Before I began school, while my dad was at work and my five brothers and sisters were all at school, my mom and I would bake. It wasn’t everyday but frequently enough so it was something I remembered, loved and I think I always wanted to do! The three things I remember making with mom were bread, popovers and chocolate cake. I think my favorite was the bread. I remember the warmth of the kitchen and the smells… I especially remember the smells! How they changed throughout the process – the yeast proofing, the dough as mom taught me how to knead and of course, the smell of our fresh-baked loaves of bread as they cooled on the counter.
I’ve always known that this is how I came to love bread – but I realized only recently that it was where I developed my love of baking. I don’t ever think of that time and think immediately of the final product. I think of the whole process Mom taught me: gathering up the ingredients, dissolving the yeast in lukewarm water (and learning what “lukewarm” meant), mixing up the dough and plopping it into the bread “machine” (see image left) and cranking the handle endlessly to knead the dough. After we left it alone to rise, we would then shape the loaves very simply and place them in their pans leaving them to rise again. Its funny – its a long process and one for which you must be infinitely patient – I can’t imagine many 4 year olds sticking with it that long, but somehow I did. Bless you Mom for keeping me tuned in enough to see and taste the payoff!
But I grew up to be a web developer – not a baker. Sounds strange, but not its not really – I have many colleagues that are highly technical but have a very different hobby – almost all involve creating something “real.” Many years (30) later, I found that, I too, wanted to make something “real” and I started baking. But it became more than a hobby, it was my “happy place” – and I often found myself wishing I could bake for a living. Fortunately, as a freelance web developer, I have a very flexible schedule and after much thought, I listened to my gut and enrolled in a Pastry program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.
Englewood Baking Company is my first step in baking for a living – it is small scale and make all my products from scratch. It really does make a difference!