Favorite Baker: Richard Bertinet
Favorite Oven type: Wood-fired (one-day, I’ll have mine)
Favorite Baking book: Crust
What experience most defined your desire to start baking?
In the summer of 2011 a TEDTalk inspired me to set a simple monthly-challenge calendar. My first challenge was to get into the kitchen every day and make something from scratch. I baked my first bread (more like a brick) one day and I couldn’t stop since.
Where is your favorite place to shop for baking ingredients in Kuwait?
I don’t have one; different hypermarkets stock different ingredients. Regardless, I always purchase unbleached flour. Bleached flour is banned in many countries and should be banned here too.
What sparked your interest in artisanal breads?
The process, the care, the patience, the dough rise, the aroma, the crackling sound of the crust when it’s just out of the oven, the aerated structure of the crumb (inside the bread), and great taste. Answering this question made me want to bake again right now.
We’ve noticed your breads are not for sale, is there a reason behind that decision?
Many people these days don’t know what real bread tastes like. I give my bread away as a gift to those who follow the Loaf Affair page on Facebook and ask for one to taste it and hopefully get inspired to bake their own. If I can bake at home, so can they.
With bread and gluten making headlines, what would you like to say to those with a newfound fear of bread?
It’s just a fad to sell products. Unless, you have celiac disease, celiac intolerance or some other wheat allergies where your body can’t process gluten, you don’t need to seek gluten-free food. And contrary to the misconception, gluten-free food will not make you lose weight.
Who in the world would you most like to bake for?
Apart from family, friends, and the Loaf Affair followers on Facebook, I would say Richard Bertinet. He’s one of the top five master bakers in the world today. I’ve trained with Richard a number of times; and for him to taste my bread and like it is a great joy.
If you were to bake, only one loaf for all of time, what would it be?
I love bread too much to choose just one. My ‘Loaf Affair’ is with bread in general, not just one style.
For more on Loaf Affair’s real bread, visit www.facebook.com/LoafAffair. When not baking, Loaay Ahmed is a management adviser and strategic expert. For his advice on business and work matters, read the monthly Loaay’s Two Cents column in bazaar magazine.