With the big Meet-Up less than a month away, we can't stop with the baking talk.
Here are interviews--with Peter Endriss, co-owner and head baker at Runner and Stone, and two wonderful home bakers in our community, Mika and David--to get you in the spirit:
Co-owner and Head Baker at Runner & Stone
Q: What was your introduction to regional grains?
A: When I first started thinking about having a bakery, I went to a Slow Food talk in Brooklyn about grains. I had been living abroad, and it was the first event I went to after coming back to New York in 2010. That’s where I met June Russell who told me all about what she was doing with grains.
Then, later, I worked at Hot Bread Kitchen. They had been using local corn and local flour. It was a great introduction.
Now, Runner & Stone is predicated on using as much local flour as possible.
Q: What has surprised you most about working with regional grains?
A: One of the most rewarding aspects of using regional grains is having direct contact with the producers, grain growers, and millers.
If we ever have an issue (which has only happened once or twice), like if a product seems different, I can talk to the miller and they can figure out what went wrong or what accounts for the difference.
This is especially nice from a holistic point of view, and it gives me a lot of confidence in the product because I can put a face with it.
Q: Do you have advice for home bakers, especially those working with regional grains?
A: Keep trying. Keep making different products. Eventually you will hit on something that you like.
A lot of our products don’t have all the attributes that you might see in those from a commercial backery, but they are still good. Go easy on yourself.
At the last last Home Bakers Meet-Up, a bunch of people were using einkorn flour, and that ended up in the back of my head. We wound up making our einkorn croissant, which uses 50% einkorn flour. we also use that dough for both our pecan honey and Brussels sprout pesto ricotta Danish.
Q: Have you been influenced by home bakers in other ways?
A: When you own your own bakery, you are in a bit of an echo chamber – which is your own head. It’s nice to get out there and see what other people are doing.
The Home Bakers Meet-Up is really good because it provides a home baker’s perspective rather than a professional one. People are doing things that aren’t being done in commercial bakeries as the commercial bakeries can’t handle things that are so variable or finicky.