Supporting an Inclusive Whole-Grain Baking Community
Baking is a craft built on tradition. Its deep history is an invaluable resource, but uncritical acceptance of baking “truths” can also limit our imaginations. Right now, the artisan baking world is beginning to question some of the common knowledge of commercial baking. Do we really need to use white flour? Is the consistency of industrial milling essential to a well-run bakery? What are the resources that home and commercial bakers share to arrive at good loaves of bread made with local, fresh flour?
In this workshop, we will focus on the stories and “truths” that prevent us from building a more inclusive baking community. We hope to answer the questions: How can our whole-grain baking community foster diversity and support more small bakeries, CSB programs, and robust new farmer-miller-baker relationships? How can we engage more home bakers in using the grains and flours we love? We will explore assumptions that hold us back, and find the underlying tools and strategies that make it possible for everyone, including home bakers, to get ahold of high quality grains. This discussion will focus on our collective alliances and how we can inspire each other with new ideas to take back home.
Annie Moss is a co-owner and pastry chef at Seastar Bakery. She’s worked to develop local and regional food systems on both the East and West coasts. While living in New York, she co-operated an urban farm in the Bronx lead by women of color, and also worked with June Russell to develop local grain economies for the Greenmarket. In Portland, she was the founding manager for Tabor Bread, one of the country’s first bakeries to use entirely locally-grown, house-milled grains. Annie has spent the past decade exploring the nexus of politics, food, social justice, and community.
Brennan Johnson stumbled into the wood-fired baking world at the age of 15, when he accompanied his father on a sabbatical to study the diminishing role of communal brick ovens in Western Europe. Nine years later, he hopes his own baking can help restore a connection to self, others, and place. Focused on historical context and whole grains, he’s been offering CSBs around the country for the last two years. At the end of the year, he’ll be moving into the space currently known as Smoke Signals in Marshall, NC, where he plans to offer workshops, residencies, dinners, and more.
Sophie Williams owns and operates Raven Breads, a small market and wholesale bakery in northwestern Washington that makes whole grain bread and pastry. She came at baking sideways from a background in natural science and farming, and has spent the past four years learning about baking and business by trial, error, and the generosity of bakers.
Adrian J.S. Hale is a longtime food writer with an obsession for baking bread with locally-grown, stone-milled flour. Over the years, she’s been published in magazines such as Saveur, Edible Portland, Culture, and others. She’s also had the privilege of working on cookbooks in many different capacities, including the award winning Kitchn Cookbook and Food with Friends. She also runs a grain-focused blog and CSB program at Thousand Bites of Bread.