I bake, therefore I am

The not-so-secret secrets, successes and failures of a home baker

When I was 15 I got a weekend job at a bakery. Going to work at 2 am was by no means easy, but once there I remember loving handling dough and the smell of (and eating)  freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes. I spent about a year there and learned how dough feels and bread tastes when it’s done right. (Eating a warm pastry only minutes out of the oven is the best, trust me). For some reason that joy has never left me. I love to bake.

About 10 years ago my mum gave me Dan Lepard’s book “The Hand Made Loaf” for my birthday, and I’ve never looked back. New methods and techniques that made it possible to bake even better bread. The book has been a big inspiration, and since then I have spent hours on hours reading, learning, testing, tweaking and failing in my attempts to make the best possible bread I can. It also holds all the recipes I’ve been tinkering with on small pieces of paper.

I’m usually my happiest when I bake, and I’m fortunate to have a family who put up with flour lying everywhere, on handles, the floor – you know what I mean. They are also honest critics, but they always eat the bread. They have also been telling me for ages that I should start a blog. My wife, Tina, says I should offer bread baking courses. Oliver, my 18 year old son, is convinced this blog will make me rich and famous. My 15 year old daughter, Frederikke, agrees.

Me? I needed a place to store my recipes anyway.

So here it is: my very own baker’s blog with recipes, pictures and tips I’ve picked up along the way.

A note on technique
I’m not a bread scientist, although I have learned a few things about what happens when water, flour, yeast and salt are mixed, kneaded, fermented and baked. Good bread takes practise, and I’ve been practising for more than 20 years. So in each post I’ll share a technique tip I’ve picked up along the way. I’ll even tell you when I fail, show you what it looks like, and try to offer an explanation. And then I’ll bake again and see what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps my failures can help you avoid them.

Try them out and have fun.

Peter Stewart