For our very first edition of “A Talk With”, we went to the atmospheric baking studio of Danish sourdough baker; David “Breadhead” Milberg. The topic of conversation? Quality, clothes and the crust dreams are made of.
By Garment Makers: What state of mind does baking place you in?
David: It is hard to describe, as there is immense emotion put into baking, especially regarding sourdough.
It is a living organism, hence you are never 100% in control, and you will never gain certainty about how the breads turn out, before you open the oven and the final product appears.
If the bread has risen to perfection, and has gained the right crust, euphoria strikes you. On the other hand, if the bread has not risen correctly, that be too little or crooked, it really affects my mood, because there was put so much time and love in it the day before.
By Garment Makers: What does the quality of your equipment and ingredients mean to you?
David: It means the world to me, and I wish I could say that I utilize the best flour, equipment etc., but I had a financially humble beginning, and had to buy second hand, and compromise in some aspects. I aspire to strive for perfection in my product, and that I someday expand into another setting that allows for me to use the best money can buy.
By Garment Makers: Which sensory experiences inspire your baking?
David: My inspiration is kind of a closed ecosystem, as my inspiration comes from opening the oven, and seeing that perfect loaf of bread arising. The combination of having tamed the untamable, an organic living creature, and created a puristic bread that only contains flour, water and salt. To see the bread slowly rise to perfection and reveal the darkening crust running along the spine and the complex smell that enters your senses right before tasting it.
This motivates me to create bread that is just as perfect the next day. This is seldom the case though, as you can never create two sourdough breads that are identical - that is the beauty of it.
By Garment Makers: Do we currently experience a change of culture in Danish baking?
David: In my opinion, people have started to think more locally, especially after Covid-19, where one was confined to work within the geographical limits given. A number of small micro bakeries has arisen, and the people creating them are the ones who are eager to perfect their trade and make the bread dreams are made of.
Moreover, I believe people care more and more about the quality of the bread they consume, which, in my opinion, has not always been the case.
By Garment Makers: Do you see a visible parallel between great bread and well-crafted clothes?
David: The connection is quite visible, especially from a craftsmanship point of view. Whether you create garments, technology or any other product, you experience a long initial period where you through emotions and skills prepare the product, and it is not before you receive the final product you can asses whether your thoughts have been a success. It is exactly the same with preparing dough, and anticipating opening the oven, and seeing if you have succeeded.
By Garment Makers: Moment of truth; What makes a great bread?
David: Perfect acidity mixed with floral sweetness. Great roux, crispy crust (a bit to the dark side) and an open crumb mixed with wholegrain.
By Garment Makers: How is your morning; do you have any rituals?
David: Wake up at 05:30 am, hurry in the shower and race off on my bike towards the bakery. This way i can get the loaves and buns in the oven as fast as possible, and create a new batch of dough for the next day while i enjoy my morning coffee from Nord Roastery in the studio.