Friday, June 18, 2010

Hello crEATe friends!  About a month ago, I announced that crEATe would be undergoing some big changes, and they're finally here.  After much thought about the direction crEATe would take, I've decided to take the blogging into the real world and start a business focusing on bread, an ongoing crEATe theme.  A few changes to note:
  • crEATe is now Bread Nut Bakery.  This means that is now  The old web address will redirect, but you'll now be able to find Bread Nut Bakery through an internet search.  
  • The main focus of will be bread baking and the process of starting a bread business.  But don't worry: you'll still find easy vegan/vegetarian recipes and opinion pieces here, too.
  • This is an experimental process: I'll be sharing recipes with you as well as the steps I'm taking to attempt to get this business up and running.  This means that--more than ever--I'd love our comments, feedback, and suggestions!
It's been my goal for a while to grow a business from crEATe, and I've finally decided to focus on bread.  Baking bread has always been my passion, and working with a sourdough starter has given me the opportunity to really explore how bread works. I started by asking myself these two questions?
  1. Is there a market in Greensboro for artisan breads?
  2. What breads do I make well enough to sell to the public?
To answer the first question, I started exploring the bakery sections of every grocery store I could find in town, visiting local and franchise bakeries, and checking out area Farmer's markets.  I'm still looking around, but after two weeks, I've found a small selection of artisan breads, at upscale markets and one local bakery in particular, which leads me to think that there could potentially be a demand for more fresh, locally-baked artisan breads.  A couple of people have suggested opening a Jewish or Jewish-style bakery, because some breads I bake a traditionally Eastern European or Jewish and I also have--and can make--a plethora of old-world Jewish family recipes for breads and desserts.

Determining the answers to the second question was fun.  I set off to do some research--both on the web and in some classic cookbooks--on how to make my bread better.  Some changes I've made are:
  • Shorter rising times in hot and humid weather (some of my rising times have been reduced from 18 hours to only 8)
  • Slightly more flour (or less water)
  • Less kneading (except for in the case of no-knead breads)
  • Shorter baking times (particularly in the final, uncovered portion of Dutch oven baking)
After a week of bread baking, I've decided on five breads to focus on: Challah, French, Sourdough, Wheat, and Rye.  See below for some photos.

I'd love your comments on any part(s) of ths process as this is an entirely new exploration.  Please comment below or email! Next week's post: finding a place to bake for the public.  Any helpful suggestions are most appreciated!