Back in October I spent an amazing night with an artisan baker who toils his trade 3x a week up in the Pyrenean mountains. Our rendez-vous was at midnight and I spent the night pretty much watching him perform his craft from beginning to end.
I watched how he got his ferments activated entirely with natural levain – no commercial yeast in sight or on site. It was fascinating to see how he effortlessly mixed just flour, levain ferment, water and then salt together and see these ingredients start performing their own special magic after a few hours of fermentation before their next shaping.
My French is pathetic but we somehow managed to communicate, whilst nocturnal Radio France provided the rest of the conversation in the background. I was grateful for his patience and willingness to share nuggets of his information & wisdom regarding this fascinating artisan craft.
His formula is different to what I’m used to, although I would say the principles are pretty much the same. I now need to sit down and get my head around his formula – another challenge! Haha
I have great respect for how this man eeks out a living out of this ancient craft.
My hope and goal is that more of us continue to be inspired to make bread in its most natural form rather than resort to additives, E numbers, etc – that long list of ingredients that make no sense and are probably the root cause of many modern ailments. Bread is definitely about patience and how you utilise your time effectively and understanding that a fast fix isn’t always the optimal solution.
Just some ranting breadcrumbs from my end. Here’s wishing everyone happy baking adventures!
TIP: to avoid frustration and disappointment, master your first basic bread loaf with no frills & fancy grains – seen too many trying to run before walking, then tripping over their efforts and giving up. Persevering is worth all the effort and pain in the end.