Hand crafted bread has always been the backbone of our restaurant. Each morning, the bakers arrive to our wood fired oven that is still hot from the fires we lit the day before. Because of its thick insulation, it remains at 525°F overnight, which is the perfect temperature for us to start baking our Ciabatta bread. As the oven naturally cools, we add Focaccia, Sourdough, Multigrain, Superseed, Baguettes, and any additional specialty breads for that day, which often include Jalapeño Cheddar and Cranberry Walnut.
The oven that we use was designed in Barcelona, Spain by J. Llopis, which is where each brick was shipped from to construct the oven on site. The combination that it provides of smooth, radiant heat from the wood fire and added steam vapor through built in water chambers make for a crust that is soft yet beautifully caramelized. In addition, it ensures plenty of moisture is retained within the bread itself.
After the morning bake of bread, sandwich rolls, hamburger buns, tortillas and crackers, we fire up the oven to 700°F to bake pizzas for our lunch and dinner service. Because of its efficient design, this only requires one or two fires and it will retain that heat for the next morning’s bake.
For over ten years, we have been using our natural sourdough bread starter to make bread. Our starter, or “mother” as we call it, imparts a delightful complex flavor profile to each of our breads. Colleen originally created our “mother” from scratch by harvesting Petite Sirah grapes from our vineyard and mashing them and adding them to freshly milled flour. The native yeasts and microorganisms went to work and created a wonderful mixed culture, a portion of which goes into each batch of bread.
This same culture that we initially started with is the same one we use today; it requires daily feedings of freshly milled organic wheat flour and water to stay nourished, but the effort is worth it for something that has the potential to last generations and, like a fine wine, only get better with time.