Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ovens, Baking and Bread

Here's the little house in which the blacksmith raised his 10 children. We met the lady who takes care of the flower gardens and she invited me to visit her so she could give me some seeds. Maine is such a friendly place and the people we meet are incredibly kind and generous.

Back at the bread conference, there were happy bakers ; this one made bread out of ancient varieties of wheat , which are being preserved and brought back into circulation by a group in the US and Israel.

We learned to build a clay oven and were able to fire it within 3 hours. Once the fire burned down, we were able to bake a pita bread ! We even mixed the clay for the ovens in that period of time. A great project to do with kids because of the instant gratification and success and the gooey, messy, fun factor.


Lots of baking demonstrations went on everywhere. Look at those yummy brioches filled with a mixture of ground hazelnuts, sugar, grated orange rind, a touch of cinnamon , topped with chocolate ! Of course we had to sample everything and all of us were laboring under serious carbohydrate overload for the three days of the conference.
We were fed 3 meals a day, most of them cooked in outdoor ovens with locally grown or produced food and all of them totally delicious !

On the left is my favorite bread of all made with - surprise - sprouted wheat and sourdough and on the right is a very fancy art bread with the kneading conference logo in the middle.
We attended lots of lectures and hands-on workshops and learned so many new things, but the very best thing we came away with was a wonderful sense of community and connection with people . There is a definite spiritual element to working with fire, cooking and eating together and working as a group towards a common end. One of the organizers summed it up well as we said good-bye, he said " Remember this feeling of community and being connected when you get back home. Let it cheer you when you're feeling low or discouraged and call us if you need a friend. Know that you are working for something which is taking us in the right direction and will help others by your example. "
We got so much more than knowledge about bread baking and ovens out of this wonderful conference - we made many new and interesting friends and feel satisfied and nourished in body as well as spirit.

Every day there were extraordinary flower arrangements everywhere !


Emlyn Stancill Whitin said...

Gorgeous pictures!! Wyatt and I are trying to eat the bread from the pictures and we imagine it is delicious! xoxo Em and Wyatt.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and very inspiring post, I love when people manage to pass on ispiration and knowledge this way!