It’s National Bread Week, and we’ve had the privilege of spending some time with Galway’s very own Jimmy Griffin, of Griffins Bakery, and his Monster Loaf! By far the biggest and most impressive loaf of bread we have seen, and one with an incredible story behind it.
Jimmy kindly bought one of his masterpieces to the launch of National Bread Week last week at Bord Bia, where we learned all about the Monster Loaf, and how he makes it. Jimmy’s Monster Loaf measures up at just short of 2 meters, and needs well over an hour to bake, which means a huge oven is a necessity… The bread’s weight is also as impressive as its length, weighing in at a whopping 8.5kg! The inspiring Conger Loaf has now become somewhat of a local legend and is supplied to lots of local restaurants and cafes. Most importantly it is enjoyed daily by the customers of Griffins Bakery, as they slice it and use it for all of their sandwiches!
The Monster Loaf was created as the result of a serious diving accident that Jimmy was involved in, in 2013. On a scuba diving excursion with friends off the Killary Fjord in County Galway, and at a depth of 35 meters, Jimmy suffered a horrific attack. Here’s the story in his own words;I suppose nostalgia can be a distant memory in most cases, it can also represent a recent memory of life changing magnitude. My story involves a serious diving accident, where I was attacked by a 2-meter conger eel while scuba diving at a depth of 35 meters three years ago. I suffered a horrific injury where I lost most of my left cheek and part of my lower lip. Unable to surface immediately due to the danger of decompression sickness – ‘the bends’, my circa 10-minute decompression saw my life flash before my eyes. I got to the surface badly injured, but safely decompressed. During the ascent, I reflected on my life, my wife and my children; nothing else mattered. Following extensive reconstructive surgery, I went back to work a new man, thankful I had survived my ordeal and I decided to celebrate my survival by marketing our now famous conger bread as my personal icon of survival. Today, the Conger Sourdough Bread has become a beacon of hope and strength in the face of adversity, and now one of our biggest selling breads. I have also been blessed in being invited abroad to bake this creature; where the Conger is given life in various countries using all types of flour. The bread symbolizes survival, hope and unity for me, it also represents the human spirit, the will to survive and the importance of family, who consoled my thoughts, and drove me to survive during my painful ascent back to life that fateful day in June 2013. Conger Bread will always evoke a special personal nostalgia as a reminder of the day I was given a second chance at life and remaining with my family. I celebrate this event daily through this wonderful bread