No matter where you live, you can invite awesome, delicious, healthy bread into your life.
If there is a single craft that I strive to master, it's baking bread. There's something about bread dough that is both magical and sensual.
Bread dough is simple. Four ingredients - flour, water, salt and yeast - can make a near infinite number of delicious breads.
Bread dough is complex. The protein and enzymes in the flour, the way they interact with water to form gluten, create flavour and ultimately destroy the gluten is fascinating to me. Add a wild yeast "sourdough" culture and the complexity ratchets even higher.
Bread dough is alive. It takes care and precision to keep the yeast alive and in good shape so the loaf will rise properly.
Good bread is both gorgeous and delicious. What more do you need?
I've been baking for a very long time. My mom said I had my grandmother's 'touch' with dough, which seemed to skip a generation. So when Mom and I made perogies, I would make the dough. And when I needed to make a meal as a teenager, it was homemade pizza all the time.
Things got serious as I got older. I learned brick oven building from oven master Alan Scott and eventually built my own bread oven in my back yard. I baked so much bread in that oven that we decided to open a retail bakery of our own. Orange Boot Bakery made the best bread in Regina, Saskatchewan for five years before Cindy and I agreed to sell our gear and take a rest.
But the draw of bread never left. After a year of wandering about, I fired up the brick oven and started the the Backyard Bakery, a private bread club for friends, neighbours and former Orange Boot customers. Every weekend, Bread Buddies come to my garage and pick up their bread for the week, fresh from the brick oven.
Throughout my bread journey I've been surrounded and supported by other generous and talented bread bakers. I've been a member of the Bread Baker's Guild of America since 2008 and have travelled all over Canada and the USA learning from the best Guild bakers and from the amazing instructors at the San Francisco Baking Institute.