Robert’s Story or How I Came To Bake Bread
After being interested in food and cooking with my Mum for quite a while I started my first job in gastronomy when I was 17. Back then I was working in a chocolate manufactory and was directly hooked by the variety of smells and tastes I got in contact with around there. I was introduced to amazing food products and I haven’t stopped trying and learning new things since then. Throughout this time, bread was always a staple, and made me happy, whenever I got my hands on a good loaf.
Sadly, good bread is rarely available in normal bakeries or very expensive in small artisanal ones. This is why I wanted to make my own bread. A friend of mine, who’s also a cook, pointed me in the right direction. He showed me a book and I started to try out some of the recipes. I made my own sourdough and got to experimenting with baking bread, without a concrete plan and therefore a lot of trial and error.
So I made small loafs with a dense crumb and hard crust, misshaped blobs which were burned on one sight and had just one big hole in the middle and a variety of other ‘breads’. To my surprise and delight, nearly all of them still tasted interesting and well enough to eat. It might have been because I was proud of my own creation, but also that homemade bread just nearly always tastes good.
I started foraging through the internet, watched hours and hours of videos about dough preparation, shaping and other techniques involved. I read up on all the aspects of making bread, to understand the scientific processes behind them and also learned about various breads from around the world and the similarities between them. All in all, since bread has been a staple of the human diet for at least 15.000 years and hasn’t stopped evolving since then, there’s plenty to learn. But in the end it boils down to just a few things for most kinds of bread: the right flour, the appropriate amount of water and salt and some kind of leavening agent like yeast or sourdough and last - but maybe most importantly - time and patience.