bread loaf

Saint Paul Bread Club

We knead to bake!

Bread Baker Biography – Peter Glick (2/16/2005)

Who are you?

Good question. A man who has loved bread since my mother used to send me to the corner bakery as a child and had to put a limit on the amount of bread I was allowed to eat returning home.

Retired as a clinical social worker of 40 years, I now volunteer as a guardian-ad-litem for the Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Court and as a social skills group leader at St. Joseph’s Home for Children in Mpls. in their residential treatment program.

My wife (a special ed. teacher with the Mpls. Public Schools) and I have two adult sons, both engineers (neither can drive a train) who live on the west coast and work in the computer industry.

How long have you been baking bread?

For only about 1.5 years; started just after I retired, thereby fulfilling a wish of many years.

Who taught you how to bake bread?

I’m a novice, still learning. Began after attending a basic baking course at Cooks of Crocus Hill, a birthday gift from my wife. I began reading about bread baking with Beard on Bread.

When did you start baking bread at home?

After the Cooks course (I only have baked at home).

What’s your favorite bread to bake?

A rye with raisins and walnuts in it; a nice breakfast bread.

What bread do you make most often?

A rye with caraway seeds and an English country loaf.

Where do you get your bread recipes?

Mostly from books I’ve bought.

How do you mix your dough?

By hand; I’m a lefty, if that has anything to do with it. Probably not.

How do you proof your dough?

Usually I make a poolish which sits in my kitchen overnight. For proofing, the dough also sits out in the kitchen. I’m starting to experiment with proofing in the frig overnight.

How do you bake your bread?

In a conventional kitchen oven.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in baking bread?

When an experiment works out. However, just the “doing” is a thrill in itself; sometimes it becomes an experimental “melodrama.” As Henry David Thoreau said in his Walden: “It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them,” (Chapter 9, “The Ponds,” first paragraph).

What was the most difficult bread you ever made and was it worth the effort?

Tried to make a lavash cracker, but couldn’t get the dough thin enough. Worth it; not yet.

What was the most unusual bread you ever made?

Had to be the rye with raisins and walnuts. It was a mistake while baking two formulas at once; the raisins and nuts were supposed to go into the other loaf.

What was the most unusual ingredient you ever used in making bread?

With a limited history in baking, there’s nothing exotic or that unusual that I’ve used. Perhaps it’s when I soaked raisins in Harveys Bristol Cream sherry.

What was the simplest bread you ever made?

A basic white country loaf.

What’s your favorite brand and type of flour?

Don’t have a favorite brand, but I use mostly Dakota Maid bread flour re: its availability.

What’s your favorite yeast?

Again, don’t have a favorite brand, but use mostly Red Star instant yeast.

Do you bake with sourdough?

Not yet as I’m keeping my focus narrow until feel my breads are consistently as wanted; however, I’m hoping on some tips from Klecko to get started.

What kind of oven do you use? Do you use baking stones or water pans for steam?

Use a conventional kitchen oven. If making a round loaf I often put it on a pizza stone (cringe here). For moisture in the oven, I use a plastic bottle to spray in water a number of times early on in the baking.

What’s your favorite tool for making bread?

Don’t know its name, but it’s a hand mixing tool that’s a wire twisted in like two concentric circles, one within and slightly raised from the other, with a long wooded handle.

What kind of bread pans do have?

Standard 9” X 5” bread pans and a 17” X 12” sheet for challahs or other shapes.

What shape loaves do you make?

Mostly bread pan standard loaves, but also challah twists and round loaves.

We hear/read all kinds of puns about kneading, but what about the loaves? If someone who bakes is a baker, is someone who diligently makes dozens of loaves an hour for hours on end a loafer, or is it just that he/she wears them?

What’s the biggest batch of bread that you have made at home?

Nothing to brag about here: Once, so far, I’ve made 2 formulas at once, four loaves.

Do you bake bread year round?


If you buy bread, where do you buy it?

Have almost completely stopped buying bread except for specialty crackers or cakes.

What’s your favorite bread book?

The two most informative ones for me are Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Bakers Apprentice and Laurel Robertson’s The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking.

What is the bread book you would recommend to beginners?

Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. A simpler, but older book, is James Beard’s Beard on Bread.

How did you find out about the Bread Club?

My wife saw an article (I think by Richard Chin) about the Club in the Pioneer Press and showed it to me.

What was your first Bread Club meeting?

October 16, 2004

What do you like about the Bread Club?

Two things: 1) There are professional bakers to teach us, and 2) There are avocational bakers with years of experience to draw from. Both have a genuine enthusiasm that’s contagious.

What have you learned from the Bread Club?

Techniques and their refinements as well as encouragement to continue practicing regardless of (put politely) limited results.