The Round River Baking process begins with selecting grains and flours that support the ideals of the Round River philosophy - fresh, organic, and grown and milled in our own region. Our flour comes from Central Milling, a leading national producer of organic artisan baking flours located down the road in Logan, Utah. While Central Milling's flours blend crops of wheat from a very wide area, it includes the majority of the organic wheat grown in this wheat-rich part of the Intermountain West. We also are working on getting whole grains from specific local farmers...as well as sourcing honey, eggs, and fresh roasted coffee (for our double-chocolate-salted-rye-cookies) from local and regional sources.
With our select ingredients, the majority of our breads go through a 3-day process that begins with preparing a traditional levain, using a natural culture of wild yeast and bacteria. The levain grows overnight and is mixed with the remaining ingredients for each dough on the second day. These doughs ferment slowly, developing flavor and texture over time, and are then divided and shaped into loaves by hand that are placed in a cold room to extend their fermentation over a second night.
On the third day, the cold loaves are slashed and loaded into a very hot stone deck oven with a burst of added steam so that they spring up, the slashes open with character, and a nice crust forms. We intentionally bake our breads so the crusts darken substantially to build important flavor elements (and the high hydration levels of our doughs require a thorough bake, while still leaving a moist crumb).
Finally, we load up the freshly baked loaves and get them to you that day (except for the 100% whole grain ryes that are meant to sit wrapped for a couple days before use).
...A few additional things are worth noting about the breads from Round River Baking:
First, our 3-day process and the use of a wild levain culture result in breads that are not only very flavorful, but more nutritious, and that keep longer without the need for added dough conditioners and preservatives. See, e.g.:
Next, we recommend storing cut-open loaves cut-side down on a cutting board (a bread knife with a long scalloped blade comes in handy here). Don't store your bread in the fridge, as the staling process actually occurs faster because the starches in bread recrystalize more quickly at refrigerator temperatures. You can help preserve the moist crumb by sealing your cut-open loaf in plastic...but to the detriment of the crust, which is best left exposed (a trade-off: crust or crumb?)...see our Bread Care page for more on this front...