28 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • oCTober 2015
eDucation celebrating bread
he art, craft and business of truly artisanal bread baking is alive and well
in America. Primal and basic though it may be, bread is being expanded into myriad
flavor profiles and shapes with blends of grain being in particular favor at the moment.
A cadre of professionals and those new to the business are fueling this growth and learning from
each other at a raft of bread festivals held around the country.
From Washington State to Maine’s Kneading Conference and the Asheville Bread Festival
in North Carolina, there are opportunities to learn, taste and network. Bakers, and even chefs
who wish to bake bread or roll pasta in-house, can benefit by attending. And with the explosion
of interest in growing and milling grains locally, exposure to those who are in the trenches experimenting with and cultivating grains other than wheat is invaluable.
Although gluten-free may be today’s buzzword, and a rich marketing opportunity for those
producing such products, the robust grower-to-miller-to-baker movement is leading to a lot of
creative ferment. Thanks, in part, to more accessible learning opportunities around the country,
today’s bread basket is bountiful and inclusive, with products based on wheat, rye and a whole
host of ancient grains, many locally grown.
going with the grain
“Bread festivals are celebrations of the craft of bread baking,” says Peter Reinhart, chef on
assignment at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, North Carolina. “They offer a chance to
get local artisans together to do presentations for home-baking enthusiasts and professionals in
the field, such as baking instructors.
The gatherings also raise the public’s awareness about handmade bread, Reinhart says, by putting
professional bakers and serious amateurs in one place. “No matter how many years I attend, I always
come away learning something new that can trigger my own work, spurring me on with fresh ideas.”
Bread festivals offer opportunities
to learn and network—and to
taste the artisanal difference. by roberT weMiSChNer
opposite, clockwise froM top
left: 1) The los angeles bread
festival offers bread tastings by
emerging local bread bakers, as well as
presentations that include a panel on
locally grown grains.
2) carolina ground
in asheville, north carolina, produces
about 120,000 pounds of flour a year,
small compared with the output of
3) bread festivals
help raise the public consciousness
about local bakers using locally grown
and milled grain.
4) the asheville
bread festival holds bread tastings,
workshops and lectures at various
locations in asheville.