The heck with low-carb diets -- did you know that small bakeries producing European-style artisan breads saw an 18 percent growth in sales between 2001 and 2003, at a time when Americans reduced their overall consumption of bread by 40 percent? That’s according to research compiled by the Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse. So clearly -- most people haven’t lost their appreciation for good bread. (I’m not convinced, anyway, that bread made with a few top-quality ingredients is bad for us. It's not like that high-tech mass produced stuff made from an unpronounceable ingredients engineered for a long shelf life.)
In the August issue of Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine, we spotlight three artisan bread bakers in the Hudson Valley: Downtown Breads & Bakeshop in Montgomery, Wild Hive Farm of Clinton Corners, with products made from freshly milled stoneground flour from locally grown grains and sold at the Amish Market in Hyde Park and Adams in Poughkeepsie, and Bread Alone, which bakes its products in Boiceville and sells them at its cafes in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Boiceville and at regional food stores.
All the breads in the HVC feature were very different, and all of them were delicious. Most of them featured ingredients that were local and organic, too. And there are additional great bread bakeries in the Hudson Valley -- if we could have added more to our feature, Our Daily Bread in Chatham and the Alternative Baker in Kingston would also be included.
Speaking of Bread Alone, I see that its founder, Dan Leader, has a new book out this month: Local Breads: Sourdough and Whole-Grain Recipes from Europe's Best Artisan Bakers (Norton). I haven’t read it yet but it’s definitely on my to-do list!