Last week on the Grapevine: De La Terre bakery

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last Friday Alex and I spoke with Jan Campbell-Luxton, of De La Terre Bakery.

Photo: Shawn Taylor

De La Terre is based out of Vineland, Ontario but their bread is available in Hamilton at Goodness Me locations as well as in their stall in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, neat the James North entrance under a beautiful chalk sign. They sell at the Ancaster Farmers’ Market (open in June) and Picone’s in Dundas, too.

Love of bread began for Chef Jan Campbell-Luxton when he learned how to make sourdough. Here is a taste of the show:

Jan: The irony of my life is that I’m a trained chef, and for most of my professional experience have hated bread.

Grace: Um…okay?

Jan: Way to pitch the business! The truth of is it that I found the kind of bread I was making was really unfulfilling, it wasn’t until I moved to Niagara and…was invited to help out some friends who had a wood-burning oven in Vineland, making 100% sourdough bread. For the first time in my life I was absolutely enthralled with bread. It’s a style of bread making that is about 600 years old, and it really requires an attention and listening to the product, the absence of commercial yeast means that it’s slightly more temperamental, you have good days and bad.

Alex: Can you explain to people out there that might not be familiar with sourdough bread, what it is and how it differs from commericial bread?

Jan: The short answer is that before there was commercial yeast, people leavened their breads using natural cultures which is effectively you had a started of yeast, which is just wild yeast. There are a number of ways to start that up,but for bread producing purposes you would add fresh water, fresh flour and give it a bit of time. And then what you have is this very wild active yeast culture. Given time and the right conditions you have a bread that for a number of reasons… is more nutritious, but has a kind of a sour tang to it, hence the name sourdough. And that comes from the fact that you have the wild yeast but you also have the bacteria in the bread, which has that sour flavour profile to it. The sourness is part of the long slow fermentation, as you can imagine with a commercial yeast, given the temperature, give the right variables, you can almost set your watch by it. Its speeds up the product of the bread, but there is a corresponding loss of flavour and loss of nutrients, because typically in commercial bread production using commercial yeast the dough is heavily agitated which causes a breakdown of flavour and a breakdown of the nutrients as well through oxidizing.

Listen to the whole show on CFMU. Tomorrow we’re playing a repeat on The Grapevine, but next week we’ll be speaking with Organic Meadow, the milk co-operative for small dairy farmers across Ontario. Listen to 93.3 CFMU or stream/download the show online.

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