Archive by Author | owlcreekbreadworks

Fall is here

It’s been several of weeks since I last sent an email out. We’ve been pushing hard at the Farmers Market and we’ve done a couple of other events. A week ago Sunday we participated in an event at the Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery. They are close by, and the vineyard is beautiful, as is the patio and tasting room. Check them out on facebook and head down for one of their many dinners.
It’s officially Fall, and this past Saturday the air was cold and the wind was blowing, but the Watauga Market was busy despite the weather. Don’t assume that because your garden is dead there is nothing at the market. Vendors are still loaded with produce and the market is open through November.

Vollkornbrot.

Vollkornbrot.

In the picture above, Vollkornbrot.
100% rye. Whole rye berries, cracked rye, cracked malted rye, fresh ground rye flour, rye sourdough, and a bit of honey. Tasty?
Very.

You should make (insert product name here)! It will really sell!

I have a motto when it comes to the bake shop. I don’t make anything I don’t personally like.

Some of you are correct. There are things I could make that would sell very well, but either I don’t like the product, or I don’t like the technique (too time-consuming or messy), so I don’t want to mess with it.

There are some things that I could make but I won’t because somebody else is already doing it, and I don’t want to step on their toes. That might not be a great business decision in your eyes, but that’s me.

Sometimes you are wrong. That product you think would really sell, well it won’t. You see, we’ve tried it already, or we’ve seen others try it. Not going there again.

So, I make what I enjoy making, and I’m glad that you enjoy it as well. 

Here’s something I enjoy making.

P1160158

Whole Grain Ciabatta with Herbes de Provence. Want some?

 

Do you have (insert name here) bread this week?

“It only takes a small oven to produce a half-baked idea.” ~ Brandy Brandon

At least one thing I make each week doesn’t live up to my expectations, or it fails outright. I can blame ingredients on occasion, and the humidity might be a significant factor at other times. It might be because of injury (two weeks ago), or mechanical failure (mixer mishap last week), However, in the end, it falls to me. Injury or mechanical failure can usually be attributed to inattention to detail or circumstances. 

Problems with ingredients or humidity might be a little out of personal control, but again, attention to detail can help overcome those as well.

Attention to detail. It’s important.

Do you bake all this yourself?

Yes. I do.

I do have some help in the shop. In the past Michael Kelley assisted me, and that young man is a highly skilled assistant. Madison, my lovely daughter, is working full time for me now and learning the trade. I have help mixing and prepping materials, but in the end, every loaf of bread, every bagel, every croissant, etc., is my responsibility.

So yes, I bake it all, despite how incredulous that might seem to some.

*Except the cookies. Jacob does those. They are his private enterprise, so when you buy his cookies at the market, you are directly supporting an industrious 13 year old.

Do You Make Anything Gluten-Free?

No.

I’m a baker, not a pastry-chef.

If I was a pastry chef I would make many g-free items, as well as gluten-heavy items.

If you are celiac, I feel for you. My wife is celiac. I don’t bake bread for her, though, either. I can’t in my shop. There is no way to determine whether or not I’ve cleaned everything well enough to make something that is safe for her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ogre. I make very good gluten free treats like clafoutis, and I’ve made several delicious gluten-free cakes (pound cakes, carrot cakes, etc.), as well as gluten free corn bread, but no gluten-free breads. I make them in the house, not in the shop. And they are for special occasions, not daily consumption. They are also not for the markets.

Logistically, I can’t bake what I do AND experiment with gluten-free items. I have a small shop (your deck is probably bigger) and limited help (my children). And frankly, I’m not really interested in learning to bake items for an extremely small portion of the population that, in the end, won’t be willing to pay the price for them. Considering the extra effort and cost of goods that go into them, it’s not a wonderful niche-market for a small-scale baker. Large scale manufacturers have a wonderful niche market in gluten free items because they market based on the fear and ignorance of consumers, and they charge exorbitant prices for the product. I’m not going to lie to you about a product and overcharge you for it.

Unless you are a diagnosed celiac, or someone suffering with autoimmune disease, and you want to discuss alternatives to gluten products, I don’t want to talk about your g-free diet. I’m a bit frustrated with folks changing their entire eating lifestyle, feeling healthier, and then saying that going gluten-free is what made the difference. Bad logic? Yeah.

Four Questions You Should Never Ask at a Farmers Market

Four Questions You Should Never Ask at a Farmers Market

I came across this great blog post last summer. Since it is ‘Farmers Market season’ once again, here you go.

This post originally appeared on SmithMeadows.com, along with other posts by Forrest Pritchard.  Pritchard  has a new book out this summer called Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm.

- See more at: http://civileats.com/2013/08/08/four-questions-you-should-never-ask-at-a-farmers-market/#sthash.PlhQv0ub.zhu7dYcI.dpuf