A couple of weeks ago I put in my application to be a vendor at the West Lafayette Farmers Market. This afternoon I received great news: my application has been accepted!
I’m thrilled, and a little terrified. Working with sourdough (real sourdough, not some additive) is unlike baking most kinds of breads. Store-bought yeast is a hybrid, bred to give a predictable result.
Natural yeast, so to speak, has a life of its own. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out it surprises you — usually not in a good way. So, saying you are going to show up with armfuls of loaves at a certain time and actually doing it can be very different.
And then there’re the usual questions: Will anyone like my product, is it priced right, will I bring too much or not enough? (My hunch is you can’t go wrong bringing more than enough, whereas sitting there with nothing to sell would be painful.)
I can’t wait. There are many things on the to-do list between now and Wednesday, including fine-tuning a production schedule, putting together a presentable booth, deciding what to bake and what to leave out, procuring bags and shelves and labels. And that’s just for starters (rim shot).
The West Lafayette Farmers Market is open 3:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 3065 N. Salisbury St. See you there.
Hi. I’m Dave Smith, and Smittybread is my hobby, my passion and, if all goes according to plan, my livelihood in the not-too-distant future.
For the past few years I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time in my kitchen handcrafting breads of all kinds, a passion that eventually led to sourdough breads. I’m not just talking about tart San Francisco-style sourdough bread that makes your lips pucker but about a family of breads that rely on naturally occurring yeasts for their rising power, their complex flavors and their remarkable texture and color.
I make other breads too, such as ciabatta, pizza, French baguettes, butter rolls and burger buns, and laminated pastries such as croissants and Kouign-Amann, a personal favorite. But sourdough is one that wakes me up in the middle of the night thinking “How can I improve this formula?” or “Did I remember to feed the starter?” Every loaf is a little like a child: unique, imperfect, intrinsically valued. But unlike children, you can eat them, give them away or sell them.
I hope to someday soon begin offering Smittybread to a wider circle than just my close friends and family — through farmers markets, roadside stands or by subscription. If the market is favorable, perhaps a bakery cafe is just around the corner. Hey, if you can make bread outta nothing but a little flour, water, salt and freely occurring yeasts, anything is possible.
Stay tuned to this website for more Smittybread news. Until then, let’s get something started!