When people write asking to come learn bread baking from me, which they do, now and again, I always have to hold back my immediate baffled negative. Because, what? You want to learn from me? Half the time I still feel like I'm fumbling wildly through the dark of my ignorance, and the other half, just barely getting by on two years of accumulated mistakes. I'm not a real baker, I'm tempted to tell them. Don't be fooled by website, or the farmers market stand, or the loaf that sent you knocking at my (metaphorical) door.
I still wonder, sometimes, if I chose the right approach: gambling on a business for which I had no professional background, daring myself to fail publicly and repeatedly, when I've always been more inclined towards caution and meticulous preparation. But I think it's been good for me to practice my (calculated) risk taking, to learn to be motivated, rather than overwhelmed, by failure. And I've realized, talking to other young bakers, that I've learned more and more quickly in my two years of ignorant flailing than I likely could have working on the production line in someone else's bakery. Backwards, my way may be, but it's been an effective way to learn.
And besides, most of the bakers I look up to, the ones I consider Real Bakers, have been at it for a decade or three. In another eight to twenty eight years, I imagine, I, too, will know rather a lot about bread. If only my potential visitors were willing to wait.
Anyways, that's what I've been thinking about in the kitchen this week. Along with where to glean pie cherries, how to wrestle greater production out of my little oven, and what I can eat for lunch besides cookies (it's really hard to take the time to make real food in the middle of a busy baking day when I'm surrounded by mountains of pastry!).
It may start raining by the time the farmers market opens, but come anyways. I have Polenta bread, along with Red & White, Rosemary Sea Salt, and Mountain Rye. Strawberry rhubarb turnovers, some lovely garden pesto twists, and the usual lineup of sweet treats.
(I'm sure, given more time, I could come up with some clever metaphor about light and learning to go with this picture, but I'm late for market so you'll have to insert your own)