October 18, 2012


After quite a long summer break, on Sunday, November 4th between 2:00 and 5:00 pm, Florin is holding his next workshop. Hurray! It will be hosted by Rick Havlak's Homesteader's Emporium at his amazing store down at 649 East Hastings Street.

The workshop will be a three hours journey into the world of artisan bread, where you can learn the basics of baking: pre-ferments and soakers, mixing your dough, kneading and other techniques that will help you develop not just the dough, but also your baking skills. Finally, the shaping and baking of proofed loaves will be explained. You will be able to ask all those baking questions that have haunted you for ages.

Since artisan baking is quite a lengthy process, everybody will produce their own dough at the workshop, then take it home and bake it later on in their home oven. You should end up with the irresistible smell of freshly baked bread in your own kitchen and one or two beautiful loaves of bread, that you'll be able to share with family and friends. But be warned: This is the type of bread that doesn't last long!

To find out more details (what to bring along, cost, etc.) or to book your spot visit Rick's site.

We're also looking forward to a series of four workshops at UBC Farm this season. More details to follow soon.

October 5, 2012


I am still without a sourdough culture, but I'm back at the baking business anyway. For today, I decided to try my hand at a focaccia (I had meant to share a paticular recipe here with you since forever). Making focaccia is what got me into baking in the first place. Florin developed a recipe for me to practise my baking skills, when he still owned his bakery in Vancouver, and I used to work for him (Not as a baker, by the way!). When my first couple of loaves came out of the oven, it was just before closing time. Bending all rules, we didn't wait for them to cool down, but cut into these beautiful, golden, flat rounds right away. The aroma in the bakery was heavenly. We shared the yummy deliciousness with some late customers who had dropped by the shop, and it was all gone in no time. Ever since that evening, the focaccia became famous, and I was hooked on baking.

What I love about focaccia is that it brings the whole Mediterranean atmosphere (and Italy itself) into your kitchen and your heart; and on top of that, it never gets tiring, since it can be so versatile: You can either add all sorts of yummy things to the dough or decide on a topping. Olives, sun dried or fresh tomatoes, herbs, onions, or simply sea salt flakes always make for great taste. Also it is the perfect sandwich loaf, either fresh or grilled. 

For today’s bake I didn't have the original recipe handy, so I was trying really hard to reproduce it from memory. In the end, it turned out that my memory isn't the greatest (Florin gave me the formula in the meantime and it's definitely different from what I did), but the focaccia came out fairly nice anyway. I will bake and share the original recipe at a later date with you, but for today this is what we have:


(prepared 12 hours in advance and left at room temperature)

300 gr all purpose flour
300 gr water
2 gr yeast

Final dough

600 gr all purpose flour
330 gr water
30 gr olive oil
5 gr yeast
18 gr salt

Mix all your ingredients with the exception of the salt and do a 20 minute autolyse. Add the salt and knead to fully develop the dough. Bulk ferment for one hour, then stretch and fold the dough and give it another hour to ferment. Now preheat the oven to 470 F. Oil a baking tray or pan and transfer the dough out of the bowl. Stretch the dough very gently, using all ten fingertips to form the focaccia, add your toppings of choice. Cover with plastic and let proof for another 20 to 30 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes or till done.

Submitting this to Yeastspotting.