WE MAKE HAND FORGED, ARTISAN BREAD.
Hewn \ˈhyün\ to give form or shape to with or as if with heavy cutting blows by hand.
Several years ago, Ellen was taking a Historic Preservation course through the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. The project involved dating parts of an 18th century 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.
About The Owners
Ellen King is the co-owner and Director of Baking Operations 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, served on the Evanston Environment Board and is a member of Chefs Collaborative, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and the Bread Bakers Guild of America. Ellen oversees all of the Back of House and baking operations at Hewn.
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. Julie handles all of the Front of House operations and social media outreach at Hewn.
Hewn is an independently owned business. In a time of big box stores and large chains, Hewn is a return back to a smaller, family owned and operated bakery. We value our team of bakers, pastry chefs and front staff, and we love being part of the vibrant and diverse community of Evanston.