Grainy goodness from Cowichan Bay

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March 23rd, 2010 by Admin


This good news grain story by Justine Hunter appeared in the Globe and Mail recently, hope you enjoy it!

Bruce Stewart earned his spurs in the food industry in the sales department of monolithic Kraft Foods – some might say the original purveyor of fast food.

Today, he is a champion of the slow food movement, running an organic bakery in a seaside village where he can cite the provenance of each type of grain running through his mill… (read full story here)

Baking tip from the Kitchn – how to shape a round loaf

October 14th, 2009 by Admin

round-breadCC licensed photo by flickr user willsfca, thanks!

Check out this tutorial from the super-bloggers at The Kitchn. They show you how to form a beautiful, tight loaf by hand, as well as sharing a few insights into the science of bread baking.

We’ve been wandering…

May 25th, 2009 by Admin


…far away on the other side of the continent. Martin and I were visiting Nova Scotia last week, and have just returned. Thanks for your patience as we catch up with emails, cheques in the mail, and messages on our answering machine.

We did manage to check out some pretty cool spots while we were there, despite being pretty wet for half of the week. Most notable in terms of grain relevance was the LaHave Bakery, in – where else – LaHave, Nova Scotia. Apparently this place is an institution, and it’s easy to tell why. We had a fantastic lunch there (I had a veggie pizza on doughy goodness; Martin, a veggie sandwich on slices of fresh-baked cracked wheat) and grabbed some photos to share. The “local flours” they mention on the sign are from Speerville Mills, a Maritime company that’s doing great things with local grains, and has a mission that fits so well with the Urban Grains philosophy:

Why? Because less than 1% of this area’s available cereals and flour products are actually grown and processed in this region. It is critical to promote a regional food system, while encouraging organic farming, and a nutritious food supply. Speerville Flour Mill has always been a strong supporter of organic agriculture. From working with farmers with production issues, to marketing the results of their efforts, Speerville Flour Mill strives to produce top quality products, as well as, supporting the local economy by helping build strong rural communities.”

We encountered Speerville products a number of times during the trip, and were very excited to discover that local flour was being used all over the Maritimes. We even managed to steal a few bags from our friend Shelby, who graciously hosted us at her home, which I will whip up into loaves sometime soon.

The photos below are all from LaHave Bakery, where we hope to end up again someday.

case-signThe dessert case. Yum.

weavingTapestry above the stairs.

flour-bagsThe raw ingredients.

bakery-signGood motto.

blowfishEven better mascot.

Saturday bread making

May 3rd, 2009 by Admin


Gave it a go again yesterday with Chris’s whole-grain flour – this time mixed with some organic, all purpose white – and turned out the first loaf that I am actually proud of.  I used the most basic overnight recipe from Bread Matters, which I have mentioned before, and was very pleased with the result. See those air pockets? I’ve never gotten real air pockets before! It was exciting, to say the least. I didn’t manage to get a good, hard crust, but it’s a big improvement.

Thanks to those of you who have sent along recipes – I’ll be trying more out as the summer goes on and sharing some here, as well.

Fresh bread, BC grown

April 27th, 2009 by Admin

Check it out, it’s homegrown:


Our friend and Urban Grains collaborator Chris generously gave us a few kilos of his fresh, stoneground flour a week or so ago and yesterday the miracles of fermentation helped me to transform it into my first local loaf. It was one of my more successful bread-making attempts. Although I consider myself a competent baker, I am not as confident in my bread-making skills. Puff pastry from scratch – that I can do, but the perfect rise still seems to elude me. So I keep trying. I even bought a bread-focused cookbook this weekend and have been educating myself about the science behind the loaf. After chatting a while with folks at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks, I picked up a copy of Bread Matters: why and how to make your own (by Andrew Whitley).  It has recipes, of course, but also offers discussion of the history and politics of bread making. Though the author is British (and often refers to “British bread”) the issues are valid here as well.

Does anyone have a bread book to recommend? Leave it in the comments!



Nom, nom, nom!


We sliced it hot and slathered it with butter – the only respectable thing to do with a fresh loaf.  After such a fresh and flavourful treat, we are certainly looking forward to more of this. To local grains!

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