At Barn Owl Bakery, this is the bread and pastry we make :
All organic or better – the crap that goes into conventional wheat flour and the toll it takes on our land, waterways, and communities is just not worth the money saved on a sack of flour. When we buy grain we help create landscapes and communities that are robust, healthy, and prosperous.
Freshly milled flours – We source our flour from Fairhaven Flour Mills in Burlington WA run by Kevin Christenson, and we have grain custom ground by Steven Lillestol at Island Grist, a stone mill here on Lopez Island.
High hydration doughs – Just like a cup of rice won’t cook with a half cup of water, bread needs enough water to fully hydrate the grain, making it more digestible, beautiful, and unlocking flavor.
Wild leaven – The key to our bread is our carefully tended starter. A simple mixture of flour and water that hosts a complex community of bacteria and yeasts, our leaven is our bread. This microbiological goldmine does three things for our bread; they create the gases that get entrapped by the dough and raise the loaf, they manufacture a whole cascade of complex organic molecules, alcohols, acids, and sugars that impart a rich and distinct flavor to our bread, and they break down phytic acid, an anti-nutrient present in all seeds that inhibits our body’s ability to absorb the nutrition in the grain.
Whole grains – White flour has, for millenia, been the sole privilege of the wealthy and lordly. The whiter the bread, the more refined and powerful the house that served it. This trend has been constant from ancient Babylonia all the way through industrial Europe and it’s only been in the last 50 years that we’ve began to understand that while white flour is labor intensive (and thus a status symbol) and easy to eat, it lacks the nutrition to make it a healthy, whole food. Whole grains are a balanced and complete food when properly sprouted or fermented and even our lightest doughs incorporate at least 40% whole grain flour.
Wood fired – Our oven is the final stage that all our baked goods, from crackers to miche go through. Its bricks, heated to over a thousand degrees by a roaring fire that burns all night, savor the heat, letting it back out slowly to bake our bread. Wood is a renewable, sustainable resource plentiful on Lopez and requires no mainland infrastructure or fracking to alchemically transform our carefully shaped loaves into their final selves.
For a list of our most commonly baked breads and their ingredients, click here.