bread loaf

Saint Paul Bread Club

We knead to bake!

Bread Baker Biography – David S. Cargo (3/28/2006)

Who are you?

David S. Cargo (The middle initial is important for the jokes about my name.)

How long have you been baking bread?

I think I started baking bread in college. I learned from some housemates, so that would be about 33 years ago.

Who taught you how to bake bread?

I think it was Marcia Brown (an old college housemate); I did take a community ed class on bread baking from Frank von Poppen.

When did you start baking bread at home?

I started baking bread at home on a regular basis around 2003.

What’s your favorite bread to bake?

I make a kind of milk bread that’s my own original recipe.

What bread do you make most often?

I make that milk bread and sourdough bread about equally now; I often make buns for veggie burgers because they are more convenient than sliced bread for that application.

Where do you get your bread recipes?

I have some bread cookbooks and some general cookbooks with bread recipes in them; I also use the internet to find recipes.

How do you mix your dough?

I have a KitchenAid stand mixer that I use a lot, plus I hand-knead or stretch-and-fold some recipes.

How do you proof your dough?

I often change the appliance bulb in my oven for a 60-watt bulb. That gets the oven up to a good proofing temperature.

How do you bake your bread?

Sometimes I make pan bread, sometimes I make buns on cookie sheets, and sometimes I use a baking stone on freeform breads.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in baking bread?

I have started baking with my grandkids, and having them enjoy the making and eating of what me make gives me great joy.

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

The Old Milwaukee Rye was probably the most difficult; it was definitely worth it.

What was the most unusual bread you ever made?

When I worked at Trotter’s Cafe I made sweet potato, oat, and currant bread. At home, it would probably be the bread I made with cottage cheese, sour cream, half and half, and mayonnaise.

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

Probably the mayonnaise.

What was the simplest bread you ever made?

I sometimes make just a straight dough (flour, water, yeast, and salt) for vegans at veggie potlucks. It usually deesn’t last.

What’s your favorite brand and type of flour?

I like to use Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached white.

What’s your favorite yeast?

I like to use SAF Instant yeast, but I have had good luck with Red Star bought in bulk from the co-op.

Do you bake with sourdough?

Sometimes. I have trouble keeping starters going.

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

I have a regular gas oven (although the knob doesn’t select the temperature accurately); I have one of Alex Chinn’s large baking stones that I use when I’m making freeform loaves; I haven’t tried using pans of water to generate steam.

What’s your favorite tool for making bread?

My KitchenAid mixer.

What kind of bread pans do have?

I have clear Pyrex pans that I use.

What shape loaves do you make?

Pan loaves, buns (3 oz.), and freeform loaves.

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

Just 3 loaves.

Do you bake bread year round?

I tend not to bake at home when it’s hot. I either bake at church or experiement with baking in a chef’s pot.

If you buy bread, where do you buy it?

I buy at St. Agnes on their retail days or buy bread at the coop or Trotter’s Cafe and Bakery.

What’s your favorite bread book?

I like Ultimate Bread.

What is the bread book you would recommend to beginners?

Ultimate Bread, by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno (it can be checked out from the Saint Paul public library).

How did you find out about the Bread Club?

I saw a poster in a coffee shop on Marshall Avenue with a phone number.

What was your first Bread Club meeting?

I think it was in July of 2003.

What do you like about the Bread Club?

It’s interesting to meet so many people who are passionate about bread, but who all seem to have their own unique specialties.

What have you learned from the Bread Club?

I’ve learned all kinds of bread theory, all kinds of practical tips, and a lot of different reipes.