BEYOND THE BREAD REVOLUTION: BACK TO THE FUTURE
Although the “real bread” revolution reached Spain decades after barefoot bakers were at work in the United States and other European countries, it has made a huge impact. Regional breadmaking from valleys, towns and villages had been fading fast in the face of imported industrial products, but now it’s returned with a firm foothold. Bakers have revived wood-fired ovens, stone-ground flours, sourdoughs (masas madres), artesanal wholegrain breads and yeasted sweetbreads. Most recently the energy has spread to high-profile restaurant kitchens: some are building bakeries and a few chefs dedicated their Covid years to experimenting with doughs. Necessarily, most full-time bakers follow former generations’ dedicated early-rising lifestyle and they work long shop hours too, yet they share the hyper-communicative digital culture of panaderos/as elsewhere. In this fast-paced scene Pan, a twice-yearly Madrid-based magazine, in its seventh year of life, has played a key role. It’s the Wallpaper of the bread world: photographs lead the way through professional recipes and in-depth essays on breadmaking techniques, ingredients, science, design and new-wave mash-up baking. The formula has worked. While most print magazines on food have been disappearing, or going digital, Pan has flourished in print, now linking up a worldwide hispanic readership. The magazine embraces breadmaking as culture, past, present and future. Gustavo Puerta Leisse, their cultural editor in 2021, invited me to write a piece linked to Altamiras, but following a long lunchtime conversation in a Peruvian restaurant we refocussed on a three-way feature highlighting how history can help to add new dimensions to baking businesses. Tom Jaine, editor of the Oxford Companion to Food, wrote on the hidden values of building a wood-fired bread oven; Padraig O’Gallagher retold his epic revival of an Irish potato bread for hip Dublin diners; and I had the chance to sing for a revival of the breadcrumb cookery of the past. Special thanks go to the Pan team – not only Gustavo, but also Lorenzo and Bea. It was a pleasure to collaborate with a venture that shows how high production values, editorial care and consultation at every moment are worth their weight in gold.