Our very good friend Walter just came by and told us the great news: His new baker from Austria is in town and works for Vienna Bakery. So now Nepal is one step closer to civilization…
The story made it to The Himalayan yesterday
KATHMANDU: It has always been about the little details — a simple compliment, blushing while thinking about a stranger who caught your attention, smiling for no apparent reason, being caught off guard when you hear your favorite song… but somehow life has its way to throw a veil on these facades and bury it somewhere to be discovered later someday, someday!
Lucky ones, once in their lifetime, succeed to unveil, that ‘almost’ lost facet. One among the lucky few is 76-year-old Heinrich Johannes Passmann, Bakery and Pastry Master from Germany. He discovered this detail at the age of six.
His father had a bakery shop in Germany, established in 1927, and Heinrich absorbed everything like a sponge. At such a tender age, he knew he wanted to be in this profession — creating something beautiful from dough. And the best part about baking for him is “dough to work with it and the feeling that it emancipates and creating something out of it”.
With such an experience awaiting him, he stepped in to his father’s shoes in 1969 and baked his first creation — Fresh Cheese Cream Cake with raspberry and rum topped with eggnog at the age of 17. At that age what made him sure that the recipe would work? “When I read any recipe or think of certain ingredient, I can figure out the taste,” he answers.
Again ignoring a possibility for a simple answer, you tend to question, so when you are in a bad mood, how do you bake? “I don’t, I play the piano instead. My creation reflects my happy mood,” he replies.
For many, baking can be a mystery, but it’s more about accuracy and care of the ingredients, noticing the dough rising time “depending on season as time varies” and then the oven temperature. Heinrich stresses on the three essential components to make a good bakery product “raw materials, technique and again oven, which is very important”. He also makes sure not to use any chemicals while baking.
While sharing all this, Heinrich suddenly gets up, walks away and vanishes into a room and one can presume it to be kitchen. But he doesn’t take long and brings bread with him. He cuts a small piece from the loaf, hands it over gesturing for one to taste. You take a bite, but don’t know what to expect. He then explains, “95 per cent of taste is from the crust, if the crust is good so is the bread.”
The fluffiness of the bread assures the freshness. He then presses the bread and it easily bounces back. “This shows the bread is fresh.”
This is a small detail he shares from his experiences. Heinrich will train the staff of Vienna Bakery Cafe, opposite St Mary’s School, Jhamsikhel, during his stay in Kathmandu for almost two months about product, hygiene, technique and quality. Soon such standard products can be bought even from the bakery’s another outlet at Bhainsepati.
But for now you can create simple bread at your home for/with your loved one. Perhaps in the process you will unknowingly unveil your ‘almost’ lost facet.