookies. Jacob does those. They are his private enterprise, so when you buy his cookies at the market, you are directly supporting an industrious 13 year old.

Do You Make Anything Gluten-Free?

No.

I’m a baker, not a pastry-chef.

If I was a pastry chef I would make many g-free items, as well as gluten-heavy items.

If you are celiac, I feel for you. My wife is celiac. I don’t bake bread for her, though, either. I can’t in my shop. There is no way to determine whether or not I’ve cleaned everything well enough to make something that is safe for her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ogre. I make very good gluten free treats like clafoutis, and I’ve made several delicious gluten-free cakes (pound cakes, carrot cakes, etc.), as well as gluten free corn bread, but no gluten-free breads. I make them in the house, not in the shop. And they are for special occasions, not daily consumption. They are also not for the markets.

Logistically, I can’t bake what I do AND experiment with gluten-free items. I have a small shop (your deck is probably bigger) and limited help (my children). And frankly, I’m not really interested in learning to bake items for an extremely small portion of the population that, in the end, won’t be willing to pay the price for them. Considering the extra effort and cost of goods that go into them, it’s not a wonderful niche-market for a small-scale baker. Large scale manufacturers have a wonderful niche market in gluten free items because they market based on the fear and ignorance of consumers, and they charge exorbitant prices for the product. I’m not going to lie to you about a product and overcharge you for it.

Unless you are a diagnosed celiac, or someone suffering with autoimmune disease, and you want to discuss alternatives to gluten products, I don’t want to talk about your g-free diet. I’m a bit frustrated with folks changing their entire eating lifestyle, feeling healthier, and then saying that going gluten-free is what made the difference. Bad logic? Yeah.