Bakers Journal

BAC: Notes from the Executive Director – June 2023

May 30, 2023
By Martin Barnett, Baking Association of Canada

PHOTO: Facebook.com/BBCWalesNews

By the time this is published, Showcase Vancouver 2023 and all the excitement around it, the buildup and the hard work of the Annex management team with BAC will be in the rear-view mirror. The next issue will feature a comprehensive report on all the fantastic events that took place.

The Pantry

People who know me know that I love language and the origins of the day-to-day terms that we take for granted. I was recently re-introduced to the word “pantry”; it didn’t start out as the room where we keep the Zoodles and crackers. 

The word “pantry” comes from the Old French word “paneterie,” from “pain,” the French word for bread. In medieval times food and supplies were stored in specific rooms: a panetier (pantler, in English) was the servant who had the job of portioning out bread to the household. The pantler did not simply hand out whole loaves of bread; he would cut the bottom crust (often burnt) off the bread. The remaining part of the loaf, the “upper crust” was then served to the lords and ladies. The tough bottom crust was not discarded; it was given to the lower house staff to use as plates. Known as a “tranche” (trencher, in English), the tough slice of bread could be eaten at the end of the meal or given to the poor as alms. In the Tudor era, wooden or metal flat plates were called trenchers, because of their resemblance to the bread slices. Currently, you can still see wooden trenchers used as charcuterie boards or cheese boards, a gourmet nod to the hard-working bakers of yore. 

Marmite            

I think about (and eat) Marmite every day. Sold in England for 121 years, and known as a useful source of essential vitamins, Marmite is why I started baking. I wanted to make sure that the vehicle that delivered my daily hit of the black, salty elixir that us British kids were brought up on was as lovely as the savoury spread it conveyed. For the coronation of King Charles III, a Welshman decided to do a portrait of the king using toast as and Marmite as a medium. The result was quite good and Nathan Wyburn, the artist, then got to eat his work; what a unique toast to the new monarch! You can read the rest of the story here: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cxxy40p39wzo 

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And before I leave the topic of Marmite (I promise never to talk about it again in this esteemed publication) there are those of us who love Marmite and then there are the rest of the world. The Aussies also have Vegemite. With apologies to my baking friends down under – sorry mates, it just doesn’t cut the mustard!

Where there is bread there is hope

Many of you know or have heard of Jeffrey Hamelman, a great baker who has inspired many of us in our quest for that perfect loaf. His professional book of formulae, simply named Bread, graces the shelves of many bakers. It includes explanations of processes as well as interesting anecdotes. After a long career in baking and teaching, Jeffrey retired and got involved in a Ugandan bakery project, the ADAMÂ Bakery at Oruchinga Refugee Settlement. You can learn more at https://www.adama-foundation.org/

Jeffrey is seeking funds to expand the project, specifically to use for the frequent power outages in the region that plague production.

Please visit the web page and the Go Fund me page to read Jeffrey’s account in his own words. Donate if you are able.

GoFundMe page for Where There is Bread there is Hope.

Membership benefits

As some of you know, membership in the BAC includes a free one-year membership in the Bread Bakers Guild of America. With that comes access to the forum and their publication Bread Lines, a wonderful journal full of innovative technical recipes and products as well as reports of their interesting workshops. We are proud of our affiliation with our partners at the BBGA. If you would like to access both institutions from Canada, please sign up at baking.ca. And remember it’s free to Canadian baking and pastry students enrolled in a full-time or apprenticeship program!) 

Martin Barnett, Executive Director
Baking Association of Canada
mbarnett@baking.ca


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