The Mellow Bakers project of baking through Jeffrey Hamelman’s great collection of recipes in Bread, A Baker’s Book of Recipes and Techniques, has come to an end.
This is a sort of thinking aloud post, so I’d be interested to hear any thoughts particularly with regard to using wordpress for group baking. You may of course think there are plenty of places already to do that, but I think it is always worth experimenting with different formats, as different things suit different people.
I was just having a quick read on the Mellow Bakers forum to see what they are up to and it looks as if there will be a brand new group of bakers starting working their way through Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman this year, so if you wanted to join in last time but felt it was too late to do so, have a look on that forum and see what’s going on.
The principles are very simple. It’s a free to join, no strings, come and go as you please internet space, run and moderated by Paul. You can write about your baking there, you can post photos, links to your blog, ask for help, chat. Bake some, all, or none of the recipes.
I began Zeb Bakes because I wanted a home for my bread posts while I was baking along with Paul, Abby, Andrea, Jacqueline, Ulrike, Melanie, Geraint, Doc Fugawe, Natashya, Steve to name but a few of the many fantastic people who dropped in and baked and chatted there. Some people only popped in once or twice, some people baked everything they possibly could. It has been a fairly relaxed affair and I have learnt so much while I was doing it. Thank you all of you!
I really enjoyed baking along with some great people who dropped in and out over the course of the Hamelman project. I take my hat off to the amazing bakers who baked every single one of the recipes. I managed forty five (I think!) different bread recipes out of all the ones we could have made. You can see the ones I made by clicking on these two pages in my menu bar, here and here.
There are of course other forums to join up to if you want to talk bread, there’s the Real Bread Campaign in the UK, which you have to pay to join. I was a member for one year but it seems more aimed at would be professionals than at people like me so I have let my membership lapse.
There’s also the Fresh Loaf in the US, which has members from all over the world and is a very fast moving and big forum. If you speak German or Spanish these are links to two forums in those languages.
Terry, who I met at Joe’s and Martin’s baking weekend in Yorkshire, runs a wood & pizza oven forum where they talk bread and pizza in particular and is well worth visiting too if you have questions about oven building.
And then there are the one off Twitter bake alongs where people teach you how to make a starter, or how to make rolls like Luc Martin did recently. I made brioche one happy Sunday following the @halfdrunkduck’s great instructions.
Zeb checks the mise en place for Dan Lepard's Dundee Cake
It reminded me of Dan Lepard’s Dundee Cake bake off which was one of the funniest things I have ever done on my own, Sally BR and Gill the Painter were in on that one and we have been great friends ever since – I wish we could do another one day, though I know they take a lot of organizing.
Thinking along those lines, maybe we could do one using the P2 group theme on WordPress which allows for realtime updates? If anyone is interested in giving it a go, maybe one Sunday later this year, do let me know.
For those of you unfamiliar with how WordPress.com (not wordpress.org which is the self hosted side of the business) works, you sign up as a user (free) and then you have a wordpress name and password and you can be added to a group blog where you can upload text and photos without having to have a blog if you don’t want one.
Of course if you do want a blog, you just opt for that. WordPress don’t charge you for the basic blogs, but they do have fees if you want to keep your blog advert free, like this one, or to register your own name, and various other things, all explained on their site.
I could set one up and see if we could make it work for one-off bake-alongs if there is interest.
If you want me to add a link to any non commercial bread forums or upcoming low cost bread events that I have missed out, please put something in a comment below and I will edit this post.
Happy Baking Everyone!
NB I’ve edited this post a bit since I first wrote it to make the bit about wordpress clearer.
22nd Feb 2012
I have taken out all references to group baking of Dan Lepard’s books as this seems to be causing problems lately. For more on this see Paul’s recent post on Mellow Bakers and if you wish join in the discussion there.
I have left people’s comments on this post as they are.