The Story of Bread
Written onApril 03 , 2013
Green Mountain Flour, a new artisan bakery in Windsor owned and operated by Zachary Stremlau and Daniella Malin, takes a unique approach to its craft: it uses local wheat, local milling, and local fuel to create its flours, breads, and pizzas. Here, woodcuts that comprise the bakery’s logo tell “the story of bread,” echoing a time in early New England when, according to Zachary and Daniella, “the farmers knew the miller, the miller milled with stone, and the baker baked with fire.”
The organic wheat for Green Mountain Flour’s products comes primarily from Vermont farmers Jim Greer in Windsor and Ken Van Hazinga in Shoreham. Although wheat is a challenge to grow in Vermont’s wet conditions, there are more than a dozen grain growers here, supplying a steadily growing demand for locally sourced grain.
For Green Mountain Flour, sourcing grains locally is part of a larger effort to revitalize the small grain economy in the region, which includes surrounding states and Quebec. While the company’s sourcing strategy begins with Vermont-grown organic wheat, the company relies on Quebec wheat when local wheat is not available. With a thriving grain industry, Vermont’s farmer neighbors to the north have assisted growers here in many ways, as they establish this new industry.
Most Vermont wheat is milled in New York State with industrial roller mills. Green Mountain Flour uses its own stone gristmill, adjacent to the bakery, to produce “bolted” flour—flour that is simply crushed and sifted. It’s believed that stone milling results in healthier flour than roller milling because the entire grain is crushed and the healthy oils are retained.
When it comes time to make its products, Green Mountain Flour shapes by hand and uses only “fresh flour”—meaning the flour has not been purposely aged. Fresh flour, while considered healthier, has a reputation for being harder to shape and make into lofty bread, but with extra care and attention, both loft and superior flavor can be achieved.
Zachary, the head baker, uses a wood-fired oven to bake his signature breads, for reasons of flavor and sustainability. He often starts the day by splitting wood right outside the bakery, which is located adjacent to the couple’s home. They buy firewood from Strobel’s in Ascutney and go through roughly seven cords a year.
Currently, Green Mountain Flour distributes its products through a bread CSA and online farmers’ market, and wholesale to retail stores, restaurants, and schools. They also cater with their mobile pizza oven. Although their business is just starting up, Zachary and Daniella are planning to write another chapter in the story of bread by opening a “see-it-made” storefront bakery and gourmet pizzeria in Windsor.