Through the years, my handle, “GoofyDawg,” has been associated with two things: Software Engineering and Guitar, essentially what I do professionally; music being one of my life’s passions that I luckily get to do professionally part-time. Originally, I started this blog to talk about “other” things. These could include tech stuff and music, but with a different, more personal twist.
I’ve had this site for several years, and never really did anything with it but post random thoughts and things about careers or politics. But as of 2020, my life has taken an interesting turn and I’ve now found a new passion: Artisan Bread Making.
It started out as something to do at the start of the pandemic lockdown. Friends were sharing their bread creations – mostly sourdough – and frankly, I wanted in on the action. I had actually been baking bread for over 40 years, but never really did it seriously. I just wanted to make something edible.
But this whole no-knead, Dutch oven thing had me intrigued. I had a couple of them and I figured that it would be cool to join in on the craze. So I looked up some recipes online to find out about the process and I started to make some loaves. But I quickly got bored of making boules all the time. I wanted to make baguettes and batards. I wanted to make hearty country-style loaves. I wanted to make sandwich bread. As I started researching Italian bread, I wanted to make some of those ancient loaves. I couldn’t do that in a round or oval Dutch oven.
The limitations of my baking media (Dutch oven) quickly led me to invest in a variety of baking tools and implements. I bought a Fibrament-D baking stone so I could bake multiple loaves at once. I bought a spiral dough hook to make my dough mixing more efficient (I still knead by hand, but do the initial mix in my KitchenAid). I got different types of pans to cook uniform loaves, etc., etc…
In other words, I totally geeked out on making bread. And as with the great Nancy Silverton, I became absolutely obsessed with dough! Yes, it’s only three or four ingredients, but within those ingredients is unimaginable nuance and variation. Just changing the hydration a couple of percentage points up or down can have drastic effects on the final product. Using different types of flour or flour blends creates different tastes and textures. It’s mind-blowing and I wanted to learn everything I could about the process!
So going forward, though I may still write about other topics, this site is going to be devoted to my artisan bread-making journey.
Update: June 22, 2021
And as luck would have it, now in mid-2021, I’ve baked so much and given away so much bread that I’ve decided to officially start a micro-bakery out of my house called Dawg House Bakery. I’m starting fairly humbly with this by doing custom bakes for private and small corporate events and will eventually scale up my production to handle farmers’ markets and larger special events. And you’ll notice that if you go to goofydawg.net, it automatically redirects to dawghousebakery.com. I decided that if I was going to take the plunge, I was going to go all the way with the Dawg House identity.
From the very early days that I started baking seriously, I wanted to bake bread that was free of chemical additives and baked using traditional methods. A hopeless romantic, I fell in love with the notion of baking bread from recipes that have existed for hundreds or even thousands of years, baking with ancient grains such as Kamut (my favorite), durum, and spelt. As such, my quest led me to The Real Bread Campaign, a UK organization that advocates for baking bread with no chemical additives and using as natural of flour as possible – unbleached and unbromated.
Part of SustainWeb.org, Real Bread is also a network of like-minded bakers and bakeries across the world who take a traditional approach to bread-making which means that whether they’re using a natural leaven or commercial yeast, the bread they bake takes lots of time.
If you’re an avid baker – doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or not – click on the image above to find out more and if what you find inspires you, become a member and supporter!