We're a grow it, mill it, bake it operation. Using local grains is important to us.
We have learned, mostly by trial and error, how to bake breads from grains grown and ground in New York state.
We are a partnership. Most of the flours we use are ground from grain grown in Newfield and Trumansburg by farmers Thor Oechsner and Dan Gladstone of Oechsner Farms. In fact, Thor Oechsner is one of the owners of Wide Awake Bakery! Our partnership means that we can help sustain viable markets for our local farmers, and because it means we, and you, know how our grain is grown and ground. And it means that our flour is fresh.
We work closely with Farmer Ground Flour, a small organic mill in Trumansburg, NY. Farmer Ground Flours are all stone-ground and do not contain additives of any kind: no enrichment, no enzymes or malt, and no ascorbic acid. Nor have they been chemically treated in any way. In our experience, Farmer Ground Flours make astonishingly good sourdough breads. We regularly use Farmer Ground polenta, high extraction, rye, spelt, einkorn, emmer, and whole wheat flours.
There are lots of reasons to celebrate the return of local grains to our lives.
Local flours have variation and personality— they require attention and skill. We are part of a growing movement of bakers who have committed to using local grains. Success with local flour requires a willingness to listen and watch closely, and it has led us to subtle changes in our approach to the bread-making process.
ADVANTAGES OF LOCAL WHEAT
Fresh local grains rock because...
Fresh flour tastes terrific.
Local grains reflect the places where they are grown. When we bake with local grains, we get closer to our place on the planet.
Local grains mean local farmers, and that means closer relationships. We have the opportunity to work with farmers to try new and ancient varieties, flavors, and fermentation characteristics.
Local grain work is important for the sustenance of the broader local food economy.
The sensitivity required for high-quality baking with local grains enriches our lives.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR BAKING WITH LOCAL FLOUR
HAVE AN OPEN MIND AND BE FLEXIBLE.
USE BEST BAKING PRACTICES.
GIVE THE FLOUR WHAT IT WANTS.
TRUST YOUR STARTER.
USE APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT.
TRY A GRADUAL APPROACH.
Start slowly. Include a small percentage of local flour in a standard recipe, see how that works for you. Start with lower hydration and gradually increase it. Begin your baking education by moving from success to sucess, rather than starting with the most challenging breads.
We think sustainable and regenerative farming is important.
We work with crop scientists at Cornell University, GrownNYC Greenmarkets, and OGRIN (Organic Grain Growers Research Information Sharing Network) to develop more sustainable organic grains, such as perennial wheat and rye, and to test heirloom and landrace grains in the bakery.
In January 2014, we hosted bakers, millers, and agronomists from across the country to test bake whole grain organic flours as part of a long-term project to revive our once vibrant Northeast wheat crops.
We are currently working with Professor Matthew Ryan at Cornell, to develop Kernza, a perennial wheat, and perennial rye.