Thank you to Clif Bar, King Arthur Flour, Les Dames d’Escoffier – Seattle, Beecher’s Cheese and 7 other donors that created a $1.5M Endowed Professorship for organic plant breeding and innovation in the Bread Lab.
By Lulu Chang, Digital Trends
This isn’t your typical bread and butter. Rather, the carbs coming out of the Bread Lab at Washington State University are a combination of taste and technology, as the lab seeks to take bread where it’s never been before. By conducting research on thousands of wheat, barley, buckwheat, and other small grain lines, researchers, farmers, and bakers are coming together to bring us our daily loaves.
Initially begun in 2011 as a small lab project in WSU’s Mount Vernon Research Center, the initiative has now grown to encompass a research and baking kitchen, a cytology lab, the King Arthur Flour Baking School at the Bread Lab, and the expertise of master bakers from La Brea Bakery. Taking their seat at the delicious intersection of food and science, folks from La Brea Bakery are providing feedback to farmers and scientists to help create new cultivars, develop new strains of wheat, all in the name of epicurean delight. After all, you don’t get artisan bread simply by accident.
“We select for a number of things,” Jonathan Davis, one of La Brea Bakery’s expert bakers, told Digital Trends. As the folks closest to the bread, it falls upon Davis and his colleagues to bake and sample loaves to determine what flavors are most intriguing. “It’s key for bakers to work with farmers to let them know what works and doesn’t work,” Davis continued. And ultimately, the goal is to combine flavors of ancient grains with the performance of modern wheat, with respect to volume and flavor.
The result has manifested itself in products like La Brea Bakery’s Reserve line, which is bread made with single-origin heirloom wheat from Montana. “When we decided that we wanted to work with farmers directly to understand where our flour was coming from, it was a shock to the system,” the bakery noted on its blog. “Instead of dealing with third parties, we skipped the middle man and went directly to the source.” As the feedback loop continues among La Brea Bakery, farmers, and researchers, the hope is that we will be presented with increasingly flavorful bread.
King 5 Seattle
BURLINGTON, WASH. – In the farm fields near Mount Vernon, scientists are working to build better bread.
Posted by Sarah West on September 14, 2017 Nature’s Path, Organic News & Sustainability
When most of us think of wheat country, we imagine the nation’s heartland – broad, flat, and covered in swaying grass as far as the eye can see. Not in Washington State’s Skagit Valley. Here, wheat grows in rotation with vegetable crops like cabbage and potatoes, the air carries a hint of brine, and the view sweeps up into evergreen foothills flanked by toothy North Cascade peaks. If the visual offers any cues, these are not your average wheat lands.
Building a Farm-Based Food System
Sep 3rd, 2017 | Category: Community, Features
by Mary Vermillion, Grow Northwest
Research labs don’t typically draw crowds. But when the subjects are wheat and grains that promise the revival of a piece of Skagit Valley’s agricultural heritage, you’re bound to develop a following. And sooner or later, you’re going to need a bigger lab. Such is the case for Washington State University’s Bread Lab in Burlington, which in August celebrated the grand opening of its 12,000-square-foot facility at the Port of Skagit with more than 400 in attendance.Led by Dr. Stephen Jones, The Bread Lab is equal parts research facility and test kitchen, combining science, culinary art and innovation to advance the use of whole grains. Jones and WSU graduate students work with local farmers, bakers and processors to identify wheat, barley, buckwheat and other small grains that perform well in the field and have the best flavor and nutrition for baking, cooking, malting, brewing and distilling.
The new facility, which includes labs, a milling room, meeting spaces, a professional kitchen and the King Arthur Baking School, makes that possible.
By doubling its footprint, the Lab can “do more than one thing at a time. We can be teaching in one room, doing research in another,” Jones said.
Lab’s community-based agriculture.
Robin Asbel, Chef, Author, InstructorSome people take time off at the end of July to visit a white sand beach.
Three Days of All-Grains, All the Time
If you wonder what a bread lab is, it’s basically a bakery with a whole bunch of specialized equipment that is used to analyze the flours and doughs on a chemical level. Big bread manufacturers do this, but in this lab, it’s all about guiding the breeding of grain toward a flour or flake that artisan bakers can make into something with great texture and flavor. The kind of flavor that makes converts out of white bread lovers, without commodity wheat flour, or enzymes, or chemical additives, just grain.
Local grain communities have been sprouting across the country, thanks in part to the model started around the Bread Lab. Before this new movement took hold, none of these groups talked to each other, and wheat breeding was all about yield. Growers grew and bakers baked, but wheat kept moving forward with everybody in a separate little bubble.
And there’s beer. It’s made from barley. Tasting beer is serious business, even if it looked like a bunch of people having a good time.
Words and photos by Communications Manager, Molly Goren
“100 years ago, 90% of us were home bakers,” Dr. Stephen Jones tells a crowd of sleepy bakers, farmers, and brewers at the 7th annual Grain Gathering.
It’s 4:30am, and we are preparing for a sunrise wheat field walk just outside of The Bread Lab in Skagit Valley. In addition to serving as a research center for Washington State University plant breeders, Jones’ Bread Lab is also home to the King Arthur Flour Baking School. Thankfully, that meant we were able to sneak in to the kitchen for a whole grain croissant, fresh-from-the-oven, topped with lemon curd and Bow Hill blueberries before our stroll. The smell alone of butter and nutty grains woke us right up.
Throughout the weekend, Steve was sure to underscore the word “gathering” within the event name. “This isn’t a conference,” he told us. “Poke your head in to workshops, even if you don’t have a seat. Take it all in. Think of these three days as the beginning of an ongoing dialogue.”
The Gathering is designed to bring together folks from many sectors of the food movement, with the end goal of creating a sustained local grain economy that elevates the unique characteristics of the place we call home. Of the nearly 300 attendees, 7 countries and 26 states were represented.
From sourdough and ramen workshops to tours of the milling facility and lectures on the Farm Bill, the Grain Gathering reaches across the spectrum of our food system with its offerings.
The seventh annual July 27-29 “Grain Gathering” sponsored by Washington State University’s Bread Lab at Mt. Vernon/Burlington in northwestern Washington State once again brought together a vast throng of folks interested in farming, baking, nutrition, and heritage. Representing 23 states and 7 countries, some 350 attendees heard presentations on a variety of topics including whole grain baking, bagel rolling, and barley teas!
Huge thanks to Stephen Jones, Steve Lyon, Wendy Hebb, Kim Binczewski, and army of Bread Lab volunteers. The three-day event is a remarkable opportunity to meet others who share interests in restoring healthy local grain cultures and rural economies, and also serves as a grain reunion with fun and fellowship shared around delicious breads, brews, and other regionally sourced products.
Newly featured this year were German muesli with fresh milled oats supplied by Wolfgang Mock who came from Germany, San Francisco baker Josey Baker’s sprouted, flaked breads, and a range of satisfying barley teas shared by Dr. Andrew Ross of Oregon State University. Andrew comes his interest in barley tea naturally; seems that this flavorful restorative beverage is popular throughout his native Australia and that brands like Robinson’s are said to be the secret of Queen Elizabeth’s beautiful complexion.
by Allison Steele, Staff Writer, Philly.com
A one-of-a-kind baguette arrived this week on the shelves of the Whole Foods store in Callowhill: a whole-grain loaf crafted by chef Marc Vetri and developed in Drexel University’s new Bread Lab.