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Breaking Bread: 5 Artisanal Bakers Doing Some Special Work

“Good bread is the most satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter the greatest of feats .” ~ James Beard

Country French


Artisanal bread bakers share something special: their heritage and love for their communities. Each morning, they rise from bed before the rooster's crow, dress in white Carhartt uniforms, and head to the office purposefully. They crank up their ovens or light the coal-fired hives to make enough bread to feed their community each and every day. They do it to create some of the best earthy and delicious craft bread and pastries to share with people they care about. ‘Stewards of the Starter’ are loved and respected by the people for which they bake. Some do it because it is their passion, and they trained for it and studied under the tutelage of respected bakers in Paris. Others do it because they inherited the genes to bake, like their gran and great-gran before them. Have you ever wondered why these ‘Stewards of the Starter’ bake? Their passion? Where do they procure raw materials to make such beautifully hand-crafted provisions? How does that bread or pastry manage to taste so darn good?

Country French Bread

Stewards Of The Starter™

Making a starter begins with exact measurements of bread flour (white &wheat), water, and the wild yeast develops from thin air. The starter becomes a culture fed and trained into a predictable starter product. Once that starter bubbles, it smells a bit like stinky blue cheese. The baker allows the bowl of flour, water, and naturally occurring yeast to bubble and cake over for a few days. Then, they discard a good bit of the stinky bubble fury and repeat by adding fresh flour mixture and water to the already stinky wild yeast mix. They get up every morning, paying particular attention to their bubbly mess, curating it into a starter, and then leaven once it rises and falls with predictability so they can make us our delicious bread.


Organic Flour, Water, And Salt

Some of the best grains are grown in the United States on rich volcanic soil. There are over 250 organic farmers and millers across the country. Some notables are Central Milling, Bob’s Red Mill, and Aurora Mills & Farm. Water should be dechlorinated, and any type of sea salt or Kosher salt works well. Salt is usually added after the dough has rested, called Autolyse - named by Dr. Raymond Calvel.

Autolyse Stage

Passion and Community-Based Connection

Anything good having to do with bread begins with the heart and hands of the baker. When we pick a hot, baked loaf of bread, it takes us back to a place in our hearts and minds that rekindles warmth and loving-kindness. Our local artisanal bakers begin with a mission to source responsibly farmed milled products and good salt. They work with the grains they choose to specialize in, producing rustic, naturally leavened bread for our friends and neighbors.

French Country Bakery

5 Artisanal Bakers

Helen Street Bakehouse is located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was founded by Cary Sole. He recently moved to his current location in 2021, ramping up from a Farmers Market business to brick and mortar. He offers Country Sourdough Tuesday - Friday, baguette ready by 4 p.m. daily, Challah, and more. He partners with local businesses like Crying Eagle Brewing Company, making 7 Grain Bread for their menu, a true collaboration and family legacy.

An hour Northeast of Atlanta, located in Comer, Georgia population of 1600, The Comerian Bakery produces some of the tastiest Sourdough Bread and pastries. Just off the beaten path of Route 85, somewhere between Atlanta and Greenville, South Carolina, is owned by Uwe Happek, an artisan baker and purveyor of rustic, organic goodness, and the reviews speak for themselves. They are baking on Saturdays only in Comer, at their store on 1990 Main Street. They are open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon.

Niedlov’s Bakery & Cafe opened with a purpose in 2002. They set out to provide naturally leavened bread without sugars or preservatives. They grew this bakery into a full bakehouse, making 18-hour pre-fermented bread baked in their European stone hearth oven, like Chattanooga Sourdough and Seeded Country. They are located in the SOuth Side Historic District of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

RavenHook Bakehouse is a Washington D.C. Bakery; they have a complete local farmers market schedule throughout the D.C. metro area. They also have locations in Maryland and Virginia. They bake an Artisan Baguette, Ciabatta, Focaccia, Rosemary Sourdough, and many others. The bakery was founded on the premise of grain-forward baking. Today, their footprint supports and feeds the hearts and souls of the D.C. area and beyond.

Moxie Bread Co. is a locally owned and independent bakery with three locations in Colorado: Boulder, Lyons, and Louisville. They go the extra mile using 100% heirloom grains, working directly with farms along the Great Plains and Northwestern United States. They run regular pizza nights throughout the summer and work hard to create community and lasting friendships.

Good bread begins with our farmers, with a high priority on growing and exceeding organic standards. From there, an artisan baker works with the farmer to select grains and milled products near and dear to their hearts. It's a craft, coupled with community partnerships, tip to tail. ⧫

Artisanal Bakery

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