While mortar sets and concrete cures, this is a time of anticipation and delight for a project that has been in the works for a long time now.
There is a bread oven rising here right before our eyes at Triple Green Jade Farm.
With the support of friends, family, our community and even Kiva and the Cornell Small Farms Program, we are closer than ever to realizing the first part of our dreams here on the farm.
Primarily our dream has always been to follow our passions, be our own bosses and be gainfully employed working for ourselves.
A few layers deeper into the onion and as many of you know, we have a desire to feed our community based on these passions.
We are nurturing the land in bringing back our green pastures from brush and neglect.
We are growing food and herbs on a homesteading basis.
Very soon we will be baking with local and organic flours from our new neighbors at Champlain Valley Milling.
That is truly where we get to put our hand craft to work.
As the first of several operations here on our fledgling farm, bread is not only the staff of life, it is the pillar we are building our livelihoods upon.
All We Knead is Good Bread
Way before gluten anxiety or carb hysteria, our ancestors ate perhaps the best breads known to humankind.
Their wheat was unadulterated and grew from ancient and localized strains.
This was not milled into commodity flour based on speed and efficiency, but was stone milled slowly and patiently keeping the whole grain and all of its healthy germ intact.
It was also freshly milled and baked soon after thereby capturing all of the wheat berries nutritious treasures.
With the addition of wild yeasts and a slow fermentation, flavor was developed but so was the life of the loaf.
Good bread, just like good beer or wine, is always fermented.
It’s in this slow fermentation where the proteins, like gluten, break down and are pre-digested.
When these elastic strands are baked they become the crumb, the interior of the bread; often full of translucent holes and crevices.
Perfect places for your butter or cheese.
The crust however being lovingly hand-shaped and proofed again given permission to relax and realize it’s true breadness, caramelizes to form a firm but malleable outer shell.
When baked on a wood-fired hearth where the trinity of convection, conduction and radiation all get to pray to the goddess Fornax… well, you know what happens next.
Like the monarch butterfly who lays her egg on milkweed hoping that caterpillar and cocoon will realize it’s true potential in life, so it is with good bread.
As farmers, millers and bakers, we are just facilitators of the process.
Nascent beauty awaits and we are there to help encourage it, nurture it, and create the right conditions for the magic to happen.
Good bread is what happens when wheat is allowed and given permission to fully experience this transformation.
Bread Oven Rising
And there is a bread oven rising at Triple Green Jade Farm.
A farm that we are slowly bringing back to life.
And that life will breathe again when that first fire in the hearth is lit.