the next big thing in bread

happy spring, chickens

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we’re about a quarter of the way through 2015, ya know what they say when you’ve been having fun… if i do say so myself, and i do, i’ve been having the best year of my life. i’ve just been soaking up so much learning about baking and living and loving and it’s landed me in a place where i’m so very aware of how much more there is to learn, how much richness there is to be sopped up out of these moments of life. is that too gushy for you? i hope so, but in a nice kinda way that makes you giggle, not think, ‘jeez that baker boy has been spending too much time smelling roses or something.’ anyway.

the past few weeks have been particularly inspiring, and have led me to something i’m very excited to share, something that i dare say may just be the next big thing in bread.

but hold your horses there kiddos, i can’t just go cutting right to the chase, that would really spoil all the fun now wouldn’t it? come along, hold my hand and i will take you on a little journey with me so you can fully appreciate my tale. i’ll start at no particular starting point, and by that i mean with a trip out to see Mr. Dave Miller.

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every time i hang with Dave i learn something simple and powerful. it usually involves something that we’ve talked about before, something he’s mentioned in the past that i wasn’t ready to understand, but then all of the sudden it clicks into place and i find myself saying, ‘ohhhhhhhhhh, that’s what you meant!! of course.’

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other than taking a breather from SF life and enjoying the deep pleasure of gas station cappucinos with one of my lovely bakers, Ms. Blair Cardigan Smith (pictured below), i was reminded of the importance of starting each and every loaf with the highest quality flour you can find, which is much more complex than i could have ever imagined. this involves sourcing your grains well, but then you also have to mill your grains well. neither of these things are easy to do. it seems like the deeper into grains and milling and bread that i get, the more there is to learn. and that’s just fine by me, because if there’s one thing i don’t like, it’s being bored.

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i came back from Dave’s and had a lovely week baking bread with my oh-so-very badass crew at the bakery, and then the next weekend i took a trip out to the woods with a group of dear friends, led by my dearest heartbrother Rafi. together we built a sweat lodge.

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i’d never built a sweat lodge, nor sweat in a sweat lodge, but i am a full convert – it was one of the most powerful and nourishing things i’ve done.

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if the opportunity presents itself, hear my voice in the back of your mind saying, ‘it’ll be worth it.’

back to the bakery for another week of bread baking and jogging in golden gate park and hanging out with my beautiful pregnant wife (yup, t-minus 2 months my dudes!!). and then off on another adventure, this time to the east coast. specifically, i just returned from an epic trip to North Carolina + Virginia where i visited with a handful of bakers, some of whom i have literally met in my dreams. goodness gracious, i was absolutely floored by the welcoming i received by each and every one of them.

i started out visiting Dave Bauer at Farm + Sparrow, right outside of Asheville. Dave’s been milling his flour and sourcing grains direct from local farmers for about a decade, and my my my, he knows what he is doing.

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he’s a master of his craft, and i feel truly privileged to have been able to spend a few days in his company. can’t wait to go back.

after Farm + Sparrow I head to Raleigh, where i had the pleasure of hanging out with the crew at Boulted Bread.

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these boys are making some phenomenal bread + pastry, and my only regret is that i had barely 24 hours in their company.

after getting in a quick car accident i proceeded to Richmond, VA, where i spent about 16 hours in the ridiculously loving arms of Evrim Dogu and crew at Sub Rosa Bakery.

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Evrim and I are quite obviously long lost brothers, and we quickly delved deep into some of life’s more personal and mysterious topics, such as Peter Chang’s Chinese food, the tragedy of of love long lost and the resulting flickering eye lids, and whether or not “2000” should ever be uttered following the word “pizza.” i miss you already Evrim.

ok, so, enough of that trip down memory lane – are you ready for it? i’m not sure you are….

so we all know that overcooking your veggies leaches many of the most nutritious bits, while also rendering them less pleasing to your palette. for many foods, the optimum way to ingest is to avoid cooking altogether, to just eat that carrot/kale/tomato/sunflower seed raw. over the last year i have been exploring what this could look like in our bakery, and today i am ready to share some of these discoveries.

since i started baking bread i have always favored the ‘bold bake,’ appreciating the nuanced flavors/textures/aromas it allows you to coax from the loaf. however, as is the trend in coffee roasting, i’d become curious about what it might mean to go for a lighter bake, to let the flavors of the grain speak for themselves, instead of being overshadowed by those produced during caramelization and the maillard reaction.

we’ve been secretly experimenting with ‘light baking’ and while it’s proven promising, i now believe that we have stumbled upon the true next frontier in bread. my friends, i proudly present to you here and now what is sure to be the next big thing in bakeries across the world: raw bread.

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the act of baking bread dough robs it of many of its beneficial probiotic cultures, not to mention solidifying gluten into its much more abrasive form. did you know that gluten is totally harmless if it’s consumed raw? also, the wild yeast and bacteria present in sourdough culture are able to thrive fully throughout the digestive process so long as they aren’t exposed to the cruelty of baking temperatures, thereby lending a helping hand throughout the entirety of their journey through your digestive tract.

