When I eat bread, I want to taste the grain. That’s why I’m happy so many North American bakers are embracing flavorful heritage grains and stone-ground flours that produce complex, character-driven breads. For this I thank the Kneading Conference, annual gatherings in Maine and Washington state where bakers, millers, scientists, and farmers come together to celebrate traditional baking.
The conferences draw some of the continent’s finest bread makers to impart their techniques and wisdom, including Barak Olins of Zu Bakery in Freeport, Maine, who mills rye flour for a dense Lithuanian peasant bread, and Dawn Woodward, who sources local stone-ground heritage grains to make richly flavored crackers at Evelyn’s Crackers in Toronto. They, along with many others who attend these conferences, embrace age-old traditions, while introducing a whole new world to bread lovers in the U.S., Canada, and beyond.
Naomi Duguid is a SAVEUR contributing editor.