Sunday, February 22, 2015

About our bread...

Our bread is simple–the way bread is supposed to be. 

Our bread is made from organic, sustainably produced wheat.  Wheat is the main ingredient in bread and it is important for us to use organic sustainably produced flour in our attempt to provide the best possible loaf of bread.  Heartland Mills in western Kansas is the source of our flour.  Their sustainable practices and high quality organic flours make them a perfect fit.  Most of our breads are a combination of 2 or 3 different flours which, when combined with purified water, sea salt, and yeast, create a quality loaf.

Our bread is made slowly.  Pre-fermentation, long bulk proofing, and patiently waiting for the shaped loaf to be ready for the oven adds to the art of making our bread and to the great taste of each loaf.  From beginning to oven our breads are in process for 24 to 36 hours. This way of making bread allows the bread to develop some great flavors that are not present in quick rise breads.  The breads are leavened with one of two wild yeast cultures or with commercial yeast.  Each of these leavening options develop different flavors in the final loaf.

Our bread is hand-made.  Mixing ingredients, stretching and folding, and shaping are all done with our hands.  Bread making for us is a hands-on process, from beginning to end.  Since we are using our hands we keep our batches small and are able to pay close attention to detail every step of the way.  Gentle handling of the dough with long fermentation times allow for gluten development and open chewy crumb (irregular holes throughout the loaf).  Every loaf that comes out of our oven looks a little different; a sign that our work is more akin to art than industry.  We want our breads to be an extension of our hands in friendship.

Our bread is baked in a wood-fired oven.  We fire the oven about 18 hours before we are going to begin baking bread.  It is nice to enjoy pizza from the live fire, and then put the fire out and let the oven do its thing.  Over the next 18 hours the internal temperature of the oven will equalize and drop from 900˚ F to 570˚ F.  At this temperature it is ready for bread.  Twelve loaves at a time we load the oven and watch the shaped dough become loaves of bread.  The steam from the water in the dough along with the addition of more steam into the baking chamber helps create the sought after carmelized crust of artisan bread.  Eighty-four loaves later the internal temperature drops below optimal hearth bread baking temps and we move on to pan breads or casseroles and stews.  All this from a rather small amount of wood: that’s sustatinable.

Our bread is large enough to share.  Our loaves range in weight from 1lb. 3oz. to 1lb. 8oz.  and are either shaped in a batard (long oval loaf) or a boule (8” round loaf).  

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