Plötzblog is a popular German blog by Lutz Geißler, focussing on the art of baking bread. In fact, the blog owner’s motto is: “Baking a good bread is like nurturing love. You have to take your time with it.” With almost 900 detailed and tested recipes for all kinds of both German and international bakegoods, Lutz’s Plötzblog is an important contribution to the culture of baking. We’re lucky to have him on the phone for a short interview.
Ileu e.V.: Hi Lutz! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
What motivated you to bake your first bread?
Lutz Geißler: My studies at the university. I’m a geologist and therefore had to spend one whole year in the lab. After some time, you feel like you’re going out of your mind… I needed something to take my mind off work. So I started baking my first rolls, but I really can’t remember how they were. Somehow my first baking experience got erased (laughs).
How do you keep up your motivation?
Mainly, it’s the baking itself. At first it was the practical aspect of baking as well as the important side effect of relaxation and psychological detachment. In fact, it’s not my many readers who keep up my motivation: It is very much intrinsic and arises from within myself. I kind of feel the need to bake bread, it’s so much fun. And there is still so much to try and to discover!
What is it that drives your readers to bake?
Mostly, I get feedback at my baking seminars. The participants, much like myself, enjoy the relaxing facet of baking and working with bread. But interestingly, there is also a very pragmatic aspect: They enjoy bread of high handmade quality, which cannot always be provided by mass producing bakeries. Some villages don’t have a bakery: Some people simply decide to bake their own bread.
Do community and sharing play a role for you in baking bread?
Well, it is in the nature of things that I’m sharing my bread. Most of the time a bake quite a lot and could never eat it all by myself. So I invite neighbours and friends to come over and pick up some loafs of bread or any other bakegood.
For us at Bread connects, bread can serve as a medium for communication through the common act of baking. Therefore, it can overcome language barriers and cultural obstacles. Have you made similar experiences?
Oh yes, certainly. It doesn’t take a lot of words in order to bake together. Two years ago, I went to Albany with a good friend from Austria, who also gives baking seminars at a hut in the Austrian alps. We visited several local bakeries and most of the time there was no way of communicating verbally, as didn’t speak any common languages. But still, it was no problem at all: Through bread and baking we came in contact immediately and didn’t realize the lack of a common language. Thus, bread can certainly overcome language barriers in a very practical way. I think this is the case for almost all cultures and languages: Almost anyone knows bread, they also know it’s made of flour and water. There is not so much more that needs to be said.
Do you see yourself in some kind of social responsibility? There are quite a few people reading you blog and books everyday.
That maybe a little much. I always try to keep it a little more down. Of course there are other people in the field who commercialize the whole topic around bread and baking, always trying to maximize their profit. In this respect, I see my responsibility in communicating what I find fascinating about bread. I bake a lot and share my opinions on the topic, without trying to force people to share my view. I try to add a little humility to the process. I don’t claim to have the right opinion, which seems not to be the case for current social media trends. I offer information, but it is not important to me if people agree.
Do you travel internationally concerning your activities in baking and bread?
Meanwhile quite frequently. Until now, I gave seminars in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, for two years I’ve been travelling to Norway, as well. This year I’m going to Japan and Korea.
How did these international contacts emerge?
In the case of Japan, two female Japanese bakers participated in a baking course in Saxony, Germany, two years ago. They published a Japanese book on German baking and most of the recipes had been taken from my blog. Consequently, they asked me to visit them in Japan and give a course on German baking. In the case of Korea, a Korean baker translated my first book in Korean and invited me to give a seminar for Korean bakers. Sometimes things happen very fast!
Dear Lutz, thank you for your time and for the interesting interview!
Have a look a Lutz’s Plötzblog: