Massimiliano Liberatore

 

With 5 years of experience and specialization in “lievitati” products such as
Panettone, Pandoro or Colomba, originating from the Italian gastronomic
culture, he has provided mentoring and production planning for companies, as
well as demonstrations and courses for professionals and amateurs. He has
been trained by some of the most distinguished people in this type of products,
and he has also been able to translate and assist several master classes for
Ezio Marinato, Rolando Morandin and Yohan Ferrant.

He works strictly under the traditional Italian methodology and masters all of the
fermentation processes. He uses solid sourdoughs and submerged and drying
fermentation techniques (in Italy they’re known as “piemontese method” or
“classic method”). Furthermore, he has more than 5 years of experience in
amateur and professional bakery, and since the beginning he has been working
with natural fermentation through liquid and solid sourdoughs and other
commercial pre-ferments such as biga, poolish and yeast.

He worked for 4 years as chief baker in a distinguished bakery workroom in
Catalonia (Spain). He was part of the online communication, course and master
class planning teams in the Baking School Barcelona Sabadell (also known as
Escola Andreu Llargués). Between 2017 and 2018, he imparted a special
Panettone master class with Yohan Ferrant.

He has always sought the best education and constant learning, thus he has
been trained in several fermentation techniques for high-end bakery and pastry
by some of the most distinguished experts:

– Rolando Morandin
– Hans Ovando (World Chocolate Master 2008 and Best Dessert in Paris
2013, 2018 Winner of Copa Maya)

– Yohan Ferrant (Ambassadeur du pain)
– Oliver Hofmann (Ambassadeur du pain)
– Cyrille Van Der Stuyft (MOF 2015)
– Mickaël Chesnouard (MOF 2011)
– Ezio Marinato (Ambassadeur du pain, Europe’s baking winner 2003 and
world’s baking winner 2007)
– Thomas Marie (MOF 2007)
– Karl De Smedt (Sourdough library’s director in St. Vith, Belgium)
– Sylvain Herviaux (MOF 2011, Ambassadeur du pain)
– Ludovic Richard (MOF 2011)
– Olivier Magne (MOF 2015). He is also graduated in Marketing,
Communication and Design. Moreover, he is well known for his outreach
efforts on panettone and special breads in platforms like Facebook,
Instagram, Twitter and Youtube using the tag @aquihaybuenpan

INTERVIEW

 

Tell me about a funny memory regarding your life as a baker.

“Las November (2019), I spent almost one week learning, studying and
improving my skills about panettone in Ezio Marinato’s baking workroom in Italy
and, at one point, we had to turn six 1.5 kg panettones upside down (yes, this
type of capsule exists in Italy even though it is unknown here in Spain) using a
long stainless steel bracket (panettone holder). All of a sudden, this bracket
opened from one side and one of those panettones almost fell to the ground. I
had to hold it for 20 seconds with my bare hands while it was literally burning
me, I was laughing my guts out seeing Ezio laughing and running at the same
time while he was looking for a skewer to prick the panettone and save it from
falling. Pricking and turning the panettones upside down is a very tense
moment, so no one wants to throw away a single one after all the efforts.
Laughing was the best cure for my hands at that moment. We had to save that
panettone at all costs hahah.”

What does sourdough mean to you?

It’s a member of the family, as if it was a pet that you really love. Without
it I don’t have a job. To this day I am still sending portions of my sourdough to
bakers and confectioners in Spain and Europe because they know how I
nurture it and how efficient it is in production.

How does panettone contribute to your life?

It’s the type of product that my father would’ve loved to learn how to
make. After his death, everything came back to me and I knew that in order to
keep his memory with me I had to fight for this product. It reminds me that I
don’t have to put my arms down, because if I do so I’m letting myself, my
partner and love of my life, my kids and my father’s memory down.

What’s your favourite bread?

A semi-wholemeal bread made only with T80 BIO flour. I had the
amazing opportunity to learn from Cyrille Van Der Stuyft – MOF 2015.

If you could change anything in the bakery world, what would it be?

The rigor and self-judgement that some of the “pros of the industry” lack
of, posing, hypocrisy, there’s a lot of mafia, sadly. Most of all, lying to a
costumer that trusts you is the worst thing. Bakery in Spain doesn’t really have
a very traditional and historical base unlike Italy or France. To me, nowadays,
there are no real local Spanish masters in the industry that can be pillars like
there are in Italy. The Spanish bakery has evolved a lot the last five years and
that is thanks to experts like Yohan Ferrant and the efforts and great work from
bakers like Antonio Cepas Alonso de Benipan (Toledo). In Italy, there are two
old school pillars like Rolando Morandin or Iginio Massari, and behind that
legacy there are pros like Ezio Marinato (friend and mentor) and Vicenzo Tiri,
among others that each season stand out more and more. For this to happen in
Spain, we will need more years of teaching, not only the final costumer but the

baker professionals themselves. What you post on Instagram is completely
useless if the quality of what you’re selling is not consistent in a daily
production. Social media have affected badly in that sense, because all that
glitters is not gold.

How do you see the bakery world in the future?

That’s a very difficult question. If bakery depends on the “pro” bakers that
are always posing on TV, talking on the radio or opting for an ephemeral fame,
then the future of bakery in Spain is very dark. The problem is that there is no
consensus or real unification to elevate this craft, most of them are only here for
the personal gain, so the future is very discouraging.

Do you pass on your knowledge in bakery to your family?

Yes, mostly to my partner, Ana. She’s so patient, because when the
panettone season arrives or I start studying and practicing, she knows very well
that I will share all of my enthusiasm with her, joy and anger after every test or
product that I’m seeking to improve. My 10 year old daughter, Valeria, loves to
enjoy a good bread at home, and she values it, especially when it is time to eat
the bread that is served in her school cafeteria (laughter). In the future, if any of
my kids want to learn how the make bread or panettone from their crazy old
man, they can always count on me.

How do you balance time with your family and your profession?

A lot of discipline and planning, even though just as any other human
being, I can’t reach everything and I need more hours and days every week
(that’s very frustrating sometimes). I know confectioners and bakers that
wouldn’t have kids out of fear of not being able to keep on growing on their
professional side or out of the conflicts that may occur when trying to balance
the family life and the work life. I don’t think anyone has a perfect plan for that.

Are you the type of person that makes bread for his family or, as the
idiom goes ‘the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot’?

We make bread at home at least 3 or 4 times a week, sometimes every
day due to the online courses. A lot of times I have to give it away to our
relatives because I ran out of space in the freezer.

 

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