Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Andrew Janjigian

Andrew Janjigian

Senior Editor (Cook's Illustrated), bread baking instructor (King Arthur)

Posted in editor, food, mac, photographer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm a Senior Editor at Cook's Illustrated Magazine, and America's Test Kitchen's resident breadhead (I develop about 2/3 of the bread and pizza recipes we do in the magazine). I'm also a bread baking instructor at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT, where I teach people how to make professional quality breads and pizza in a home kitchen setting. I also like to think of myself as a fairly decent photographer; when I'm not baking bread, I probably have one of my film cameras in hand.

I have two Twitter accounts, one for my food & bread-related Tweets (though these days I find myself mostly retweeting the Trumpocalypse), and another for photography-related stuff.

What hardware do you use?

In my bread baking classes, I emphasize the idea that while technique is important, the secret to success is in having the proper tools for the task at hand. And there is a handful of tools I'm always recommending people use. I love my Danish dough whisk, which is a cross between a balloon whisk and a wooden spoon that works better than either when mixing sticky doughs by hand. And since bread baking is a precise science, and many of my recipes call for minute amounts of certain ingredients, I recommend people use this surprisingly accurate $10 digital gram scale.

Good pizza has to be baked as quickly as possible, so the crust can be crisp before the interior overcooks. Since most people don't have wood-fired ovens (lucky for me, I do), the next best thing is a Baking Steel, a quarter-inch thick slab of steel you use as a baking surface instead of a stone (steel is way more conductive than ceramic, so pies cook in about half the time on one).

For my own baking, I like to use freshly-milled flour, which I mill in a tabletop Komo Mill.

My computer is a mid-2012 15" Retina MBP, which is the best laptop ever made. I'm not all that interested in the new-fangled USB-C, Touch Bar-equipped style MPB models Apple is pushing now. It's the perfect machine for my needs, and if it craps out, I'll probably end up getting another one much like it (thankfully, for the time being at least, they are still available).

As for cameras, I am mainly a medium format shooter, and use either a Mamiya RZ67 or a Mamiya 7. The great thing about shooting on film is that professional-grade cameras that would have been beyond my means when they were current are relative bargains now (though they can be expensive to repair and maintain, for sure). I recently started shooting large format on a 60-year-old Speed Graphic.

I shoot a lot of peel-apart instant film (which I can use in both the RZ and the Speed Graphic). Sadly, my favorite film, FujiFilm FP-100c, was discontinued last year, and I don't know what I'm going to do (besides cry) when the supply I have in my basement fridge runs out.

I used to be the sort of person who upgrades his iPhone every two years, but since I don't shoot digital all that much anymore, my 6S Plus is perfectly adequate for now, and I'd rather spend that money on buying film. When I do use it for photography, I often use a Moment wide angle lens.

And what software?

For keeping track of bread formulas, I use BreadStorm on Mac, and the companion iPhone app. It's designed for bakeries to use, so it's kind of expensive for the average home baker, but I couldn't live without it, especially since I might produce 50 versions of a recipe for the magazine before it's ready for publication.

For writing stories, taking notes, and for collecting recipes, I have used nvALT for years. I like working in plaintext, and I love that nvALT is just a wrapper for a folder of text files. I keep everything in Dropbox, and use 1Writer to access my nvALT files on my phone.

For keeping track of what is happening in the world and what everyone else is up to, I use Reeder and Tweetbot, both on my Mac and my iPhone.

Like most photographers, have a love/hate relationship with Instagram (chronological feed, please), but it is where I share most of my work. On the Mac, I'm a big fan of Flume, which lets you do nearly everything you can do on the Instagram app, but with a normal-sized keyboard and screen.

What would be your dream setup?

To be honest, I'm pretty happy with the setup I have now. I just hope the tools I do prefer to use don't become hard to find, difficult to repair, etc. And I'd like it for Fuji to bring back peel apart film.