The Hippo


Jul 21, 2019








Butter Biscuits

Courtesy of Martin Philip; taken from his book Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter, unsalted
1 cup and 1½ teaspoons buttermilk
Set your oven rack on a rung in the top third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by 18-inch sheet tray, or line it with parchment paper. Slice the butter into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Chill until use. Weigh and chill the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the cold butter, tossing to coat with the dry ingredients. Press the butter pieces between your thumb and forefingers into small flat pieces, or “leaves.” Add the buttermilk and mix gently until combined. The dough should be firm and barely cohesive. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a ¾-inch-thick rectangle. Fold the dough in thirds as you would a letter and gently roll or pat into a rectangle. Repeat this process once more if the dough isn’t cohesive. Lightly flour the top of the dough and cut it into circles with a sharp 2-inch biscuit cutter, or square the sides and edges and cut into 8 to 10 even squares with a chef’s knife. Place the biscuits onto the sheet tray. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating after 14 minutes, until the biscuits are golden.
Breaking Bread with Martin Philip
When: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord
Cost: Admission is free; copies of the book will be available for $35 with the opportunity to have them signed

Born and bread
Baker debuts new book at Gibson’s

By Matt Ingersoll

 That there is great value in foods that are handmade is one of the main themes highlighted in baker Martin Philip’s new book, Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes.

Philip, who is head baker at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, will be presenting the book at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 5:30 p.m. Released on Oct. 31, the book interweaves prose about Philip’s life with 75 original recipes of breads, pastries and desserts that he’s crafted throughout his career.
“There is something important in all of us to be connected to making something,” Philip said. “Baking is nice because I feel like it’s somewhat at the intersection of handwork and being by yourself, but while still being connected in the fabric of community.”
The book contains elements of both a memoir and a cookbook and serves multiple purposes.
“You can use is as a reference to quickly pick up and make whatever it is you want to make, or you can frame your own experience from my experience of that recipe,” Phillip said. “At least for me, that is rich reading, when you have something that ties a food to a place, and where there’s that intersection of narrative and craft.”
Philip comes from the Ozark Mountains of northwestern Arkansas, where he lived until he was 18. Although he did not actually gain professional baking experience until joining King Arthur Flour as an entry-level baker 11 years ago and working up through the ranks, his career and recipes draw inspiration from memories of his mother and grandmother baking at home.
“I had actually been planning on having a career in classical music of all things … and then later I had taken a banking operations job in New York,” he said. “I was kind of in a place where I needed change and had always been moved by baking and by doing something with my hands. So next thing you know, I traded it all for a job at King Arthur.”
He also cites the farm-to-table aspect of restaurants as an inspiration for the book.
“I sort of talk about how the … movement is associated with we as humans finding sort of a joy in the mystery of transformation when we see it occur with food,” he said.
Readers will encounter a variety of recipes presented chronologically as Philip had crafted them throughout his life. He details experiences from when he left Arkansas to his time in New York, then upon his career as a baker at King Arthur Flour and later competing on Team USA of the SIGEP Golden Cup in Rimini, Italy.
“It’s quite a funky structure in that there are easy ‘walk up and bake’ recipes … and then once the story gets to the point where I’m competing on the U.S. World Cup team, the recipes are as complicated as you can expect,” he said. “But everything’s in the book under one roof, like flatbreads, hummus, baba ghanoush, crackers and pancakes. It’s a broad swath.”
The last third of the book, Philip said, is told more in a how-to format, including technical content on useful tools and ingredients in baking.
At the event at Gibson’s, Philip will read a few sections of narrative from the book, answering questions, signing copies, and even bringing an assortment of fresh artisan breads for people to try.
“You can acquire skills and knowledge more quickly if you’re focused and work on it every day,” he said, “and for me, it just made sense to look at things from that lens with breadmaking.”

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