I like baking with spelt which is an ancient grain increasing in popularity around the world. Contrary to some popular belief, spelt is not “gluten free”, it simply has a different genetic makeup to normal wheat. However, it does appears to be a lot kinder to the gut. This is true especially when it is allowed to go through a proper long fermentation process using natural levain. It has a lovely nutty flavour when baked, the crust gets nicely caramelized with a chocolaty colour. So what else is there to know about spelt… Continue reading “S”spells Spelt
Who was Johan Ludvig Runeberg and what is Runeberg Torte?
The 5th of January is a national flag day in Finland which celebrates Runeberg’s Birthday. Why am I writing about this? Well there is something yummy that is made available for this celebration that involves baking. Bakeries and patisseries around Finland, roughly not long after New Year start to produce and sell Runeberg Torte, the sales of which culminate on the 5th of February, after which they disappear again until the following year.
I thought it would be fun to delve into the history of the torte and to Who was Johan Ludvig Runeberg? Current younger generations of Finns are perfectly aware of Runeberg Torte and that they are in season from the beginning of the new year until the 5th of February but often not much more…..
This is what I discovered Continue reading Ever heard of Runeberg Torte?
You may or may not have heard of Teff flour – I have on and off, but wasn’t quite sure what it was or where it came from – so I decided to do a little investigation
TEFF is an ancient grain and one of the smallest grains found in Ethiopia. Imagine: it takes about 150 Teff seeds to equal the weight of a single wheat kernel. It is the main ingredient used to make Injera flat bread.
Reasons Teff flour is starting to trend on a global basis:
Grandma could never stress the following 4 things enough when baking bread.
It really helps to know and understand the following:
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. Continue reading Spending the night with an Artisan Baker
Mother’s Day: An annual event either the 2nd Sunday in May but also 4th Sunday in Lent
Mothers have been honoured since ancient times traditional. However, it is a relatively recent phenomenon that there is a specific day assigned to Mother’s Day annually now. This was thanks to a campaign initiated by Continue reading Do you celebrate Mother’s Day with baked goods?
Although a hybrid developed by man, Triticale (Tricosecate) has been around for well over a century. It was first bred around 1845 in the northern hemisphere both in Sweden and Scotland. Basically it is a cross between wheat & rye giving it a combination Continue reading GRAINS: “T” IS FOR TRITICALE
There really is no “one” particular type of starter in the production of natural leaven agents.
Every baker appears to have their own particular philosophy and way of creating one as I discovered during my artisan baking course adventure in Barcelona. In fact, each Master Baker there had their own special way of creating their natural leavening agent.
Levels of hydration and flour content were also totally variable between these Master Bakers! One favoured liquid levain, whereas another preferred a more firmer version and then there was what I would call the in between ones! What was even more fascinating, each baker had a different way of maintaining their starter. This is where in principle the fermentation idea is the same but different nationalities have their own preferred method of making/maintaining one. Whilst in Barcelona, I experienced Catalan, French, Italian and Finnish natural leavening agents, each different like night and day from each other! The one that was totally new to me was: Continue reading Baking Ruminations from Barcelona – Lievito Madre & Ezio Marinato
Now here is a pastry wizard to marvel at. After Josep Pascual’s introduction into the art of baking, we were treated to pastry baking insights by Mickaël Chesnouard, who is the director of Atelier M’Alice – Here some croissant tips I picked up during his master class in Barcelona. Continue reading Baking Ruminations from Barcelona – Mickael Chesnouard
Last month I had the fortunate opportunity and privilege to be able to attend the first International Artisan Baking Course hosted by the Gremi de Flequers Barcelona (Barcelona Guild of Bakers) which is situated on Pau Claris in the heart of Barcelona.
The course was spread over 4 days and it was extremely “intensive” with a fabulous line up of 7 international bakers – the Magnificent 7 – as I like to think of them. Their knowledge and handling of all baking guns was better than a wild west film.
The fist day kicked off with Josep Pascual, a charismatic Catalan baker passionately dedicated to artisan baking and sharing his knowledge with his growing tribe of followers through such courses as the one I attended. He is renowned for his “Metodo Pascual” (Pascual Method) of baking bread. His signature breads are beautifully designed breads with intricate motifs stencilled on them.
His opening of the course immediately set a very high bar to the standard that was to follow.
You can follow the Bakery School of Barcelona on their Facebook page if you like.
Now that I’m back home again, if you are interested in finding out more about these sublime ways of making bread, don’t hesitate to drop me a line via my contact page and I will email you my Newsletter and discuss either BreadCoaching or supply of handmade artisan bread designed to your needs.
Cheers, Tia – your Bread Coach
Designing bread is my passion, empowering you to do the same is my mission!
In the meantime, keep following the bread crumbs!