Positively Fourth Avenue

Vancouver’s Fourth Avenue used to be a rag-tag collection of funky used clothing shops, esoteric bookstores, leather sandal makers and vegetarian restaurants. Higgledy-piggledy. There was a smattering of old residential homes in poor condition, built in a bygone era. In the late 1960s, when I first saw the neighbourhood, it was a hippy haven. I was barely 11 years old and wide-eyed.… Continue reading

Harumph! Author Says Leave Baking to the Professionals?

Many modern bread books are formulaic: they take a unique angle — such as current trends in the bread world, an author’s professional experience or a historical perspective — then present a tantalizing selection of bread recipes aimed at the home baker.

Safe, entertaining, and informative.

Maybe it’s time for a shake-up in the bread world.… Continue reading

Making Art and Bread With A Message

Eighty-nine-year-old Peter Schumann (centre) oversees the Bread and Puppet Theatre … and the making of bread to feed his audiences. (New York Times)

I often think I came to the baking profession too late in life. It’s been more a retirement project than a life-long calling. I have a thirst for baking knowledge and never satisfied with making just good loaves.… Continue reading

Cheese Karma

An artful cheese board: Beautiful to some, but not this writer!

Confession time: I can’t eat cheese.

It’s true! While the world turns to cheese in everything gastronomic, I look the other way. When I order a burger or a salad, I remind the waiter, “No cheese, please,” to ensure no surprises. Scanning a menu, I look for two things: One, for something delicious and enticing, and two, for anything that contains cheese.… Continue reading

Say a Prayer For The Perfect Loaf

The next time you’re baking bread, say a prayer for The Perfect Loaf in the sky. As you slide your pillowy loaves into the oven, ask The Perfect Loaf for:

  • A burnished, chestnut-coloured crust;
  • An open and airy crumb;
  • A lofty loaf with generous oven spring:
  • Score lines that are charred gently along the edges;
  • Whole grain flavour with a hint of sourdough tang;
  • A heady, bready aroma that transports you to a warm kitchen where you are loved unconditionally
  • Where angelic choruses can be heard when your loaves emerge from the oven into the world

Seal the prayer in a golden thought bubble and watch it float into the sky.… Continue reading