- Hand Forged Artisan Bread -

Our Story

WE MAKE HAND FORGED, ARTISAN BREAD.

Hewn \ˈhyün\ to give form or shape to with or as if with heavy cutting blows by hand.

Why the name Hewn? It all started on the coast of Maine in an 18th century house, while Ellen was taking a course on Historic Preservation through the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The project involved dating parts of a house by examining the building techniques. One way to date a structure is to look at the beams and determine if they were hand-hewn or cut with a saw. Ellen discovered a treasure when a hand-hewn beam was found inside the walls, meaning that a craftsman used an axe to shape the beam. Ellen’s career as a historic preservationist ended after working on the Maine Coast when she started to pursue her passion for food, but the word hewn stuck with her.

Making bread is an ancient craft that relies on the hands of the baker. The word hewn is a way to connect the past with the future. Everything at Hewn is made in-house, from scratch daily. We source local and seasonal ingredients from small, local farmers when their flavors are at their peak. All of our breads are hand-mixed, hand-shaped and naturally fermented without commercial yeast. Allowing bread to ferment with wild yeast allows a richer, more complex flavor to develop. It also allows the gluten proteins to slowly and naturally break down over time.   The starter (levain/sourdough) was initially created by Ellen several years ago.  Our bakers all work to feed and maintain the starter every day.

Each day our bakers mix the dough by hand, turning it every 30 minutes over a four hour period. The dough is then shaped and placed into bannetons, where it rests overnight to rise naturally. In the morning, the bakers fire up the oven and bake the bread. From the start of the mix to the bake, the bread is fermented approximately 20 hours.

Directed and edited by James Kozar | THIS Inc. | www.MakeItThis.com

About The Owners

Ellen King is the co-owner and head baker at Hewn. She is a classically trained chef and has worked in various restaurants in Seattle with a specialty in French, Mediterranean and Vegetarian foods. She also served as the artisan cheese buyer for Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA. Ellen spent time at Quillisascut Farm School, a sustainable farm school in Rice, WA, where she first learned to bake bread in a wood fired oven. She has also been a chef instructor for the “Food as Medicine” culinary classes held in Evanston with Dr. Geeta Maker-Clark. Ellen attended the Seattle Culinary Academy where she was awarded the Les Dames d’Escoffier 2003 scholarship. She holds an MA in American History from the University of Maine, and a BA in History from St. Norbert College. She was chair of the Evanston Backyard Chicken Committee, serves on the Evanston Environment Board and is a member of Chefs Collaborative, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and the Bread Bakers Guild of America.

Julie Matthei is the co-owner and Director of Business Operations at Hewn. Julie’s belief in the product and Hewn’s mission led her to partner with Ellen in this endeavor. Julie has a BA from Fairfield University and a MEd from Loyola University Chicago. She worked in college admissions and was the Director of Guidance at a large Jesuit high school for several years. Julie’s experience with several construction projects, both residential and commercial, helped guide the creative remodeling of Hewn’s space with repurposed materials.

Our Bread

WE MAKE HAND FORGED, ARTISAN BREAD.

All of our breads are naturally fermented without any preservatives, chemicals or additives. We use 100% organic ingredients and each loaf is baked fresh everyday.  Our oven was imported from Germany. It has a stone hearth and steam injection, which helps us to create the perfect crust.

Why no gluten free options at Hewn?  Making bread the way its been made for hundreds (some could argue thousands) of years produces a loaf free of additives, additional gluten, fast-acting yeasts, sugar or other preservatives.  This, plus the long fermentation period, allows many people with a gluten sensitivity to enjoy our breads without any difficulties.

Because our bread is so unique it needs to be cared for a little differently.

Caring for your bread

Once the loaf is cut into it will keep for 4 days on your counter. Do not store in the refrigerator. It is best left on the counter and wrapped in the paper it came in or loosely wrap the cut end with plastic. Or, if you want to be “French,” store the bread cut side down on a cutting board letting the crust be exposed to the air.

If however, you prefer a softer crust, the bread can be wrapped loosely in a recycled plastic bag and will keep for 4 days.

Saving an uncut loaf to serve later

If you plan to serve the bread the next day keep it wrapped in the paper. The next day the loaf can be warmed up in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 and place on a rack in the middle of the oven for 6-7 minutes.

Freezing bread

We won’t think less of you if you are unable to eat the whole loaf at one sitting. We would rather you freeze it than waste it. We prefer to slice the bread before freezing that way we can pull out a piece at a time to reheat. Or, you can cut the bread in half or quarters and freeze. To prevent freezer burn we recommend you wrap the bread with foil first, then store in a freezer safe plastic bag. Or, if you’re the gambling type  you can skip the foil and store it in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

Thawing

If you sliced the bread you can take a piece out and toast it right away.

