This blog was created in January of 2010, when I had the opportunity to move for the summer to a small mountain town called La Rochette in southern France. A friend who is an awesome bread blogger thought it would be good opportunity for me to share my baking and life experiences with my online baking buddies, my friends back East in the states; and maybe make new friends in the process. Everything was falling into place like clockwork — I packed and rented my house in Philadelphia, jammed my clothes and baking essentials into two suitcases, got my plane ticket and set off on an adventure. When I arrived in the tiny perched village in the Alpes de haute Provence, I plugged in my computer to a very old and slow internet dial up and discovered that there was no way I was going to be able to run my blog without finding a decent connection. So …. after a year and a half of many failed attempts to get Wi-Fi or any other Internet connection on the mountain, I finally found a satellite provider and installed it myself….and here we are.
I got hit with the bread bug in 2008, when visiting a friend who is a chef, kitchen planner and an avid gardener. Her kitchen table was stacked with all kinds of cookbooks she receives from publishers for review. While drinking coffee and talking about great vegetable plants and our plans for next year’s community garden, my eyes wandered to the stack of cook books, and a new arrival still in its box. The cover had a mouthwatering picture of bread that you could almost smell; I know it is not good manners, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick it up and cracked the new binding. I am generally pretty good at multitasking, but it was really hard with what I had in my hands to concentrate on the conversation about heritage tomatoes, purple potatoes and who doesn’t play nice with others at the community garden. At the end of our visit Anna said “Why don’t you take a book home with you. I have way too many books.” I did, and there was no looking back. I read it from cover to cover, and then started over again. I just devoured it, no pun intended. And then it sat for awhile on my nightstand collecting dust. It was about a month later, I was introduced to a friend of a friend at the local pub, who was into making beer and by chance, sourdough bread. He invited me over one Saturday morning, his weekend baking day, to share some of his tips and tricks of home bread baking. I left that morning with three pages of notes and most importantly, my first sourdough starter. I dusted off the book sitting on my nightstand and proceeded to pick one recipe a week for baking on the upcoming weekend. Not every loaf was perfect, there was a lot of trial by fire, shall we say, but I baked my way through the entire book. Oh, by the way, it was Maggie Glazier’s Artisan Baking Across America.
I became preoccupied with learning about sourdough bread and planning what to bake on the weekend. But, there’s just so much you can learn from pictures. The best hands-on learning experiences by far, was the beginning and advanced week long classes I took at the King Arthur Learning Center in Vermont. These classes gave me a real solid base and understanding of the hows and whys of artisanal bread from a professional point of view. Since then I’ve been improving my baking skills from many different sources: reading from lots of books, sharing with online communities of home bakers/bloggers, at The Fresh Loaf.com and by trial and error.
Thanks for visiting and please feel free to share your ideas, comments, on bread or just about anything.