NEW YORK — Bread is experiencing a period of innovation that has made it a hot item all across the country. From bakers like Mark Furstenberg doing incredible work with whole grains, to bakeries like Arcade Bakery in New York City mastering laminated doughs, bread is hitting new highs.
That, according to media company Bloomberg, is why bread is the Dish of the Year for 2017. Restaurants and bakeries have shown what can truly be done to make bread a culinary wonder. Many are milling their own flour, such as Kansas City’s Messenger Cafe, a partnership between Messenger Coffee and Ibis Bakery. The bakery cafe features an in-house stone mill.
“Our goal is to mill 100% of our flour,” said Chris Matsch, who runs Ibis Bakery with his wife, Kate. “Right now, we are milling about 1,500 lbs of flour a week for our bread program. Our base is Turkey Red wheat from central Kansas.”
Major names in the industry are leading the way in this movement. Tartine’s Craft Bakery + Mill in Los Angeles has a basement portion that includes several mills and an entire grain silo.
Bakeries are looking to reinvent the meaning of whole grains. Seylou Bakery & Mill in Washington opened in November to rave reviews. It’s the first in the city with an in-house mill, but it has also made headlines for its whole wheat sourdough loaves and other whole wheat bread loaves that are created by leaving the bran and germ in the flour, which adds nutrients and flavors but requires more time and skill to bake. Its co-owner and baker Jonathan Bethony has been referred to as the “Steve Jobs of Bread” for his innovation.
One of the biggest cookbooks in 2017 had bread as its focus. “Modernist Bread,” a sprawling, five-volume work, provides a revolutionary new understanding of one of the most important staples of the human diet, bread. The collection offers comprehensive information on the subject of bread, from its history, to its science and physics, to techniques and recipes that will astound bread enthusiasts.