Or, for a whole, half or quarter loaf unwrap the bread from the foil and sit on the counter to defrost. Preheat the oven to 375. When the oven is at temp, rewrap the bread in the saved piece of foil. Place the bread (wrapped in foil) in the oven for 9-12 minutes. The foil will help steam the bread. Do not refreeze any leftovers (if there are any!).

Our Space

The history of our space

You never know what you will find if you spend a day at your local archive. We felt strongly that our space should reflect our mission and product. After doing some research at the Evanston History Center, we discovered that the Evanston’s original high school was built on our site in 1882. The high school was torn down in 1927 and the existing building was built the following year. The brick alley to the east of our store still traces the original footprint of the high school and helps explain why it takes a sharp turn half way down.

Further research revealed that a long-term tenant at 832 Dempster was actually a family run neighborhood market called “Bernsten Bros.” Another tenant at 818 Dempster was Wood’s Bakeries, that had four locations in Evanston. Quaker Brothers eventually bought Wood’s and the bakeries were closed. Evanston was filled with several neighborhood bakeries from the early 1900’s until about the 1960’s when they started disappearing. Hewn is a return back to that time when small, family run bakeries and groceries reflected the heart of the community.

The Store

Inside Hewn we wanted to use as many salvaged and repurposed items as possible. As our bread is handmade, so are many of the interior furnishings that you see in the front part of our store. We wanted the warm, rustic nature of our store to reflect the warm, rustic nature of our bread.

The Floors: We were surprised to find the original terrazzo beneath thick, gray tile. It was literally like finding a treasure!

The Walls: Carlson Barnwood salvaged all the metal from an old barn roof in southern Illinois.

The Shelves and Counters: All of the shelves and counters are from an old White Oak tree that had to be cut down in Wilmette. Horrigan Urban Forest Products works with local communities to salvage wood from trees that would otherwise be turned into mulch.

The Lights: Vintage Barn Lights in Appleton, Wisconsin salvaged all of the silver pendant lights. The exterior light was reclaimed from a closed factory building in Wisconsin.  Our new red barn lights in the front windows were sourced from Barn Light Electric in Titusville, Florida.

The Wood Panels and Doors to the Kitchen: This wood is from old Michigan cypress pickle barrels.

The Windows to the Kitchen:  All of the reclaimed windows on the west side of our retail area were sourced from Salvage One in Chicago.

Find Us

Address

810 Dempster St. Evanston, IL 60202
Directions

Phone

847-869-HEWN(4396)

Current Job Openings:

We are hiring an Assistant Pastry Chef.

Click here for a full description of the position.

We are hiring additional baristas.  Please email your cover letter and resume to julie@hewnbread.com

Wholesale Inquiries: Email julie@hewnbread.com

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Hours

Monday Closed
Tuesday – Friday 7:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 8:00am – 1:00pm


Limited Supply

Hewn will close early if we sell-out of breads and pastries. Customers can reserve bread and/or pastry items by calling ahead at 847-869-HEWN(4396). We cannot accept reservations left on our answering machine.  All reserved bread must be picked up by 12 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Looking to purchase a Hewn gift card? Click here.

Looking for a donation for your charitable event?

Download our donation form, fill it out and email it back to Hewn.

Latest Hewn News


08/02/2017

FEAST ON THE FARM WITH A BAKER, BREWER, CHEF AND FARMER

Join us at the 2nd Annual Feast on the Farm taking place Saturday, August 5. Combining the crafts of a farmer, a baker, a brewer and a chef, guests will be treated to a one of a kind, educational experience. Guests will meet at Hewn Bakery in Evanston and travel via coach bus to Hazzard […]

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Chefs may have a reputation for being choosy when it comes to dining out, but it seems the pickiest palates actually belong to their children. Luckily in a city like Chicago, there are plenty of places that cater to those tiniest of food critics. Read on to find out where the pros go to score […]

07/12/2017

Sell-out crowd raises funds for Evanston work programs

More than 350 persons—officially a sell-out—graced the grounds of the Charles Gates Dawes mansion Sunday for the third annual Taste of Evanston, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse, to raise funds for three employment-oriented community programs. The afternoon program featured food and beverages provided by some 30 local restaurants, breweries, and wine shops, […]


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Hewn is a proud member of: Evanston Chamber of Commerce