The Cost of Bread and the Metric System

“The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.”
-Abraham “Grampa” Simpson

Working, as I have for the last month, in a bakery that specializes in bread, I have a few observations.  The first regards the metric versus the imperial system of measurements.  Why anyone would choose willingly to use pounds and ounces to measure anything simply boggles my mind.  The simple act of altering quantities of measurements requires a calculator far too frequently.  But that’s really more of an aside.  The company I work for (being owned by former Americans) uses imperial measurements, but that’s just something I have to put up with.  No, I have another rant planned for today. Continue reading

French Bread Villians

DSCF2338We all know bread has a long and storied history.  Did you know that there is a connection to the fencing world as well?  It’s true.  Cardinal Richelieu, the villain of the famous novel The Three Musketeers was actually responsible for implementing many bread laws in France.  He dictated the laws regarding the ingredients that could be used, which led to the classic french bread we know today.  I don’t know that he had anything to do with the shape, but it doesn’t seem unlikely.  So there you have it.  Cardinal Richelieu, antagonist to the King’s Musketeers and father of the baguette.  Bet you didn’t know that, did you?

Ingredient In Depth: Pineapple

If ever there was an intimidating fruit, it is the pineapple.  I think a lot of people are lost when it comes to this semi-exotic treat.  I keep hearing how they’re hard to pick, difficult to choose and baffling to use as anything other than an offensive weapon.  Fear not gentle traveler, there are answers to be found and paths we can take to greater pineapple understanding.  Anything here can be done with canned pineapple, but fresh is far better. Continue reading

My Bread and Butter

As I mentioned last week, I’ve started a new job.  Working in a bakery means no more late nights, for which I’m ecstatic, but also means less time for writing.  I’m going to do my best to keep up the schedule as it is, but we’ll see how that works.  Anyway, I’m doing what I want to be doing and though the work might be considered a Sisyphean exercise by some, shaping several hundreds of pounds of dough a day and leaving work with enough flour on me that hugging a celiac could be considered assault is all good. Continue reading

Freestyling Bread, Made Easy

Bread is a wonderful thing loaded with symbolism, metaphor and history.  I think it’s intimidating for a lot of people, though.  It’s seen as a strange and unstable alchemical thing or a mythic beast waiting to attack.  It doesn’t have to be though.  Bread isn’t a monster.  It’s cuddly and warm and just wants to be your friend.  One thing they do say is that you should never freestyle bread.  Thankfully, as with most things they say, this isn’t at all the case.DSCF2008 Continue reading