The Best Volunteer Job

….bread making 

Now that may not be your cup of tea but for me it’s fun and it helps support activities at Montgomery’s Inn (an 1840s-era inn operated as a museum by Toronto Cultural Services at 4709 Dundas St W (at Islington Ave) in Etobicoke, Ontario, 416-394-8113, montinn@toronto.ca.).

Every Tuesday I go to the inn to help prepare the dough for six to seven different types of bread. There are no preservatives in the bread and most of them are made with specific  bread flours that are ordered from specialty mills. I’m usually in the kitchen for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

On Wednesday I return to the inn where anywhere from four to seven volunteers shape the dough, fire up the outdoor brick oven, prepare two sourdough breads and one or two batches of focaccia. Wednesdays is always a longer day because it takes anywhere from two to three bakes to get all the bread baked and ready for the Farmers’ Market where a another group of volunteers sell the bread. Typically on Wednesday we’re there for five to six hours and lunch is always prepared for us by our ‘boss’ who makes some of the most amazing meals from scratch (homemade soups and stews, sausages with homemade buns, pasta and salads, baked beans, etc.).

This week I took some photos of our beautiful and delicious bread.IMG-2658
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Baking Bread Outside in the Winter

….actually all year round

The biggest difference between baking bread now and in the summer is the weather. In the summer we can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine while the bread bakes in the outdoor wood fired oven but in the winter the sun may shine but the wind and the cold drive us indoors to wait out the baking time.

Today it was a beautiful sunny day but when the wind picks up and we can’t all stand in front of the oven door to keep warm we headed inside. It was a busy market day because it was also the Christmas market. We had to work quickly so that the vendors could set up but we also made more product because we knew that there would be twice as many people coming today. We experimented with a new recipe and made some mini panettone. The first five loaves sold in a matter of minutes and I’m sure that the remaining three didn’t hang around for long.IMG-9688
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