In line with chefs being conscious about sourcing their ingredients in a sustainable and
traceable way, Yankellow says the festivals and conferences emphasize the importance of bakers
connecting directly with millers and growers.
education is everything
With a presence in both the retail and commercial sides of the baking business, King Arthur
Flour supports bread festivals and conferences both philosophically and financially. “We are always
looking to support the movement to develop new kinds of flours and grains, and also work to identify
sources for our main flour lines,” says Susan Miller, director of the King Arthur Flour Baking
Education Center. “The bread festivals provide us with venues to meet bakers where they are and
help them build their skills and knowledge.
“We also learn from the experts, which allows us to disseminate up-to-the-minute, accurate
information to our end-users, whether professional or home-enthusiast bakers. It’s a mutually
beneficial back and forth for us.”
Apart from the longer-established bread festivals and conferences, two recent additions to
the scene, the Pacific Rim Bread Festival, Whidbey Island, Washington, and the Los Angeles
Bread Festival, are raising the public consciousness about local bakers using locally grown and
milled grain. And although bread is the main focus at these events, the application of all kinds
of grains to the production of pasta is also being examined.
Marc Vetri, chef/owner of Vetri, Philadelphia, has explored using grains with The Bread Lab at
Washington State University’s Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension
Center. He and Steve Gonzalez, a partner in Sfoglini, New York, an artisanal pasta production
company, are realizing the potential of using grains other than wheat. They are sharing their findings
in presentations at the conferences, and, in so doing, widening the audience.
The larger phenomenon of bread conferences and festivals is not only an indication of where
the field is going for professionals. When the events are open to the foodie and home-baking
enthusiast audience, as well, there is an additional benefit. The consuming public is better informed,
leading to more educated choices about where to dine and where to buy bread.
ROBeR T WeMiSCHNe R ( W W W.ROBeR T WeMiSCHNe R. COM) Te ACHe S PROFe SSiONAL BAkiNG A T LOS ANGe LeS TRADe-TeCHNiCAL COLLeGe AND iS THe
AU THOR OF FOUR BOOk S, MOS T Re Ce N TLy, THe DeSSeR T ARCHi TeC T (Ce NGAGe Le ARNiNG, 2010). He iS CURReN TLy A T WORk ON HiS FiF TH BOOk.
clockwise froM top left:
1) chioggia beet tartlet with chevre,
tarragon and valencia marmalade at
the asheville bread festival.
made from blends of grain is in the
3) as they become better
informed, consumers are making
educated choices about where to dine
and where to buy bread.