Hello from the bakery, where the holidays have hit in full force, and we are busy! Happily busy, I should add. Patrick started building boxes for holiday cookies last week; Wes mixed the first batch of Hazels; and Siri figured out how thick to roll the Speculaas. Today, Nate scaled cranberries, currents, and candied lemon and orange peel for our Stollen bread. The fruit gets soaked with 2 GINGERS Whiskey, which only adds to the joy of Stollen.
I am quite proud of our holiday cookies this year. The cookies boast flavor and each variety is unique. I asked Siri which is her favorite, and even though she struggled to name one, she landed on the Hazels. The Hazels are dense and chewy and made with hazelnut flour. Cherries and apricots are mixed into the dough, and I've never tasted anything quite like them. They are nutty and not too sweet.
My favorite are the Linzers -- a layered cookie with jam in the middle; the jam peaks out through a cut-out on top. Honestly, I think they are my favorite because they are pretty, and who doesn't love a pretty holiday cookie? It helps that they taste good too! They are beautifully tender with the flavors of butter, almond flour, lemon zest, and tart jam all shining through. (Also, they are a lot of work to make -- dealing with the tender dough and the cut-out on the top layer -- but I still love them, so they must truly be delicious!)
So, down to business. How can you find our cookies? (And other holiday items, including our German holiday bread Stollen.)
Questions? Let us know!
As the first snow of the year fell, we bakers paused for a moment to stare out the window in silence. We typically don’t stop working, so this quiet moment of stillness felt special. The first snow! As always, we were all dressed in tee-shirts, and were plenty warm because bakers never stop moving, there’s always something to do, and because the wood-fired oven is always churning out heat, 500 degrees all day. Winter at the bakery is cozy.
All of this is to say, the holiday season has arrived! We will be busy for the rest of the year, supplying you, our customers, with all your holiday needs. Thanksgiving is next week, and we've got you covered. Do you need pie? We'll be making pumpkin and apple. Do you need breakfast for Thanksgiving morning? Buy our caramel rolls. The list goes on....
Through our online shop, you can pre-order pie, cookies, caramel rolls, squash rolls, and bread. Items can be picked up at FOOD BUILDING on Wednesday, November 21st between noon and 5pm.
Although it’s hard to choose, my personal recommendation? The caramel rolls. These sweet, sticky treats will be ready to be baked on Thursday morning, so you can impress your family with fresh, warm caramel rolls. My second recommendation? Squash rolls. These little rolls are slightly sweet and plenty soft. They are a huge step up from plain buns and will elevate your Thanksgiving meal.
See you on Wednesday!
Although we are primarily a bread-making bakery, we do occasionally make sweet treats for events and the holidays. One of our favorites is scones. Whenever a scone-making occasion comes up, we tend to make a few (or a lot!) extra for bakers’ morning snacks…..
What makes our scones special is that they are made with 50% bread flour and 50% whole grain flour. The whole grain flour adds a pop of flavor that will make you never want another all “white” flour scone again. Just the basic recipe has so much flavor that you almost don’t need to mix in any chocolate or nuts. Almost….
I’m sharing our recipe below. Happy baking! (Remember, you can purchase our flour at these locations.)
Pastry Flour 480g Whole Grain Flour 480g Baking Powder 58g Salt 10g Sugar 170g Butter, cubed/cold 284g Heavy Cream 2 cups Half & Half 2 cups Additions (chocolate, dried fruit) 210g
Combine dries and mix. Cut cubed, cold butter into the dries, creating small pea sized clumps. Add heavy cream and half & half, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix! You want clumps of butter in the dough.
Flatten dough to 1.5 inches thick and divide using a scone cutter or a knife.
Brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar before baking.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
We’ve already discussed why we bakers here at Baker’s Field mill our own flour. As eaters, we love the nutrition and flavor. As bakers, we relish the control and craft. All excellent reasons for you, the home baker, to add our bakery-milled flour to your kitchen pantry. However, our flour does behave differently than the industrial flour you may be using now. We are here to help you adjust and discover the miracle of fresh flour!
1. The general rule is that fresh flour tends to need more hydration than industrial flour. So if you’re baking bread, keep this in mind. Be ready to use more water.
2. Fresh flour has a lower tolerance for mixing; you will not need to mix or fold dough made with our flour as aggressively as you may be used to.
3. Lastly, each variety of grain is different. So if one month you buy Prosper, it may perform differently than the variety you buy the following month (say, Ingmar). Making these adjustments requires some practice and calculating; this is part of the fun! (Check out our online flour shop, which notes the differences between the varieties we sell.)
4. In general, bread made with fresh flour will not get as much volume as bread baked with industrial flour. Know this before you begin so you won’t be surprised.
