2020 will, for many, go down as the year of the pandemic.
For me, it will be the year of the baguette.
Last summer, I asked our local baker if I could spend some time with him to learn where I was going wrong with my home baked breads. Nearly a year later, and I’m baking nearly 4,000 breads a week in that same bakery.
I have learned more than I could possibly have imagined, been introduced to new techniques, and gained in self confidence. I’ve lost nearly 15kg, and I’ve contributed my own ideas. The dramatic consequences of the last few months have largely passed us by. But the village shop, and in our case, the village bakery, have regained their status as crucial elements in the life of the community. Our daily bake has more than doubled in size, and we are seeing clients who previously bought their bread in neighbouring towns.
If our FaceBook group is any indicator, one consequence of extended lockdowns around the world, has been that many thousands of people have decided to try their hand at home baking, often using sourdough techniques. Our group membership has nearly doubled, and we’ve all learned from the experiences of new and established members alike.
Bread (and in France, the baguette) is a staple in many cultures around the world. And it seems from my admittedly limited perspective, that the events of this year have lead many of us to return to the basics of either baking our own, or buying from local artisans. It is in my opinion, one of the positive results of an otherwise tragic few months.
I hope to make this a series of posts, discussing my baking experiences as I continue to learn. It would be great if readers share their own experiences in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.