A big thank you

It’s been quite a journey to get playerbakes where it is today: learning the art, going to market, getting the website online, amongst other things. And beyond all those wonderful people who bought loaves early on and all you lovely customers today (the real heroes), these are those who helped get sourdough off the ground and into your hands.

Without further ado, here’s the who’s who of playerbakes and what I’m thankful for.

Ana Hidalgo de la Vega, Creative Director

Ana Hidalgo de la Vega, Creative Director

Ana designed my logo and developed my branding. As well as being a talented artist, she also is an expert when it comes to branding. If it wasn’t for her, the site would look very grey indeed. We live together in Warwick Avenue and are partners in crime (and life). Lucky me.

@anahdelavega

Antigua Artisan Bread

A talented baker based out in LA County. Despite being a busy man he took the time to answer any questions I had and offer some invaluable advice. Thanks to him I tried making the chocolate sourdough (and what would life be without that?), taking my baking to a whole new level.

antiguaartisancottagebakery.com

@antiguaartisan

Jeremy Player and Illyahna Johnson, nutritionists extraordinaire

My brother and his charming fiancée. They are both very qualified nutritionists and have been great in advising me with certain directions to take with recipes and getting to the bottom of sourdough’s benefits on a microbiological level.

Jeremy also took the photos for the site.

@jplayersp

@illyahna

Lewis and Jools O’Sullivan

Lewis and Jools O'Sullivan

Consistently on hand for advice and feedback: Lewis is a good friend who’s ever generous with advice and feedback and with Jools helped put me in the right direction with commercial kitchens.

Nick Lazarides, Cyprus Kitchen

Octopus salad

I used to work with Nick back when he was selling dreams to companies in the form of retail awards. A charming man, a talented entrepreneur and good friend. Without Nick I would not have experience under a marquee tent and I would still be wishing and not doing. He also is one of the organisers for E17 village market based in Walthamstow – if you ever need something delicious to do on a Saturday afternoon.

www.cypruskitchen.co

@cypruskitchensc

@E17villagemarket

Roman, Flour and Spoon

Roman, Flour and Spoon

I’ve been shadowing Roman in early 2017 in E17 village market. A fantastic source of advice and an ambitious baker, he’s planning to open his own café/bakery soon.

www.flourandspoon.uk/

@flour_and_spoon

My parents

Mark and Nicola Player

Where would a thank you post be without mentioning this dynamic duo? You may recognise my mum from a picture on the homepage, they have both been wonderfully supportive with my dad even taking up sourdough as well. Mad props.

@nickp2015

@markp6118

Worthy mentions

Tartine (the cookbook that got it all started), Eni Gjondedaj (my first customer), Nicola Goulsbra (my second customer and gluten-free guinea pig) and everyone at Infopro Digital who have been buying bread from me since the beginning.

How old is the playerbakes starter culture?

Starter culture

The playerbakes starter culture was first mixed together in early 2016. It took four days before it started showing signs of fermentation (just a few bubbles). It then took a good month and a half before it was producing loaves that rose even a little.

It’s made of flour (50% wholemeal, 50% strong white bread flour) and water and is the home to lacto bacilli, a probiotic bacteria. It’s this that gives the bread that sourdough flavour. It’s this that makes the bread rise.

Before we lived in the low cost, high production world that we are now sourdough was the only way to make bread. With the rise of fortified breads, dried yeast and the need to feed nations that had suffered the scourge of rationing after WWII, this noble form of baking took a back seat.

The first records of baking bread are back in Ancient Egypt [1], with the first culture to have been thought to have been a result of flour and water left on the side on a warm day. Since then not much has changed as bakers around the world and through the ages have followed a relatively similar method.

It’s this great history that really makes sourdough so special: we’re tapping into past civilisations and remembering the roots of early human cooking. The fact it’s so much better for us is just an added benefit.

[1] https://h2g2.com/edited_entry/A2791820