bake - February 2018 - 12

technical corner

Endless Varieties of BREADS
Artisan baker Randy George likes to point out that when his
Danish friends are in town, he always makes sure to bake plenty
of rye bread. "They will eat a loaf of rye bread before a half day
is gone," he says, explaining the influence of culture on bread
"In general, the American market is still waking up to whole
rye," says George, owner of Red Hen Baking Co. in Middlesex,
Vermont. "I think rye is an area that can be explored more by
creating interesting flavors with whole rye."
Founded in 1999, Red Hen Baking is opening doors for all types
of flavorful artisan breads, including ryes, throughout the state
of Vermont. On average, Red Hen bakes 2,200 loaves of bread
per day and makes 65 daily deliveries to wholesale accounts
such as local grocery stores and restaurants. Wholesale accounts for roughly 70 percent of total business.
Local grains are a priority. The bakery estimates 430,000 pounds
of local wheat go into the making of their breads every year.
"For me, first and foremost, it's the gratification that we make a
difference in farmers' lives," he says. "Of course, it has to taste
great. If local food is not excellent, we are really hindering the
local food movement. Where it sometimes gets difficult is finding something local that is distinguishable."

"We joke sometimes that we're
yeast farmers because we have
to feed our starter twice a day."
Randy George, owner of Red Hen Baking Co.

George, who owns the bakery with his wife Eliza Cain, says they
keep a half dozen starters going, including two whites and one

brown flax seeds, heirloom cornmeal, whole rye chops, whole

rye. "It's all about the process, and how I manage my starter.

sesame seeds, and golden flax seeds.

The variables I can control, I do control, and temperature is a
big one. We come up with many flavors, which is the beauty of

"We're coming up with endless varieties, and we're doing

naturally leavened bread. The sky's the limit of possibilities."

it through the process," George says. "We joke sometimes
that we're yeast farmers because we have to feed our starter

Red Hen makes two varieties of 100% whole rye, including the

twice a day. How we manage that living thing, how we feed it,

unique Sprouternickel - made with certified organic whole

changes its flavors entirely."

rye flour, sprouted organic spelt and rye berries, and organic
George says that the local grain movement continues to gain
popularity, similar to the soaring interest among consumers in
Other flavorful breads are the Crossett Hill batard, made en-

local breweries and local cheesemakers. "And we should con-

tirely with local wheat and rye, and their signature Mad River

sider ourselves fortunate that we don't have to spend the kind of

Grain, "a veritable orchestra of grains and seeds" featuring

money on expensive equipment that a brewer or cheesemaker

wheat flour, sunflower seeds, steel-cut oats, flax seed meal,

does," he adds. "We can fairly easily manage the variables."

12 < FEB 2018 |


sunflower seeds.

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