|Pain de Campagne|
After about thirty years of home baking, I'm now considering trying to make this a business. Once upon a time, when I lived in Greenwich Village, New York City, I would bake bread about three times a week. It was fun, and a stress relief. I had a tiny kitchen, and an even tinier workspace - the butcher block top of a rolling cart, wedged between my stove and the fridge.
After a period of baking loaves that could double as building materials (and I would like to insert a tribute to my sister Peri, who dutifully tried those woeful attempts, and didn't complain) I finally managed to turn out some reasonable products. I made rye bread, bagels, croissants and all sorts of things. Some were good, some disasters and some were very very good.
Since you almost always bake two loaves at a time, I had far more than I could eat (and I eat a lot!) So, I started to take me breads across the street to my local bar, a trendy and happening place called the Scrap Bar.
Since I usually finished baking around ten PM, the breads were warm, when I went down to the Scrap Bar. New York bartenders work very late, usually until four AM, and they get pretty hungry around ten or eleven, so a loaf of hot fresh bread was a treat. They even started to buy butter and they laid in a bread knife and cutting board. I think it goes without saying that I got a lot of free beer.
Well, that was long ago and far away. The Scrap Bar is gone, and I now live in St Albans in England with my lovely wife, whom I met in the Scrap Bar. I bake as a hobby, but now I inflict the results on my wife and sometimes on the neighbours.
Well, no longer will I confine myself to small and infrequent bakings! I have a sourdough culture I made from rainwater and flour from the Redbournebury Mill, a mill that's only about 4 miles away. I want to use that sourdough and the local flour to make lots more bread. That way, I can have fun, and I get a wider audience. Also, with any luck, people will like the bread and buy it.
|Sourdough Poppyseed rolls|
|Sourdough Rye with Stout and Aniseed|