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Friday Bread Basket 2/24/23
Breadless bread basket
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a big fan of millet in baking, ever since I ended up with an accidental extra bag of the grain. Like naked barley, millet is now being recognized as an important crop for a warming world:
Millets are a group of small grains – technically seeds – that are grown on lands with poor soil quality or limited access to irrigation. They are versatile ingredients that can be used both in their original grain form in porridges and as rice substitutes, or as flour to make flatbreads and other baked goods.
Once a staple in traditional Indian cooking, millets fell out of favour over the years, and have been making a slow comeback in India and across the world. To keep this momentum going, the United Nations has declared 2023 the International Year of Millets.
At the announcement ceremony in December 2022, Qu Dongyu, the Director-General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, spoke about the nutritive value of millets and their invaluable role in empowering small farmers, tackling food security issues and achieving sustainable development.
Rize Up rising
I’ve been following (on Instagram) the goings-on at San Francisco’s Rize Up Sourdough, a Black-owned bakery, ever since launched during the early days of the pandemic. Up until now, owner Azikiwee Anderson’s amazing-looking breads have only been available at farmer’s markets, but as of this summer, they’ll get a fancy new permanent home in the city’s SoMa district:
If you’re into bread, you might have already noticed a new style of sourdough skidding into farmers’ markets and coffee shops around town. These wildly colorful loaves star unexpected mix-ins: sausages and okra, tinted golden yellow with masala and ultraviolet with ube. All are wrapped in a brown paper bag with a Black fist raised on the front. This daily bread is the work of Azikiwee Anderson of Rize Up Bakery, who flipped into the sourdough scene during the pandemic, when he started baking in his backyard. The big bread news is that this summer, the rare Black baker in San Francisco will publically open the doors of his massive new bakery in SoMa. There he continues reimagining what one of our most iconic local foods can look and taste like.
Last fall Rize Up took over the former Vive La Tarte location at 1160 Howard, which closed remarkably quietly, considering it was cavernous. It’s a huge industrial space spanning 5,000 square feet and illuminated by skylights. The team fired up the ovens in September 2022, and have been selling bread for pickup and delivery, as well as through local groceries, farmers’ markets, coffee shops and restaurants, including Sorella, The Morris and 25 Lusk. Soon, you’ll be able to float in, grab a loaf of bread, maybe even sip a latte and experience the vibe of the bakery. Anderson is still figuring out the menu, counter and seating.
Can’t wait to get out there and finally try their breads.
Breakfast of Champs?
I’ve mentioned Arturo Enciso’s Gusto Bread here before, another California bakery I’ve been dying to get to. So I was pleased to see his recent story and recipe on the King Arthur blog on champurrado, the Mexican masa harina-based chocolate drink:
Champurrado, as it’s known in Mexico, is a thick and creamy chocolate corn-based drink that dates back thousands of years. It’s made with just a few simple ingredients: water (or milk of your choice), masa harina, chocolate, piloncillo or dark brown sugar, and spices (typically cinnamon, though anise, cloves, or nutmeg are sometimes included, as well as vanilla).
Champurrado is the chocolate version of a category of drinks known as atole: A thickened, warm, sweet drink made with masa, originating in Mexico and Central America. Though widely popular during November and December holidays (such as Posadas, Christmas, and Día de los Muertos), champurrado can be enjoyed any time of year and at various times of the day. Despite the sugar, it’s often served as a fortifying morning meal alongside a side of toast or pastry that you can dunk into the velvety drink (perhaps Conchas de Maíz?). You can also have it later in the day, as an afternoon snack or a satisfying nightcap before bed.
It’s going to be another cold weekend here in MA, might just whip up a batch of this.
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend, see you next week.