3 December 2015
“He who bears in his heart a cathedral to be built is already victorious. He who seeks to become sexton of a finished cathedral is already defeated.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. As you know, Bellegarde is the only bakery in between Asheville and Arizona that stone-mills its own flour. We strive to source organic grains that we mill fresh and bake into healthy and delicious whole grain breads. We are convinced that the health issues which plague our city—obesity, violence, mis-education, ecological and cultural erosion—are bound to the lack of fresh food. Food access is a systemic Policy issue: everyday that we bake whole grain bread with freshly milled flour, we tweak one more nerve in the System. Each nerve pinch is our desire to re-establish our region as a self-efficient food economy and re-create the cuisine of New Orleans with fresh ingredients…a revolutionary Gordian knot.
We all speak the language of food and we all seek the pleasure of flavor. What more perfect medium to communicate change than with bread? Pandering to demand in a regional food system is not as important as nurturing supply: quality will dictate quantity. Help us democratize that staff of life.
Our New Stone Mill: Our mill is officially in New Orleans. Please visit our website to see pictures: https://bellegardebakery.wordpress.com/the-mill/ There is a short essay about our mill, and its importance to us. A tremendous amount of gratitude, awe, and respect go out to Andrew Wren of Elmore Mountain Bread in Vermont who built the mill from scratch. Andrew is a fish out of water in these times; no words or gestures can explain our thanks.
New Orleans Bakers: I had a wonderful visit with Megan Forman of Gracious Bakery today. I saw her new commissary on Earhart—it is called Gracious to Go and she has incredible pastries, coffees, and baked goods to, well, go. Stop by to see them in the morning; they are down the way from Rock N’Bowl, at Pine Street.
Megan is a stellar baker and I am extremely thankful to have the poise of her friendship: we lean on each other while owning small businesses in America. She embraces the bigger picture of quality, integrity, and honesty: not only in her person, but in her bakery. To have such an ally in the community is imperative; what makes it even sweeter is her proximity. Although we have both been through hell and high water, neither has swayed in our commitment to ourselves and to our craft. No matter what the cost, and no matter what the currency, we pay it forward. And the passion stays put. We are working towards the bigger desire to put more whole grains into the bellies of New Orleanians. While it is important that customers understand the value of whole grains, it is even more important to teach bakers the value of whole grains. I am honored to be building that chain with Megan’s support, enthusiasm, and clarity. You know that warmth of mutual understanding…? It is sobering in such a miasma.
New Grain: Here is some info on a wheat that we’re milling, exclusively with our Kansas White Wheat, to provide for ourselves (and area restaurant’s including Kenton’s and Emeril’s) in the bakery.
baking date: Fall and Winter 2015
variety: Joaquin de Oro
origin: Ponoma, California
seed type: modern, circa 1950s
harvest: Summer 2014
growing conditions: dry, rich soil. irrigated and certified organic.
flavors: buttery, heavy tannic, nutty, muted sweetness.
identity preserved: yes, single farmer, single origin. not blended or mixed.
milling quality: low moisture, small berry size, low starch content.
aromas: pungent floral, earthy, very forward freshness.
Blog Posts: I currently post a blog essay once a month; if you or anyone you know may be interested in learning more about our process and our projects, please stay aspired. Our newest blog is available now: https://bellegardebakery.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/a-murder-of-crows/