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

An Old Fashion Christmas Market

….. Toronto hosted a great Christmas Market at the Distillery

One of my fondest memories of Christmas occurred when I was 11 years old. My father had a good year in real estate and decided to take the family on a three week vacation to Germany over the Christmas holidays to reconnect with family and friends that we hadn’t seen in almost 10 years.

My mother’s side of the family lived close to Frankfurt and we were treated to an evening at the Christmas Market in Frankfurt. It was magical. I remember that it was cold and there was a light covering of snow on the ground. I was in awe of the lights, sounds and smells. The entire event was hosted outside with vendors selling their wares from small wooden stalls. The treat that I savoured the most that evening was a small pink, green, or white confection made from coconut and sugar. To this day I can still taste the wonderful sweetness of those Kokosflocken. I’ve never been able to replicate those exact candies but I have sought them out, especially this time of year. I think I’ve come close to finding them but it’s never been the same.

Yesterday, my husband and I braved the cold and grey weather and made our way to the Distillery District in Toronto where Lowe’s was hosting this years Christmas Market. It was as magical as the one I remembered as a child. There were bier gardens, mulled wine stands and vendors selling everything from old fashion European ornaments, traditional German and Dutch Christmas baking to whimsical winter hats and mittens and children’s books. Of course Santa was on hand to have pictures taken with the kids and there were guest choirs singing classic Christmas songs. And if that wasn’t enough at the far end of the market there were rides for the whole family to enjoy.

IMGP0212 IMGP0211 IMGP0208 IMGP0207 IMGP0206 IMGP0205 IMGP0214  IMGP0213

After walking around for about an hour it started to rain and it came down hard. We quickly made our way to The Mill Street Brew Pub and stood in line with a mass of people who were also trying to escape the wet weather. We managed to put our name on the waiting list to be seated and to our surprise we were paged after only waiting for about 10 minutes, if that.

K and I enjoyed a lovely lunch together in the warmth of this very popular restaurant and we watched the rain come down from the window next to our table. It rained off and on all day but it didn’t stop the crowds from wandering around the market. My friend L, was there much later and it was still crowded after 5:00. I look forward to going again next year. Maybe I’ll go in the evening so I can enjoy the lights. The only other thing that would have made it perfect would have been a light dusting of snow and a bag of pink and green kokosflocken.

One happy husband, after a warm, healthy meal.

One happy husband, after a warm, healthy meal.