...Bread.

As many of you will know, I have a history of severe depression. In general I'm now very practiced at managing it, and it doesn't impact too much on daily life these days. Sometimes though I can find it hard to remain positive, and when that happens my horizons tend to shrink and extend no further than the walls of my home.

A little while back, during a good phase, I made a decision to "do" something when next I felt under the weather. I thought, if I'm not going out, perhaps I should make a film which also doesn't go out, and was entirely contained within the walls of my home.

Those who know me well are quite aware of what I call my "passing fancies" - I often develop a sudden, deep, obsession with a new thing, hobby, toy, video game, or some such. Oddly these things often follow a downward trend in my mood, and can arguably be seen as a defence mechanism; forcing me to focus on something other than my thoughts.

The latest in this long line of passing fancies is bread-making. It's one of the very most satisfying activities I've ever had the pleasure of learning. The repetitive, soothing, action of kneading, the all pervading aroma of the baking bread, the intense pleasure of cutting into a warm, crusty, loaf and slathering it with butter. It's a truly rewarding art to learn.

So this little film focuses in on one of my fancies. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did making it.

Shot on a 5Dmk3
Edited in Premiere Pro CS6
Graded in After Effects CS6
Audio recorded with a Zoom H4N
"Clawhammer" played on a 1970's Guild D25M

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Please take a look at my new project:

mannedcamera.com

I am now able to offer Arri Amira hire at significantly reduced rates for projects where I can accompany the camera and either assist or shadow an experienced Director of Photography. Please don't hesitate to contact if you have an interesting project for which you need equipment.

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For those of a culinary bent, here's my recipe for perfect crusty French Bread:

4 cups of plain flour;
2 teaspoons of dried quick acting yeast {about 7 grams};
1 teaspoon of salt {about 3.5 grams};
1 & 1/2 cups of warm water;

{makes two}

• Add 3 & 3/4 cups of flour to a large bowl {keep the remainder for dusting};
• Add the yeast to one side of the bowl, and the salt to the other {this slows the proving process down};
• Add the water and mix until you're left with a slightly sticky dough;
• Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 8 minutes;
• Let the dough rest for 8 minutes;
• Knead for another 8 minutes {the dough should no-longer be sticky};
• Put the dough back in the bowl, having rubbed the sides with olive oil, turn the dough all round until it has a very light coating of oil all over;
• Cover the bowl in cling film {make it airtight} and leave in a warm place for 90 minutes;
• Turn the dough out onto a floured surface {it should have doubled in size by now};
• Cut into two and shape each piece into a rectangle; fold each long edge into the middle, then karate chop the middle down; repeat the fold;
• Turn the dough over so the smooth side is up, the folded side underneath, and place on some baking parchment;
• Dust with flour and add your signature slash to the top of the dough;
• Cover with a very damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes;
• Switch on your oven, to its highest setting, circa 225 C or 440 F, and put your baking stone in the centre of the oven to heat;
• Move your dough onto the baking stone {be careful, it'll be VERY hot}; throw a cup of water onto the floor of the oven to create steam, immediately closing the oven door, and bake your loaves for 20 to 25 minutes;
• Test they're done by tapping the base of the loaf - it should make a deep hollow sound.

Enjoy!

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