Local love in every loaf.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Farmer Ground Flour

Shareholders, blog-readers:

For the better part of our existence, F and D has been using local flour, grown in Hamburg (Zittel Farms) and milled in Buffalo (Five Points Bakery). Five Points has decided not to continue wholesale milling, so we have got the locavore blues.

We are looking into the possibility of milling our own flour, but for a number of reasons, this solution may not be a real solution until the late summer or early fall. In the meantime, we need your immediate help. The next closest flour mill is Farmer Ground Flour in Ithaca, NY. We're talking organic wheat, cornmeal, pastry flour, and more! We tested out Farmer Greg's flour last September, and we think it's top notch. But right now, it is not being distributed to Buffalo.

Next time you go to the Lexington Coop, please take the time to fill out a  suggestion form and request that the coop carry Farmer Ground Flour in bulk. And for those of you who are home-bakers, or have started to come to our baking workshops, you will have access to the finest New York state flour money can buy.

Thanks for your help and continued support,
F and D

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If you know a guy...

Fancy and Delicious is currently, constantly searching for these things:

1) Straw (not hay!), or sawdust.
            -->This is to repair the insulation layer on our oven. Straw is ideal, but hard to find. If you know of someone who deals in straw, please direct us. If you have a big pile of clean sawdust, sans chemicals we will take that too. Hay is not useful because it has seeds: bugs will burrow inside to eat them, and break down the oven walls.

2) Clay from the subsoil.
            --> This is also to repair the insulation layer. We need to make a bunch of clay slip. We are also going to be collecting clay for more ovens, which we are going to be building this summer (details forthcoming). So, if you are digging for whatever reason, and coming up with that almost pure clay subsoil, please put it aside for us and we will come take it off your hands ASAP.

3) Kitchen cabinets.
            --> If you know of someone who is re-doing their kitchen, and wants to donate the old cabinets to a good cause, send them our way.

4) Burnable wood.
            --> We are always taking non-varnished and non-painted wood to burn in the oven.

5) Sand, gravel, and firebricks.
            -->These are all oven building materials. The sand should not be all fine, like play sand, but vary in size and be a little gritty. The gravel should be dirt-less. Firebricks are what we use for the hearth floor--maybe you know someone who takes down chimneys?

6) A small mill.
            --> We are hoping to start milling our own flour. If you are the sort of person who happens on unusual machines, keep your eyes peeled.

If you know a guy, or are a guy, for any of the above, call Maura at 994-8340, or email fancyanddelicious@gmail.com

Thanks as always,
with love,
your local, underground bakery.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All the ingredients:

The weather could not have been lovelier today. The sun was sparkling on Megan's herb spiral, which is back in full force, and we were inspired to put lemon balm in our bread. I haven't tasted it yet. Workshop go-er's? Any comments? All of the loaves looked beautiful, and all had original scores--there was a star, a zig-zag, and initials, to name a few. Impressive. I'm very much looking forward to hearing your reactions and feedback. We had new friends and old friends, and a great brainstorming session on and off all day. I learned a lot too: how to extract the most nutrition from flax seeds, how estrogen activity may be linked to breast cancer, about the British invention of "curry," and someone even identified a mystery plant in the garden (it wasn't really a mystery, just a mystery to me). Thank you to everyone who came by throughout the day to bake bread, or just hang out. I had a great time.

If you missed the workshop, stay posted. We will be having another in one month.

And, please take a few minutes to watch this. It may seem unrelated to bread baking, but, in fact, it's related to everything. Elizabeth Cotten's story of how she learned to "play strings" speaks so much to the commitment that we should all bring to whatever we do. She plays with an immense grace: she draws emotion up from a patient well of inner strength.

Elizabeth Cotten's life story is incredible, and a microcosm of it is the story of how she learned to play music. As a child, she would take her brother's banjo off the wall when he went to work. She often broke the strings, and when he came home, she would hide. "Sometimes he wouldn't put the strings on in a long time--think he's punishing me. But I'd play with three strings," she says," four strings. It didn't have to be five. I'd play anyway."

This is the right attitude to take to baking, to our oven, and our neighborhood, our city, and our friends. Take whatever you've got, and make something of it.  The attitude and respect with which you approach someone or something is more important that the quality of the tools you have to work with. Elizabeth Cotten played "upside down," because she was left handed learning on a righthanded guitar. And because no one taught her what to do, she developed her own tunings, which later influenced scores of musicians.

The ingredients? Flour, water, honey, salt, yeast, and love. Obviously.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bread-baking workshop!

Please join us for our first bread-baking workshop, this Sunday, May 16th from 11 AM until 5 pm at 153 Eaton Street on the east side.

The reason for the long hours is that bread takes a little time to make. You are not required to come the whole time, and are welcome to leave whenever you want, or to straggle in late. However, if you want to make your own dough and take the loaf that YOU mix and shape home with you, you must arrive promptly at noon.

One of the reasons bread baking is so great is because it includes down time in which you get to do things you don't always get to fit in. Our favorite down time activities are reading, writing, doing laundry, jumping rope, and calling our mothers. On Sunday, we'll have some wine, and something to nibble, and when the waiting begins, you are welcome to sit and relax with us (it's Sunday after all). Chat to us, or bring a book. You can also explore the Reuse store, which will be open, or if you live nearby, go home and take a nap.

Please R.S.V.P., so we have a general idea of how many to be ready for. And make sure to bring your own bag to bring your bread home in.  We really love baking bread, and are very excited to share our recipes and tricks.

The workshop is FREE, but we will be accepting donations. And as always, if you have questions, or need directions, call Maura at 716.994.8340 or Matt at 716.307.7726.