I visited Peter Goodwin who bakes delicious wood fired bread just over the hills in Lidgetton.
“You simply have to love the fire” says Peter Goodwin with a grin. Ok, so his bread is baked in a wood fired oven – that just means he has to make a fire doesn’t it? Loving the fire? “The fire is huge in the process and you are forced to commit.”
The oven is stacked with alien wattle in a very particular way at 5 o’clock the evening before baking, and lit. By 8.30pm the wood is all burnt and the coals are racked across the oven floor. Around midnight the oven door is closed so that the heat saturates the oven. This certainly is a commitment.
“I learnt to make fires with my dad (artist and foundryman, Kim Goodwin) when I was 4 or 5, so fires were always part of my life. Then in the autumn of 2012 my mother had an idea that wood fired bread would be the next big thing.” Family friend and bread maker of renown, Neil Jonker, offered to teach Pete the art. “I kind of sensed this would work out and I just had to give it a go. We live in a beautiful place, my family are with me, it is creative and interesting, what’s not to love?”
Pete studied Fine Art and his bread reflects his creativity. “Certainly it helped me making the whole rye loaves, as rye behaves more like clay than dough. Nothing is rigid and I love experimenting. I am an artist.”
He knows the farmer who grows and mills the wheat he uses. “It’s a lovely thing to make a connection like this, to be able to speak to him about his crop and the process.”
Pete is up again at 3am to weigh and shape dough made the day before. Baking starts around 5am and is usually over by 10, depending on orders. “I want to max out the use of the oven, I reckon I could bake 180 loaves off one fire.”
In the meanwhile his business is growing slowly supplying Midlands’ restaurants and shops like Café Bloom, Grapevine, Linga Lapa, and at Piggly Wiggly both Best of Midlands and 3 Fat Pigs. Look out for the best bread around.
“The fire is the love because you do so much more than switching on a switch. The best advice I got was to take things one day at a time. I’m only 23. I’m so not rushed.”
This delightful young man spoiled me with a crispy loaf fresh from the oven. I stopped for some goats cheese and red wine and headed home for lunch. My pal, Judy, joined me.
‘love’ them on www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Bread/122142794597509