Bread baker satisfies family and friends with artisan loaves

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 08, 2011 - 05:34 PM

Photo: Bob Wohlfort has just removed one of his loaves of bread from the oven; browned and hot, this artisan free-form bread is ready to slice. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Bob Wohlfort has just removed one of his loaves of bread from the oven; browned and hot, this artisan free-form bread is ready to slice. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day.

Bread has been one of the principal forms of food for man from earliest times, and the trade of the baker is one of the oldest in the world. From Old Testament times, all the evidence points to the fact that bread-making—preparing the grain, making the bread and baking it—was women’s work; but in the palaces of kings and princes and in large households, the baker’s duties were specialized. A Baker’s Guild (The Guild of Master Bakers is still alive today) was formed in Rome somewhere around 168 B.C. From then on the industry became a separate profession. Members of the Guild were forbidden to mix with "comedians and gladiators" or from attending performances at the amphitheater, so that they might not be contaminated by the vices of ordinary people.

In today’s world of bread-making, bakers are still an honored group of cooks. And although bread is much more available in supermarkets and commercial bakeries, the most sought after is the homemade bread. That’s what Bob Wohlfort can supply and does it well.

"I’ve been bread-making on and off for the last 30 years," Bob said, "but for the past 2½ to 3 years, I’ve been making bread more seriously. I use one basic recipe with a little tweaking once in a while. My son gave me the book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," and that is what I work from now; use it to make the regular yeast bread. The title of this book may be a little misleading but it’s really an easy bread to make, that is, if you like a hard-crust bread. It sets for two hours and you can keep it in the refrigerator up to two weeks in some cases."