Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Bad Day - the Look & Why Canada is the Best

I know it seems weird.

Especially for somebody like me who talks so much, but I can tell you that the pinnacle moments in my life have happened without conversation.

The best moments take place when two people become so squished in agreement that all they have to do is exchange a look that conveys understanding.

A few examples are......

When the doctor informed me on Thanksgiving Day that my wife might die -

Holding onto my daughter and marching her down the aisle when she got married -

Watching my son lead the Highland Scots off the football field after winning the Twin Cities Championship -

These were just a few moments in my life where words would not suffice.

Many years ago I had a supervisor who was instrumental in teaching me advanced sourdough techniques.

In many respects he introduced me to my "Bride Dough."

I've had a career beyond wonderful, and most of that certainly wouldn't have come to pass had he not taken time to teach me his art.

For years we worked together. Like a puppy dog I followed him to different bakeries serving as his assistant.

Now that I think of it, one thing that might surprise some of you is that Klecko has never felt comfort sitting on top of the pyramid.

Over the years I have turned down more promotions than I have accepted.

Some people strive to become the King of Turd Island, but I can assure you that I have always preferred sweating to negotiating.

But anyways, me and this mentor got into an argument around 5 or 6 years ago.

It turned out bad.

Things were said (from my side at least) that were not meant, but I was angry and stressed out and lost control.

Sometimes one bad day has enough impact to cause irreparable damage, and in this came it almost did.

My mentor got smart, got out of baking and became a government worker where he gets a pension and benefits.

During the last year he has been taking the bus to work, and often times our paths would collide.

When I spied him....I would slam on the brakes of the bread mobile, pick him up and drop him at his place of business.

At first it was a little Awkward, but if 2 tribes can agree to disconnect from drama, and act civil....reconciliation can be achieved w/o too much effort.

On a recent commute together, my mentor explained to me that he has a new flour that he's been jerking with at home, its called Triticale.

He went on to explain that this flour was a hybrid or fusion between wheat and rye. The protein levels are superior, and for reasons unknown to me, the nutrients are much better than if you blended rye and wheat that had already been milled.

I asked where this stuff came from and in the voice of a college professor, or maybe even that kid in 8th grade study hall, he spilled his knowledge with delight.....

"Well like all good things, it comes from Canada. Not only is their crop selection advanced, but their milling is stellar, Have you ever noticed that the Canadians don't have drug wars on their borders. Their government is smart enough to see the value in having them grow hemp."

I didn't know the part about the "Weed", but I also chimed in that in addition to having the coolest national anthem and flag, the Canadian farmers were the ones who kick out all the patent flour to the French, Italian and American bakers for their lean doughs.

So I'm sitting at his dining room - butcher block table and my buddy leans in from the kitchen and tosses me a Triticale Batard.

Its wrapped in a see through plastic bag, and if I hadn't been told what it was, I might have been duped into thinking it was a honey wheat loaf.

So now I throw it a couple inches in the air, catch it and repeat the process several more times to determine the batard's weight.

"A pound 4 ounces?" I asked.

Then I get a huge smile....

"You are off by an ounce, they were scaled at 19 ounces."

Then that moment of silence came.

That defining moment where mending could take place.

I think both of us took a special pride that we understood each others "bread greatness" LOL.

I know that sounds ego driven, and I swear to Polish Christ, it is not meant to be.

All I am saying is both of us have worked a life time in a field that we care deeply about, and you know what....neither of us need a single other persons opinion to validate this.

Knowing you are the best eclipses vanity and accolades by a long shot.

This certainty shrouded us in a dining room that. The answer to a 5 year falling out was simply 2 bakers and 1 loaf of bread.

It just couldn't have gone down any other way.

I'm going to give you the recipe so....you're welcome.

Ludke's Triticale Loaf

Sponge - (this will be liquid)

2 cups Bread Flour
2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Yeast.....blend together and leave in a Tupperware or glass receptacle at room temp for 8 hours.


2 1/2 cups Triticale
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat
1 cup Bread Flour
1 tbsp Oil
2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 tsp Yeast
3/4 cup Water
Also add the entire Sponge listed above.

Additional Comments.

First off, if you have trouble finding Triticale, look online or a co op, these are your best options.

Also, when you mix this dough, be prepared for it to bee just a wee bit soft.

Might I suggest that you bake them on one of those Chicago Metallic 1/2 baguette pans? They are the ones that fit two loaves of bread. The pan is almost shaped like a "W".

This is helpful because often times when bakers bake in bread pans or bread forms, they cannot have easy access to the bottoms of the loaf. That is not good, it is easy to wreck grain breads due to under developed bottoms.

Good Luck!


  1. Klecko... in deference to the Canadian connection I must insist that I leave my igloo for one afternoon, ride up to St. Agnes on my Skidoo and knead some serious Tritical with you, my American soul mate. I will bring maple syrup, you provide the overdeveloped calves and we will call it even. I smuggle 50% of the loaves back over the border. Deal? Deal.

  2. You give us such great glimpses into a field I didn't know i cared about.

    You provide just the right mix of reality and mythology.

  3. Thanks Goddess,
    I would love to bake with you. I think we would have a blast, and yes to the Maple syrup. I was just talking to a "bread club" member about this recipe and stated that I might need some kind of sweetening agent.

    @ Mike,
    Thanks for the insight. what good is reality w/o chunks of mythology sprinkled in?

  4. Klecko, Your work and words are poetry in motion, and as Mike said you give us the right mix of reality and mythology. I would love to bake with you also; but alas I am stuck in Western NY state and toil away alone.

    Keep up your writing, your inspiring!!

  5. Nancy, when you are friends with Klecko....you never bake alone. I did that during vampire hours for decades LOL, it is important to know that the ghost of Klecko see all when you are baking!!!!!!

  6. It's always comforting to know I have such a great mentoring/ghost keeping me company and that I can question when things go wrong or comment on your genius! Thanks for having my back! Love your writing, don't ever stop!

    PS: I love Home Economics too!

  7. Thank you Nancy...I won't stop, I want to be your ghost!