March 14, 2019
The Kneading Conference Returns to Skowhegan
The Maine Grain Alliance is excited to announce the return of the Kneading Conference to the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds. It is an immense source of pride for the Skowhegan community to host one of the premier baking and grain conferences in the country.  Now in its thirteenth year, the Kneading Conference has been hosted in several locations, from its origins in a church parking lot in Skowhegan to last year’s successful gathering at Kennebec Valley Community College.
On July 25 and 26, 2019, the Kneading Conference will return to the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds. The Maine Artisan Bread Fair will follow the conference at the fairgrounds on July 27 and welcome more than 3000 attendees to an event featuring bread from across the state, demos, live music, and more.   
2019 Kneading Conference Workshop Spotlights
Brick Oven Building Workshop
Led by David Neufeld of True Brick Ovens
This workshop will cover the technical aspects of building brick ovens with fire brick. Throughout history, the dome has been the traditional and most durable shape for brick ovens. Starting with the readily available rectangular fire brick, attendees will be shown how to shape the bricks to form a perfect dome. Construction of oven mouth and face arches as well as flues will be demonstrated. Detailed hand-outs covering the insulation and mortar materials will be available to assist anyone going on to construct an oven on their own.

David has built over 40 residential, bakery, and restaurant ovens since founding True Brick Ovens in 2008. His work as a stone mason extends back nearly fifty years. Learn more about David's work: and

Build an Earth Oven
Led By Stu Silverstein
Join Stu for an all day workshop on earth oven construction and build a working oven. This workshop will be offered Thursday and Friday. You’ll learn how to construct a very low-cost, round, fully insulated oven that’s ideal for bread baking at home in the back yard. No expertise is required, just the desire to watch dough transformed in front of your eyes in an oven you’ve actually made yourself. You’ll learn about fire brick, clay/sand ratios, mud, insulation, stucco, weather proofing and baking mysteries. If time permits and the mud behaves, we will conclude the workshop by baking flat breads in one of the ovens. The ovens built over the two days can be purchased by participants.
Learn More about Stu
Earth Oven Builder, Baker, & Artist

Deciding against law school and a career with the FBI, Stu Silverstein finally got serious about his life, found a VW bus and took a driveabout across the country in search of “real” bread. Not finding any, he returned to Maine and started to bake his own. He also builds earth ovens,  writes  and makes  art . Later on, he started a brick oven café, and along with some friends, founded  Railroad Square Cinema , one of New England’s best known art cinemas. Traveling to Guatemala each winter with  Masons On A Mission , he builds energy efficient stoves with the Mayas. Stu also leads  earth oven workshops  back home. Along with his book Bread Earth And Fire, Stu recently completed a video about oven building and bread baking.

Naan on a Tandoor Oven
Led by Francois Thibeault

We were treated to something pretty special last impromptu workshop on flatbreads led by Francois Thibeault, co-editor of Bread Magazine. These images were snapped by astonished and enthusiastic participants. It really is magical what can happen at the Kneading Conference. Stay tuned for a full discreption of the workshop coming soon!
We will soon announce the dates for our Village Bakery Workshop!

The Maine Grain Alliance is pleased to offer a 1.5 day course covering many aspects of being the proprietor of a village artisan bakery. The curriculum will be on target whether this is just a gleam in your eye or you have been in the business for some time. We have recruited expert professionals to cover marketing, financial management, equipment needs and, of course, hands-on production baking in our fully-equipped bakery and kitchen.

More information will be on its way soon!
Save the Date
Amber Lambke on Martha Bakes
Amber Lambke, Maine Grain Alliance board member and CEO of Maine Grains recently joined Martha Stewart on Martha Bakes. Maine's PBS station has shared they will show Maine Grain's oat episode on Saturday, May 25th at 12:30 PM