5. You can always email us your specific flour questions. We love hearing from you and are happy to answer questions. Email: email@example.com
You may find the differences between our flour types to be confusing. I’m going to break them down for you:
BREAD FLOUR: Our high-extraction bread flour is sifted to remove some of the bran and highlight the germ and the endosperm. This is different than the “white” industrial flour you may be used to buying, which contains no germ. We prefer to keep the germ and some of the bran in the flour for both flavor and nutrition. A hard red spring wheat grain, the defining characteristic of bread flour is creamier bread.
Best Use: bread and pizza
WHOLE GRAIN FLOUR: Commonly known as whole wheat flour, this variety of hard red spring wheat flour contains the entire grain -- the bran, germ, and the endosperm. This is a highly nutrient rich flour. We love making bread that uses all the parts of the grain -- the flavor is earthy and grassy and just special!
Best Use: bread, pasta, and grain-forward sweet treats
PASTRY FLOUR: We sift organic soft white winter wheat for this flour, removing some of the bran. This flour can be used like all-purpose flour. It is lower in protein (and therefore gluten) than our bread flour, and therefore is not meant to be used for bread.
Best Use: cookies, pies, muffins, cakes
We’re throwing a party! Well, sort of…. Baker’s Field is actually hosting another pop-up bakery event at the Food Building on September 30th at 10am. Our version of a party! The bakers will offer some fun sweet treats we don’t usually make, including pie, and we’ll also have lots of bread and flour for sale, of course.
In preparation for our pop-up, we’ve been thinking a lot about pie. Siri is leading the efforts on this one and has tested a few recipes (more than once) and serenaded us with some delicious pies that the bakers always happily devour. Notably, a peach and rhubarb pie with hints of clove… so heavenly.
Pie can be tricky, so I asked some of our bakers for their secrets to success:
Siri: First: Measure out all the crust ingredients except the water, and freeze for twenty minutes before mixing. Second: Let the dough relax in the refrigerator after you roll it out and before trimming it to the pie tin. This will help prevent shrinking. Third: Have fun with fluting! Use your fingers or other tools to make your pie crust unique.
Wes: Most recipes will tell you to keep some of the butter in pea-sized pieces for the ultimate flakey crust. This is good advice, but I also massage some of the butter into the flour.
Steve: Hold back about one third of the flour when scaling the dough. Mix the ingredients as you typically do, but before the crust comes together, add in the rest of the flour. This will prevent the gluten structure from becoming too strong and will also create a flakey crust.
If I’m at a gathering with many people I don’t know and the news that I’m a baker spreads, someone is sure to tell me that they bake bread at home. I love these stories; please don’t stop sharing them! But I’m writing today specifically about the questions people ask me. The questions are usually all over the place, and I don’t always have all the answers. It’s often hard to help when you don’t know all the specifics.
BUT! I’m here today to give all you dedicated (or occasional!) home bakers some tips.
Temperature, temperature, temperature! Learn what water temp you need to use to achieve the ideal dough temp. Learn to adjust to the weather (room temperature will affect your dough). This will help your bread be more consistent.
Play with the amount of water in your dough. This is the variable that can change the crumb and texture of your bread.
If you’re using a starter, feed it regularly. Here at the bakery, we feed ours every 12 hours. Every 24 hours will work too (this is probably more realistic). Keeping your starter in the fridge for a few weeks is okay too. Just take the starter out of the fridge a couple days before you want to bake and feed it a couple times before baking.
Come take a shaping class at Baker’s Field to perfect the look of your loaf! This may seem like shameless advertising, but most home bakers struggle to teach themselves how to shape bread. We can help!
Questions? Let me know! I’ll do my best to help. - Baker Hannah
When I first talked to owner/head baker Steve about working at Baker’s Field, he said, “Okay, I can tell you love baking and that you have experience, but what about milling? Does that excite you?” Because I was in interview mode, I responded with an enthusiastic YES to this question. But in reality, I wasn’t exactly sure what was so exciting about milling flour.
Baker Nate loves milling because the mill itself, as a piece of equipment, is a product of fine craftsmanship and poses “fun” problems that sometimes need repairing or adjusting. Nate is correct that our mill is a thing of beauty: built by professional baker Andrew Heyn of New American Stone Mills in Vermont, our mill boasts artistry and practicality. It is typically pretty simple to use, yet the work that went into creating the mill is intricate, thoughtful, and skillful.
Beyond the beauty of the machine itself, in my two years of working at Baker’s Field, I’ve come to fully understand why freshly milled flour is so exciting, and why we opted to add this extra step of baking. It’s simple: fresh, stone-milled flour from local, organically grown grain tastes like nothing you’ve eaten before. From Bolles to Ingmar to Prosper to Forefront, each grain has its own flavor profile. The taste and textures of the bread made with this flour are complex and nuanced. Tasting notes often include the words nutty, grassy, earthy.
