Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Staff of Life

What is it with Bakers and tatts?
Called into my favourite bakery La Madre in Geelong to get some flour on Thursday. Anton Spoljaric started La Madre in Bell Post Hill about 10 or so years ago and sold it to Tez Kemp and Anna Spurling about 3 years ago. Eight months ago they seamlessly moved into brand new premises across the road and the bread is still as wonderful as ever. John Schirmer is the head baker with Ivan Spoljaric

[Anton’s brother] and Dean Gorsuch his assistants, as well as a handful of other useful helpers .
Amongst the shiny new equipment there is a trusty old two arm mixer rarely seen these days except in the best of artisan bakeries. These slow old darlings handle dough gently allowing very high moisture content to be developed.
Around the shaping table the ink gets a good airing..... check out the ink [a sheaf of wheat] on arm of the young baker on the cover of Alan Scott and Daniel Wing’s wonderful book the Bread Builders. One of the first most important lessons we have learned about naturally leavened bread is not to keep too much starter. We use most of it and only keep what is still clinging to the sides of the container.
If you keep too much it will be filled with dead, expended yeast cells and lactic acid. Keep only about 5 % and refresh it will keep the fermentation vigorous and your bread will not display the telltale sign of overt sourness that lots of old starter gives. Today’s loaves were just fine.
Now will it be a cheeky Louis Wain Feline 09? a red heart or perhaps a sweetbread brioche?, crossed chef’s knives? Or just the stripes from normal wear and tear?


Thermomixer said...

Maybe an artichoke with crossed asparagus spears and rampant rocket?

steve said...

So true George about the tatts & bakers, Tony Dench for instance.
Having said that, nearly everyone in the brigade of twenty I presided over once, all had em too.
The dough (last picture) looks very wet. Is it baked in a form or tin?

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Hi Steve
Big brigade!

The last picture is just the starter to show how little we keep. The bread pictured is from that batch.

Jeremy said...

Artofax mixer aye? Saw one of those in Switzerland a few years ago!
Thanks for a good bread story, as all your stories are good!

Cheers and happy cooking George!


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