Listened to Moxie Bread, Louisville, CO by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Turkey red wheat seedsAndy Clark left Massachusetts in 1994 and wormed his way into one of the iconic bakeries of Boulder, Colorado. After that, he spent 15 years running bakeries for Whole Foods Market. All the while, he was squirreling away ideas and thinking of his own place, where he could focus on 30 great loaves a day, instead of 30,000 for The Man. The result is Moxie Bread Co in Louisville, Colorado, as warm and welcoming a place as I have ever had the pleasure to visit. We talked about bread, and grain, and about creating a welcoming experience. Oh, and perhaps the most decadent pastry I have ever tasted.

kouign amann pastry

That pastry is the kouign amann, an impossibly delicious amalgam of yeasted dough, butter and sugar that comes originally from Brittany in northern France. All the write-ups of Moxie agreed that their kouign amann was out of the world, and I was somewhat miffed that I had never heard of the things.

Now that I have …

Notes

  1. Huge thanks to Andrew Calabrese for making the introductions and the arrangements. What a great day.
  2. Also to our family and friends in Colorado for their friendship and hospitality.
  3. Moxie Bread Co is, of course, online.
  4. To learn more about kouign amann, I turned first to David Lebovitz, for a recipe and some alleged history.
  5. Eater turned to David Lebovitz too, for its informative piece about The Obscure French Pastry Making it Big in America.
  6. There’s apparently even a National Kouign Amann Day, on 20 June. If I can find one, I’ll be eating it.

Ah! The kouign amann! I hadn’t heard of it myself until the last year or so when it turned up on an episode of the British Baking Show, but even there it was featured as a specialty and rare dish (in a technical challenge if I recall, which makes things harder if you’ve never seen or eaten one). I’ve yet to see any in pastry shops here in the LA area, but I have pulled off a few myself at home and they are quite lovely. Sadly most home bakers are unlikely to work with heavily laminated dough much yet a yeasted version.

For the lost, here’s a short segment from BBS with a quick introduction:

A pastry cutter doubles nicely as a walnut chopper

A pastry cutter doubles nicely as a walnut chopper

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I’m a sucker for references to math and pastry

Math is about understanding processes and not just eating end results.

W

hat can I say? I’m a sucker for references to math and pastry.

 

“One of the wonderful features of math is that, like with pastry, it can use quite simple ingredients to make very complicated situations. This can also make it rather offputting, like making puff pastry. Actually, I don’t think puff pastry is that difficult if you follow the instructions carefully. But even if you don’t want to try doing it yourself, perhaps you can still enjoy the fact that such simple ingredients can turn into delicious puff pastry. Math is about understanding processes and not just eating end results.”

Eugenia Cheng, mathematician, amateur chef
in How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics (Basic Books, 2015)
 
How to Bake Pi
How to Bake Pi

Algebra is Like Pastry: Wonderful!

Pierre Anton Grillet (1941 – ), algebraist
in preface to Abstract Algebra, Second Edition (Springer, 2007)

 

Proofing Bread

Leave it to a mathematician to get a proof out of everything - including bread!
Leave it to a mathematician to get a proof out of everything - including bread!
Leave it to a mathematician to get a proof out of everything – including bread!

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