Swapping Bread for Stuff


Swapping Stuff for bread, as Art what do bakers and makers think of this?


This started as a comment on this thread: http://sourdough.com/blog/sonoma-miche-sydney relating to chilling dough. Since it grew out of proportion so I’ve started this thread instead.


For background and photos of the bread and events in question you can look on the following websites: http://youareherecanberra.com.au/?p=1021



For those of you who use face book there are some photos here.




While I bake regularly for my family and friends the only times I really get to get on a roll baking is when I’m engaged in on of my bread swap artworks. You can read about the first one here ( http://sourdough.com/forum/bread-stamps ) from the photos in that thread you can see my portable rig and what people swap for bread.

In that edition the only chilling I used was to hold some dough at bulk proof overnight so I could have the luxury of sleeping in till 5am, driving to the gallery and producing continuous batches of bread all day. After all my goal was 500kg in three days.


Since then I’ve done the event twice with differing levels of refrigeration. The first time in Boorowa NSW in conjunction with their annual agricultural show. Country people are morning people so I wanted to get the baking done by 3pm. Here I used a friends cool room to both retard the bulk dough as well as the first couple sets of loaves to go through the oven. It worked pretty well overall, on the busiest day there was a batch that got over proofed at the final stage but because I was using raising baskets it was ok.


Most recently I presented an edition in the CBD of Canberra. Because of building regulations I was not allowed to move my baking gear on site so I was left baking at home. I also limited myself to just 48 loaves a day (two bakes in my oven). I wanted to fine down the time input for the bread making as much as possible as the bulk of my day from was spent on site in a white Tyvek jumpsuit being bouncy and engaging with the audience. For this work I bulk proofed at room temperature all day, shaped the loaves in the afternoon/evening and left them on open trays (under plastic) in my coolroom overnight. 


This is how my day was structured:

7:45 start heating oven. Between now and 9:00 mix the two batches of dough for the next days loaves and the starter for the following day.

8:00 put the first batch of 24 loaves in the oven

8:40 rotate the trays

9:00 take the loaves out and put the second batch in. Between now and 10:15 clean up, prepare packaging, eat breakfast and have a shower

9:40 rotate the trays bag first lot of bread

10:00 take out the second lot. 10:15 pack second lot load up car and head in to uni

10:30 check emails, sort my academic problems keep degree on track and pick up a driver to get my car from the venue to a car park after unloading

11:30 arrive at venue and unpack, grab a coffee and have a briefing with the festival organisers and other artists. 12:00 doors open and bread swapping starts.

16:00-17:00 Finish up for the day.

Some time before bed shape the loaves and put them in the cool room overnight. Also put the starter in the cool room.


When the shaping got done was dependent on what other things were going on and the weather. I had one batch of over proofed dough on a particularly warm day but after that lifted my game and was more careful. I was lucky as well most of the days were in the mid 20’s. The last day was cold so I had to get up early and let to formed loaves warm up for a couple of hours before baking, I’m not sure if it made much difference but I was expecting a food writer that day so I put in the extra effort. Those loaves looked like this:    


I’m sorry to say I don’t have a photo of the crumb at this point but I can solve that problem tomorrow hopefully. It is an even structure that will not drop honey on one’s beard or cloths when used.


The following recipe is more or less the loaf in the photo. sorry, I have not converted it to bakers percentages, it’s from my cheat sheet next to the mixer.

3kg 1:1 ripe starter (chilled)

11kg Manildra bakers flour

1kg Allied Mills wholemeal flour

6.3 litres water (temperature dependent on the day between 10-20degrees)

130g salt

130g honey

130g olive oil

The mixer used is a single speed 30 litre spiral mixer.

First mix: Combine water, starter, wholemeal honey and oil. No rest

Second mix: Add white flour and mix for 7 minutes Rest for 4 minutes

Third mix: Add salt and mix for 7 minutes Remove into 60 litre bulk tub proof for between 8 to 12 hours dependent on the day.


Make up loaves to 870g Boules Put on baking trays in coolroom with plastic over for 10-16 hours. Bake at 200 degrees for 55-60 minutes.


There are some questions I would like to put to the Hive mind that inhabits this well leavened place.


Does this project interest you as bread makers? Do you care what people think a loaf of bread is worth?

Technically does my method of making bread seem reasonable to you?


From this test bed what should or could happen? I’ve been doing this work as part of my PhD research, since I’m on scholarship I consider my expenses as a way of directly giving back to the Australian tax payer who has been good enough to support me for three years.


I’m curious about the increased interest in people about sourdough. Besides the increase in baking workshops what other ways have people been spreading the word? I’d also be interested in what a lesson plan from Sourdough workshops. I can’t afford to start paying to go along just to satisfy my curiosity about how to teach people about Sourdough.


Bake Well, Chow

269 users have voted.


HopesHope 2011 September 24

I've been "swapping bread for stuff" for awhile now, here, where I live.   I swap at the health food store, taxi for fares, and the beauty salon for haircuts and products.   


It works out well... I save money...


In the old days, swapping bread for stuff, use to be called "bartering. "  


I think it's awesome that people can swap things. for good bread,     If I sell my bread which I do from time to time, I dont' sell it at an expensive price, I make it affordable for all to have if they choose to.  


Nice to read that others are bartering also...

martin_prior's picture
martin_prior 2012 April 3

 Here in Malaysia we are now exchanging our breads and cakes for silver coins. Value for value. We are part of a larger group that regularly trades using gold and silver coins. We meet each week to hold a local market and a state market each month.

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