This post is dedicated to Mark and Ellen, Jaxon’s parents, because they are responsible for making my man into an incredible bread baker.
It all started when Jaxon was born and raised in his parents’ bakery, helping out and taking treats to the Madison farmer’s market. Since then, the bakery was sold, but both parents kept up their baking and eventually Mark and Jackson built an outdoor bread and pizza oven in their back yard. Over the years, Mark perfected his sourdough bread recipe until he became known for the bread around the family’s community. When I was first introduced to Mark’s bread, I didn’t think much about bread in general – I even tried to avoid it due to calories – stupid teenager!
It was a Fall weekend, it was my second time meeting Jaxon’s parents and first time in his house. Friday evening, we had just driven the three hours North that it took to get from Beloit College to Jaxon’s home. We brought a bunch of friends along in the car and much of the ride there was spent sharing stories of how wonderful Jaxon’s community was and how eager they all were to have some of Mark’s bread. As the only freshman in the car, I found everything they said intimidating, yet amusing.
Soon enough we arrived to utopia – as all our friends made it sound. Indeed the place was like nothing I had ever seen. The weekend was spent picking apples, making apple cider, harvesting in the garden and then Sunday came – baking day. By mid-morning the breads were out of the oven and we were all waiting with anticipation – my first bite was like nothing I had ever tried, a little sour inside and a perfect crust embraced it. After that day, my bread expectations rose 500% – the reason why Jax and I spent the next 3 years trying to copy his dad’s bread.
About a year ago I gave up, accepting the fact that the only place where I would have such a great bread was at my parents-in-law’s house. My expectations lowered and they did not even rise up when Ellen and Mark brought some sour dough starter with them during their visit to Ecuador. Soon after they left back to the states, Jax started baking again (alcohol for our boat oven was too expensive to ever feel great about big baking projects) and within a couple days of moving into La Casita, Jax was producing Mark’s bread! He studied our little oven and his dad’s notes and on his first try he got it right. At this point, we have encountered many people who have requested his bread and complemented him on his baking. My mom is now on a “loaf per week” order and one of her friends has said that she’ll pay us to come to Galapagos and build her a bread oven and make her some bread (one of four people that have placed similar oven requests).
So, thank you Mark and Ellen. Thanks to you two and the amazing child you raised up, I can enjoy the most spectacular bread in the world.