How the mill works:
The grain flows from the hopper on to the granite stone, creating even particles of all three components in the grain -- endosperm, germ, and bran. The whole grain flour shoots out of the front of the mill. Our high extraction flour, which is also called sifted flour, bread flour, or simply “white” flour, goes through our sifter, but still maintains elements of the germ and bran. This makes both our whole grain and bread flour rich in fiber, and therefore much more digestible, nutritious, and flavorful.
As an eater, I’m hooked by the complexities and depth of the flavor of the grain. As a baker, I’m challenged and fueled by the demands of freshly milled flour. Fresh flour is different than industrial flour. It absorbs more water and requires less mixing. We have to work harder to get volume in our baked loaves. We are constantly adjusting to grain that creates different types of dough. This is part of the fun of working with local, non-industrial grain.
- Baker Hannah
When people learn that I’m a baker, they have a lot of questions. But the most frequent question? “What time do you wake up?”
Our staff of eight bakers fire up the oven and mill at 4:30am every day of the week. Right away in the morning, one baker boils the day’s bagels; another begins the day’s dough mixes, starting with the rye. A third baker loads our seeded and table loaves into the oven. On the bench, the fourth baker divides the filone. We have a routine; it’s the same every day.
This daily routine may seem boring to some. But actually, the repetitiveness is part of the fun. The bakers are a well-oiled machine, moving around (on a good day, at least!) like a team playing a group sport. Just like a sports team, “practicing” each day is key to our success.
We end the day with the next day’s seeded and table loaves shaped and in the retarder overnight for a slow fermentation. The filone dough also retards -- to be shaped and baked the following morning. Our daily cinnamon rolls slowly rise in the proofer. We clean the benches, mixers, sinks, and floors (the glamorous side of baking). On our way out the door, we usually grab the day’s extra bread for our dinners. A very informal poll of the bakers found that we each eat about two loaves of bread a week!
- Baker Hannah
They are rich, tangy, and sweet with a cinnamon chaser. Pick up a four-pack of these delicious rolls to go with your morning coffee or as an afternoon snack.
As we all move into summer mode, it's time to fire up the outdoor (or indoor) oven and get baking! We have flour options that are perfect for bread, pasta, cakes and cookies. Visit our or our retail partners where we have three sifted and whole grain wheat types, whole grain rye, and pastry flour available.
Our fresh flour, even when sifted, retains most of the whole grain intact. Whole grains have lipids, vitamins and minerals present. That means flavor, nutrition and fiber. Taste the difference, and get baking!
If you need help selecting a flour or have a bread question, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baker's Field is upping our sweets game. Introducing Chocolate Babka and Cinnamon Rolls in retail 4-packs!
What could possibly make our brioche dough better? How about a rich chocolate swirl and a touch of cinnamon!
In Polish, "Babka" literally means grandmother, so we're launching this delicious, naturally leavened treat just in time for Mother's Day.
Next up: Cinnamon Rolls
Launching the week of May 15, possibly the best cinnamon rolls I have ever had in my entire life - but please don't tell my mom I said that. (Just kidding, she agrees with me completely.)
This bagel recipe from Bakers Hannah and Siri talk you through everything you need to know to make chewy and flavorful bagels at home.
Well, I’ve lapsed in my effort to produce a monthly newsletter. Usually I’m elbow-deep in dough. Since you last heard from me, we have received more Forefront from Luke Peterson and have started a relationship with Ben Penner and his Turkey Red wheat. Both growers are less than two hours away, and it sure makes me feel connected to people and place and the flour itself. We’ve had a ball teaching classes and continuing to mill and bake daily.
It’s been the blink of an eye, but we’ve been milling and baking in NE Minneapolis for 12 months now. Like any homeowner knows, maintenance is key for keeping everything humming, and the same is true for our mill.
You know how poets write about a feeling of discontent that settles in as winter gives way to spring? We Minnesotans are acutely aware of this ennui that feels a bit like a hangover from a long winter of being cooped up inside. It’s been like that at the bakery lately. We’re excited about the new grain currently in the ground that in a few months’ time will be milled by us and turned into bread, but the thought of that alone doesn’t quite scratch the itch.
A note from miller/baker Steve:
Spring's here. Other than when fall turns chilly and the urge to bake kicks in, it is my absolute favorite time of year. Why? Farmers all over the Midwest are planting wheat that will become Baker's Field flour and bread in the not-too-distant future. So, right now, your bread is--quite literally--going in the field.
Last month was our inaugural Garage Door Pop-Up -- we opened the bakery and mill to sell our breads and all kinds of other goodies. We ended up having a good problem that day—we sold out of all our product before 11 am. To be honest, when I saw the long lines, I was simultaneously elated and terrified.