"It just makes people happy..."
Chats with Charlie Charlie has been volunteering at KSD for the past seven months now. Here we chat to Charlie about baking for the centre, as well as being in KSD in general
Charlie LOVES Nutella....
"The three things you can eat with Nutella that are absolutely delicious; - toast - baguettes - hefezopf "
“This is hefezopf. Hefe means yeast and zopf means braid, but you can also do it braided in a circle, thats a kranz - hefekranz.
According to my mum, it is found in Austria, Switzerland and Germany and is not only for Easter. You get in bakeries throughout the year and can eat it with butter and jam, but I eat it with Nutella. I asked my grandmother who says that it originated from the Christian tradition. For Christmas, when they went to church, every child got a small little hefekranz . Traditionally, you also bake it at Easter and put Easter eggs in the middle, and so it's called Easter Bread. You also bake it for weddings and funerals. That’s why it’s really special if you have this sweet bread on Sunday for breakfast, instead of normal bread.
It was special for me in my childhood. We have a traditional bakery in my village, it is not a chain or anything, just a small bakery. They run insanely well because they have been there for my entire life. When I was younger my father would get up early on Sunday morning to go to the bakery. The son of the baker would hand out these tiny baked pretzel buns to all the people waiting in line, as there are a lot of people waiting outside the bakery in the mornings. I think my Dad always took a while because everyone is going to the bakery on Sunday morning . This is when he would occasionally bring us back hefekranz.
Did you start baking at Samye Dzong or did you bake before?
I liked baking before. I started in primary school. I used to bake with a friend; we used to make this apple cake. I made it here as well sometime. It didn’t go that well, as I was trying to make it vegan and it didn’t rise properly. I could do it with eggs someday. Eggs are like the holy grail of baking in my opinion. When I came here I was out of practice but when I tried it I remembered how much I liked it. So it’s going to be my hobby for life now.
Do you have a favourite cake to bake?
My ultimate favourite cake is zupfkuchen (Russian crumble cake). What is really nice as well is just plain chocolate cake because it’s so easy. I used to dislike making carrot cake because you had to grate all the carrots by hand. Also with the beetroot-carrot cake you get all the beetroot on your hands, and is difficult to get off.
What is the best part about baking
Baking is so much fun because it just makes people happy. It makes me happy when people eat it and they like it.
I also love using fresh ingredients as this makes cakes have more flavour and richness to them. I feel this especially with the beetroot carrot cake, because it's got fresh beetroot, fresh carrot, fresh oranges and fresh lemons. So basically you know that all the ingredients you have are fresh. You feel like you are doing some sort of high quality thing and it feels so good. Even eating it feels good.
What is one thing you have learned, or worked on within yourself, since being at KSD?
There is tons of stuff. I used to hate working with people ( I’m not sure if you are supposed to write that in the blog ) because the people I was working I found difficult to work with. Then I came to the Tea Room and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to work there. But the tearoom is generally so chilled and I just adapted in the first few days.