JOURNAL

Bread Baking in the Mountains of Austria

The Mountain School in Rauris is truly one of a kind: you can learn how to make bread (mostly traditional rye breads), work with a wood fired oven, cook local specialties and hike up to the "Alm" to see how the tradtional Graukäse (grey cheese) in made. It's a natural food lover's dream - we are coming home with many inspirations and recipes to try everything we learned back in Vermont!

Almbrot mit natürlicher Hefe - alpine bread with natural yeast by Lutz Geissler /recipes from the Schule am Berg

EURO BREAD TOUR PART 3:

We're off to Europe again! Stops include Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Ahrntal (South Tyrol, Italy) and Rauris (Austria). We're not only exploring local breads this time, but also participating in a special bread baking event in the mountains of Austria.... a very exciting journey indeed! More to come...

EURO BREAD TOUR: A visit with "Plötzblog" baker Lutz Geissler

Meeting Lutz was short but sweet - it’s always great to meet with likeminded people to share thoughts, methods and ideas (plus coffee, cake and bread of course…). We talked about ovens, recipes, baking bread in the US vs Germany, the “new” German bread culture (Bakeshops who use frozen yeast dough vs. hand-made, sourdough breads) and the difficulties of working in an old, sometimes not so flexible, system of rules and regulations - and the advantages of having those in place.

The German “Master Baker” law comes to mind: One can only make and sell hand made breads in a shop or bakery in Germany when there is a certified master baker on site. Otherwise you can buy pre-made dough, breads and baked goods and “finish them” in an on-site oven for sale. 

Is this a good thing for quality standard? Or a hurdle for those who are truly passionate and knowledgeable about bread baking but don’t have a formal training?

The debate is open …

For those of you who read German, check out Lutz’ excellent baking blog Plötzblog: https://www.ploetzblog.de

Below you see a picture of Lutz in front of the wood-fired bread oven at Hof Wulsdorf, a biodynamic community with a wonderful farm, bakery, dairy and shop on site.

EURO BREAD TOUR - Arriving in Germany and bread baking is alive and well

First stop on our EURO BREAD TOUR 2018 is Hamburg, Germany. It was a particular chilly day in the port city of Hamburg and the sky was wintery grey as we landed. 

First stop (we skipped the airplane breakfast so we were hungry) was the bakery Dallmeyer, was well positioned outside Arrivals in Terminal 1. It was a bakeshop, so definitely a chain bakery that uses prebaked dough (you cannot open a bakery and sell bread in Germany unless you are a certified Master Baker - so anybody who is not certified will call it a “bakeshop” instead), but the quality of the buns (rye sourdough and oat crumble savory bread bun) was flawless. 

A crunchy thin crust was met with a soft baked-through center - one could tell, there are no human hands involved here and the character and uniqueness of each piece was missing, but on has to admit that the taste was nearly perfect.

It is nice to see that the craft of baking is well and alive, but it was also a bit scary to see the high number of bakeshops vs. proper bakeries. It seems like industrialized food is taken more and more space on our food map - all around the world.

But we were hopeful: Next week we will visit several craft bakers in Germany, traveling from Hamburg to Berlin and Cologne and then further on to Strasbourg and Paris. Next stop: Ahrensburg, a small village outside of Hamburg where one of Germany’s best know bakers Lutz Geissler aka “the unconventional outsider” is giving bread baking classes on a Demeter (organic) farm, with wood-fired bread oven, a creamery, an organic farm shop and a café. 

Can’t wait! Check back soon…

Winter has arrived - we're hibernating!

...well, not really - but we wont be delivering until later this spring, now is the time of travel and adventure! We will be starting a journal of this year's trip to Europe and invite you to come with us to  discover delicious foods, bakeries and visits to chefs and food-makers. Check back soon!

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