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it is for these reasons that from here on out we will not be baking our loaves, instead opting for the more nutritious raw form of sourdough bread dough.

also, i am pleased to announce that from here on out we will no longer be toasting our bread, as we believe that consuming raw toast is the superior approach.

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and you thought $4 toast was a big deal.

all my love sweethearts

<3 j

Friday Night Pizza

yo yo yo my sweet sweet sweetie pies

let’s get the big news outta the way so we can catch up…

FRIDAY NIGHT PIZZA STARTS IN FEBRUARY

pizza cornyup, Mondays have been so much fun that we’re gonna start slanging pizza on Fridays too. same deal as Mondays: 6-9pm, one type of pizza per night, $3/slice or $24/whole pie (8 slices), along with salads, chocolate chip cookies, yadda yadda yadda. so come on out for the fun – the first Friday is February 6, and then you can get your pizza every Monday and/or Friday that your little heart desires.

also a couple more fun things we got coming up –

Saturday Jan 31

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photo by by Mark Weinberg, stolen from http://oven.ly/blog/

we’re going to be hosting a couple of very talented ladies all the way from New York – Erin & Agatha, bakers and cookbook authors, will be celebrating the release of their new cookbook, Ovenly, by hanging out at The Mill all morning on Saturday 1/31 with copies of the book for sale. we’ll also be running a very special one day only collaborative toast special that may or may not include a chocolate date spread w crumbled spelt cookies on top, which Erin + Agatha make just for us… come + eat some and buy their book.

Friday Feb 13Maria Schoettler will unveil her art at The Mill. and yes, there will be pizza too. very stoked to be surrounded by her gorgeous work, it looks like this –

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and this –

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hope to catch ya around for some of these fun things.

but let’s get down to business, you and me – i’ve missed you. where the heck have you been? probably you were busy chopping down your christmas tree or lighting your menorah or meditating on bodhi day or feasting for kwanzaa…? whatever your holiday of choice, i hope it was fulfilling and rejuvenating and that your 2015 is off to a tremendous start.

mine indeed is, as i spent a couple of weeks back east in Vermont w dear family + friends doing stuff like this –

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and daydreaming about stuff like this –

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and looking at stuff like this –

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I snapped that last pic from the top of Elmore Mountain. a funny little tangent – i drove my mom and step dad to the airport one morning at 4:30am. as i was driving home i all of the sudden was struck with a powerful idea – i’m going to hike to the top of Elmore Mountain and watch the sunrise!!! i pulled into a gas station and got a big cup of coffee and started amping myself up. i drove for 20 minutes then stopped at another gas station and picked up a liter of water and, what’s that sitting next to the register just begging to be brought to the top of the mountain and eaten while the sun rises? that’s right, a frikkin cadbury cream egg. yes, i’ll take one of those too please. so i keep going, get to the base of the mountain, strap on my head lamp and chug the water and put my mountain top cream egg in my pocket and start off tromping. man o man this is going to be great!! but another 30 seconds and i stop – what the heck am i doing? its zero degrees and pitch black and i am all alone and i actually don’t think i’m as tough as i think i am… i went home and went to bed, woke up and had french toast then hiked the mountain later in the day with my papa.

speaking of Elmore Mountain, i spent some great time hanging with my buddies Blair, Andrew & Kate at Elmore Mountain Bread, and just had so much fun.

IMG_6024they actually built their very own stone mill this past year, and they’ve inspired me to build our very own mill!! at least, that’s the current dream. watch out though, dreams really do come true…

love to you my dear.

<3 j

bake with us; Holiday Craft Bazaar this Thursday 6-10pm; gift my cookbook???

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alright dudes, before i get into our quest for the newest member of the JBB family, a few things of note –

Holiday Craft Bazaar, Thursday 6-10pm @ The Mill

haven’t gotten that special something for that special someone for this special time of year? been putting off buying yourself that sweet, sweet coffee mug that you’ve been wanting to find for months? feeling jealous of my totally rad indigo tie dye shirts??? have no fear, this coming Thursday 12/18 we’re having a lovely evening at The Mill in which all of your dreams will come true. members of the JBB + 4B family will be showing off their skills and making the products of said skills available for purchase to people like you and me. so come check out what we do when we’re not baking your bread or making your macchiato. we’re very good at stuff, ya know? like, for god’s sake, look at what Ryan Lee, also known as Function & Whimsy, makes in his spare time –

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and that’s just the tip of the christmas tree, if you know what i mean…

bake with us – open position starting 12/28

yup, it’s that time of year as well – we need another baker to join our ranks!! is it you? it may be, if you meet the criteria below. you may be the newest JBB crew member if –

