Since 2016, I have milled our whole-grains in some capacity. Whether just the rye by hand when we started, or the red fife for a unique special bake, up to most recently when I was milling all our whole-grains for the wheat and rye based breads on a daily basis. That meant, at any given time the loaves on the shelf were using our own fresh milled grains and getting us closer to our optimal product we were striving to achieve.
Sadly, our mill we were using ended up biting the dust after two years in our current location of constantly daily use. I had mixed feelings on it, as it was adding even more time to my nights because of how small it was making the quantity that could be milled at one given time an issue, thus creating a longer night trying to mill everything needed for the next day’s baking. As the bakery grew, so did the need for more flour and the bottleneck I was facing just wasn't working anymore anyways.
On the other hand though, milling allowed me to have the freshest flour possible, the most nutritious bread I could ask for, and a flavor unparalleled. I was stuck in a hard place between continuing to use the best local grains possible, and drawing the line between being a baker, or a miller.
Maybe we’d just have to leave the mill on the back burner while we build our new downtown location, and perhaps, we could work on that concept again at a later time.
Then as fate would have it, baker buddy Randy George reached out about an opportunity too good to pass. Red Hen Baking was selling a beautiful, custom made 16” stone mill made by hand and encased in southern yellow pine and they needed a good home for it. Alisyn and I couldn’t say yes quick enough to the opportunity to continue our desire for fresh flour, using local grains, and providing an unrivaled product available here in town.
So there it is, being packed up in Vermont a few days after we spoke and now it seems our bakery dream is coming together slowly but surely as all the parts of the puzzle fall into place.
We have a few months ahead of us still to go, but having secured all the equipment has lifted a bit of weight from our shoulders, and it was a relief to know we didn't have to sacrifice some aspects of the operation we enjoyed just to try and make the deadlines and cost of the buildout happen.
It put us at ease as well, as the hopes and dream of the new location has been to 'continue to do what we do, just more of it'. And now, we can mill even more flour, buy even more grains from local farmers and provide even more high quality bread and pastries with the healthiest, freshest flour possible to our community.
We look forward to this new endeavor and the great flavor yet to come.
Well loafers, that is the latest, and we will keep you informed as the days go by.
The work at the shop never ends. I found myself waking up at 10:30 p.m. Friday night in order to get all the baking done for Valentine Saturday this past weekend. Yet, here I am working on the website and more on my day off when rest seems to elude me. It's a passion to the craft, perhaps. Maybe it's just being an owner/operator of a small business. Beats me, I learned not to think about it too much anymore.
If you snoop around (as I know you are doing) you will find I have begun adding individual product pages for our loaves of bread. The goal is to highlight each loaf with a picture, a short description and then some vital facts like; whole grain content, locality, crumb and flavor notes.
I hope this transparency will allow more folks to make decisions based on needs and desires in their food and allow us continuously share the knowledge we love and have our our breads and products. Our bread is and has been a defining factor of our involvement with the community in terms of nourishment and sustainability and in turn been a major role in our bakery over the years. I feel it's about time it received more attention on our end in order to share the knowledge of a good loaf!
The pastries are there too, but as I learned at the start of the pandemic -a loaf of bread goes further for a family than a cup of coffee or a croissant. So for now, bread!
Ain't that the truth?
I also have obviously added this blog as well in hopes to keep in touch more with the tremendous amount of folks who continue to support us since 2016. Goodness, to think, I used to write newsletters weekly when this started. But as the business grew, so did my need in other areas. Hopefully I can quench my love of writing and sharing here in the coming months, and keep the fiercely loyal informed of the bakeries going-ons as well.
Thanks again for supporting us. I consider myself lucky that working this amount is a blessing for my family, myself and the community we are working to support. Someone once told me when I said I was tired at the shop, "You could be slow and close the businesses doors. That's the alternative".
And there you have it folks. Another slap in the face from reality.