This is the first of a series of photo essays digging into how we bake bread at Orange Boot Bakery. We're starting with our signature loaf, Orange Boot Birdseed Bread.
Ingredients: Orange Boot Birdseed Bread
- Organic Wheat Flour
- Organic Whole Wheat Flour
- Organic Rye Flour
- Sunflower Seeds
- Organic Flax Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Organic Rolled Oats
In the beginning, there was a dream. A dream of a delicious, healthy, and generally awesome loaf of bread. Mark was not the first to have this dream, nor will he be the last. However, he is the only one that is relevant to our story, so we'll focus on him. We join our hero as he begins crafting our signature loaf, Orange Boot Birdseed Bread.
Day 1: Scale
All masterpieces require preparation, and this is no exception. The flours, salt, and yeast get scaled and left in large tubs the day before they are mixed and baked, which makes things easier when the baker arrives at 4 am. Next, the sourdough starter is fed and left to rise overnight, and the seeds are soaked. Soaking the seeds overnight prevents the seeds from robbing moisture from the dough, and it also makes them easier to chew. This is the least exciting step for the bakers, but it is by far the most important! All the prep work is now done, and we're able to get a brief night's sleep before the main event!
Day 2: Mix, Shape, and Bake
This is where the magic happens. The cauldron of creation, the penalty spot, centre ice, grandma's kitchen counter, whatever analogy floats your boat, it happens here. This is the moment of destiny, and it all begins when Mark staggers in to work at 4 am. He removes his coat, dons his hat, and starts weaving his magic.
It starts with a mix. The starter, soaker, and ingredient tub are combined with water in our lovely mixer, where they mush together for a little while. When the contents of the cauldron have turned into a single entity and the gluten in the dough is properly developed, Mark lovingly scoops it all back into a tub to rest while he prepares the bench. A scale, proofing boards, and a massive amount of flour are brought to the shaping bench, and the stage is set for our masterpiece.
Mark begins by dividing the massive slab of dough into loaf-sized pieces, which he then pre-shapes into round boules. The pre-shape helps bring all the individual hunks of dough into one manageable piece and gets it thinking of being a loaf of bread.
Once all the loaves have been rounded, Mark dons his shaping gloves and gets to work! Each loaf is pulled, flipped, and smacked around until it looks like a proper Birdseed loaf. The loaves are then put on a proofing board separated by a couche cloth, which prevents the loaves from sticking together. With the hard part behind him, Mark lets the loaves rest briefly before he loads them into the oven.
Now comes the fun part: loading. Mark puts 4-6 loaves on a peel, depending on how many Birdseed are being baked that day. Each loaf gets scored twice, which is a very crucial step. Scoring the loaf controls the way it will burst in the oven, and getting the angle or length of the slash wrong can significantly impact the way the loaf looks when it comes out of the oven. Once the loaves are in the oven, they bake for 40 minutes before being whisked out onto our shelves for sale!
The Birdseed takes a full 2 days to make from start to finish, but we think it's worth it. Our signature loaf, it's baked every single day. Not sure how to serve it? Check out some of our favourite recipes below!
BRIT'S PICNIC SANDWICH
- Birdseed (thickly sliced)
- Cheese (Havarti works well)
Set up sandwich station with a thin layer of mayo and mustard on the bottom slice. Layer the meat, cheese, lettuce, sprouts, and mushrooms on top. Take on a picnic and enjoy!
KYLLE'S AMAZING SANDWICH
- Cheddar Cheese
Toast 2 slices of Birdseed to a golden brown, add mayo and mustard to the bottom slice. Stack turkey, cheese, lettuce, and tomato, enjoy!