  • you love baking bread, more specifically highly hydrated, whole grain, sourdough bread
  • you’ve got at least 6 months experience working in a professional bakery/several years experience working in professional kitchen and a serious baking habit on the side
  • you’re ready to work 3-5 days/week starting December 28
  • you can hang in an open kitchen, with curious customers always asking you things like, “what are you doing?” and then not listening to your answers
  • you have your opinions about how to do things, but you’re open to learning how to do stuff better, quicker, and in a variety of ways
  • you like working in a tight little bakery where you’re never more than 3 feet away from another person

position begins in 2 weeks, December 28, so please e-mail me a resume and explain why you’re the perfect fit ASAP to jobs@joseybakerbread.com

gift my cookbook???

i’ve been beside myself with glee to be hearing from so many people about how much joy they’re getting from my book. i even made a few lists for folks’ favorite cookbooks of the entire year!! that just about made me cry with joy, check it out:

don’t be shy, go ahead and buy it for that buddy of yours who’s always wanted to bake bread. maybe it’ll change their life. just look what happened to me.

lastly, just gotta share how stoked i am about a new bread we’re making –

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California Heirloom is our newest loaf, and it’s made with 100% California grown organic wheat. specifically, it’s made with an heirloom variety called Sonora, and it’s grown by one totally badass farmer named Sally Fox, out in the Capay Valley just a couple hours outside San Francisco. i drove out to visit Sally a few weeks ago and loaded up 500 lbs in the back of my truck, and here in the bakery we’ve been having a blast figuring out how to turn it into the most delicious bread we can. we’re only making a handful of loaves each day here, but if you’re lucky enough to see it on the shelf, i suggest you grab it and give it a try. i think Sally would be proud.

peace out sweethearts, hope to catch ya Thursday. or if you know what’s good for you i’ll see you Monday night, for some of this –

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<3 josey

thanks for giving

ok, first things first – i just turned 32 and i am loooooving it –

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can you believe those shorts? my lady knows me so well.

but that’s not the point of this – no no no. so – FIRST THINGS FIRST – this week is Thanksgiving, and i am thankful for so many things, i can’t even begin to tell you. my wife, my mom + dad, my brother, my amazing team of bakers at The Mill, stuff like this:

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but come on, this is booooooring, you wanna know about BREAD. well, here’s the deal my dudes:

Thanksgiving – every year (*see below*) i take great joy in baking up the bread on Thanksgiving morning, and this year is no exception. so check it out – we are OPEN on Thanksgiving at 8AM and will have a bunch of bread coming out of the oven, so don’t you go worryin’ your pretty little heart when you wake up Thursday morning and say, “OH CRAP I FORGOT TO GET THE BREAD.” just come + get it. just come and get it by 3PM, cuz that’s when we close so we can go home and party because…

Friday – The Mill is OPEN, but JBB is not baking any bread. but oh yes, we will have coffee + toast and lots of pretty people mulling about, so don’t be shy, go for a Black Friday jog and finish it off w some whole wheat toast covered in pumpkin butter.

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*the see below part*

4 years ago i baked up 60 loaves of bread in my dinky little home oven on Shotwell St, and a bunch of people i didn’t even know came and bought it all. i had no frikkin idea what the next 4 years would hold, but good god almighty, i am so so so thankful for it all. SO THANK YOU, each and everyone of you who’ve played a part in the crazy adventure.

speaking of which, i was fortunate enough to make a trip out to my bread hero Dave Miller this past weekend, and get a load of this – 100% stone ground whole grain kamut, like non i’ve ever seen –

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he has a way, goodness gracious he has a way.

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oh, one more  very exciting thing – on my way to Dave’s i swung by to visit Sally Fox and pick up a bunch of her Sonora, and two days later i milled it up and mixed it up and baked it up –

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it’s reeeeeeeal good, and after this Thanksgiving craziness has passed we’re going to start making it for you too. so stay tuned honey bees.

ok ok ok, see ya on Thanksgiving, or if i don’t have an amazing time and open up your heart nice and wide and do a back flip for me.

<3 j

 

 

 

wanna have… [ahem]… dinner w/ me?

yo buddies, long time no see, where the heck have you been???

anyway, let’s cut to the chase, i don’t have time for dilly dallying here…

if’n ya wanna have dinner w me (not fully formally w me, i mean, i’ll be there, but we won’t be, ya know, sitting down and staring into each other’s eyes and playing footsies under the table), then come on out for this special evening next Monday –

Josey Baker collage for Jardiniere

what oh what is going on, you ponder? the talented folks at Jardiniere are having a special one night only menu in which they use our bread in every single dish!! what are these dishes, you so eagerly ask? i got your back, you curious little cat you –

Josey Baker with Menui rolled through last week for dinner and was really floored, it was incredibly scrumptious. hope to see ya there honey pies.

but if i don’t see you there, i better hear that you were scarfing pizzas at our Monday Night Pizza party, which shall be still be raging on, as it is every Monday, from here to eternity.

oh yeah, and one more thing – we aren’t baking any bread on Friday, Nov 28, nor Thursday, Dec 25, nor Thursday, January 1. cuz bakers need to rest, too.

<3 josey