The Artisanal Way: A hop, skip and a jump from pale ale to bread
Written by Veronica Hinke on 02.26.14
When Temperance Beer Co. Head Brewer Claudia Jendron finishes making a batch of her Restless Years — a Rye Pale Ale with a slightly spicy finish — she doesn’t just toss the used grains. She gives them away — to the neighbors down Dempster Street in Evanston. There, at Hewn, an artisanal bakery that opened last year, bakers knead Jendron’s grains into loaves of aptly-named Spent Grain Bread.
“The spent grains are dense. It’s hard to use them to make bread,” Jendron explains.
But these artisans certainly aren’t looking for the easy way to do things. They’re among Evanston’s artisanal food and beverage community, making things the old-fashioned way.
Crusty loaves of Spent Grain, Potato-Rosemary and Whole Wheat Gruyère, fresh out of the hot oven, entertain the bakers at Hewn daily with a cacophony of noises. “You’re basically hearing the crust condense,” explains baker Aaron Cagle. “When it’s done, it actually talks to you,” says Hewn co-owner Julie Matthei.
It’s nothing short of music to head baker Justin Holmes, who by the time the breads are pulled from the oven racks, is weary from laboring in the hot kitchen since 3 a.m.
Holmes works with co-owner Ellen King’s personal recipes, including one for the starter they use as a base for most of their breads. They feed the starter regularly by adding equal parts flour and water.
Hewn’s collaboration with Temperance is just one example of artisan partnerships. The Hewn crew makes focaccia bread three times a week for nearby Union Pizzeria. The focaccia is also available to the public at Hewn by advance order. The bread is known for the dimpled top crust that bakers create by using their fingertips to spread the dough evenly across a flat baking pan, like a cookie sheet. “Use your fingers as if playing a piano,” King recommends.
And there are more partnerships. In January, Jendron teamed up with Nicole Pederson, the chef at Found Kitchen and Social House in Evanston, to create a beer dinner for members of the local chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier. Pederson made a House-cured Salmon with Rye with Caperberries and Dill to go with Jendron’s Restless Years ale. Pecan and Sweet Potato Risotto was paired with Jendron’s Temperance Gatecrasher IPA. Pederson even made a Beer Cake — with Salted Caramel Gelato — to cap off dinner with Jendron’s Root Down Robust Porter.
Next, they’ll participate together in a tour of Artisanal Evanston. The tour will be open to attendees of the annual conference of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, which will be held in Chicago March 14-17. The tour will also stop at Hewn, Nell Funk’s Now We’re Cookin’ test kitchen, Belgian Chocolatier Piron and The Spice House.
At every tour stop, artisans will showcase items that are new to their craft. Spice House Owner Patty Erd will provide tastings of popular new flavor enhancers like bergamot extract and trendy sansho peppercorns. The peppers, which are still grown only in Japan, are known for their heat. “When you put them in your mouth it’s like you put your tongue in an electric socket,” Erd says.
The IACP conference tour will be an opportunity to show culinary visitors from around the world what Evanston — and all of the Chicago area — has to offer. Another upcoming event, the 21st annual Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference, will be coming to Chicago for the first time, March 9-11. The event will also showcase the work of local artisans: Nicole Pederson and Evanston native Stephanie Izard will be among featured chefs. Chefs Sarah Stegner, Gale Gand and Paul Virant will be featured presenters.
To learn more about the annual IACP conference, including a list of culinary tours, visit www.IACP.com, and for more about the 21st annual Conference of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, visit www.WomenChefs.org.
Preferment (Mix one day ahead of time)
8 ounces bread flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon yeast
5 ounces water*
Combine all the preferment ingredients in a bowl and mix until there is no dry flour.
22 ounces bread flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 ounce garlic confit*
15 ounces water*
2 tablespoons butter
Add when shaping the focaccia:
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (herbs native to Provence, like marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* Ingredients are measured by weight; others are measured by volume.
In the bowl of a stand up mixer, add bread flour, yeast, salt, garlic confit, water, butter and preferment. On low speed, mix all ingredients for about 4-5 minutes. Then turn up to medium speed and mix until dough forms a ball and does not stick to the side of the bowl (4-5 minutes).
In a large bowl (or if there is room in the mixer bowl), add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof in a warm spot for two hours. After the first hour, remove the plastic wrap and fold the dough over itself four times. Cover with plastic wrap again and let sit one more hour. (Note: make sure the plastic wrap is not touching the dough — it should rest on the edges of the bowl and allow enough space for the dough to grow.)
Add the olive oil to a sheet pan, and pour the dough into the sheet pan. Use your fingers to spread the dough evenly. It takes a few minutes to disperse the dough. Use your fingers as if playing a piano to spread the dough. The indentations from your fingers helps to create the uneven top.
Don’t worry if the dough does not completely fill up the sheet pan, but try to get the dough as evenly spread as possible. Loosely cover the sheet pan and let sit in a warm spot for 60-90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (350 if using convection) and sprinkle herbes de Provence over the top, bake for 20 minutes, and then check.
It should be golden brown. Bake longer if needed, and sprinkle with sea salt once removed from the oven.
— Hewn Co-owner/baker Ellen King