Let us express our astonishment
before we are swallowed up in the yeast of the abyss.
I will lift up my hands and say Kosmos.
For almost 30 years, Southern California’s La Brea Bakery has been sourcing whole grains, using slow fermentations, and producing exceptionaly good bread from its legacy starter. Now, with the launch of their new reserve line of heirloom-grain artisan breads, the bakery offers the first nationally available artisan bread desdigned to encourage customers to make the connection between a breads flavor, terroir, and type of grain.
The three new loaves in La Brea’s tasty triumverate are Pain de Campagn, Struan, and the real star of the group, a Fortuna Wheat Loaf. Fortuna wheat is a Non-GMO heirloom grain, grown for flavor not yield. Since the industrialization of agriculture this variety was ignored by farmers because it grew too tall (making it tend to fall over when harvested) and because it produces low yields.
To reintroduce this heirloom grain to the market La Brea bakery purchased land in Montana and worked with a third-generation farmer who grows the wheat sustainably with a No-Till Conservation Farming approach designed to avoid soil erosion, use less seed, create less of a carbon footprint, and generally engender higher quality in the grain.
The wheat is grown near Three Forks Montana by the headwaters of the Missouri river where its high mountain valley location makes it some of the highest elevation grain grown in America. Cool nights, hot days, and extremely low rainfall stress the grain to produce a more intense flavor.
La Brea’s large-scale but still traditional baking process also helps showcase the quality of the flour, including a slow multi-stage proofing process that allows the Fortuna Loaf to develop its mild yet complex mineral profile.
La Brea Bakery Reserve loaves are worth looking for at select Amazon Fresh markets, at the La Brea Bakery Café itself in Los Angeles, or an expanding list of grocery stores across the country. As of 2017 the bakery will also certify that all of its artisan breads are Non-GMO.