Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baguettes and the Rhythm of the Mother

Since October we have been producing sourdough french baguettes three times a week using a continuously-fed natural starter method along the lines of  Chad Robertson's Tartine Bread.  Maintaining a mother properly takes a lot of discipline and dedication, but the payoff is in the improved flavor, which has robust sweet and sour notes without being overpoweringly sour.  Check out Robertson's full recipe here, along with my annotations.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Update

Northern Cali: Another busy weekend, another amazing meal from Chef Matt.  Our Northern Cali menu, which one could have feared would have been a bland rendition of pulses, quinoa, and brown rice, was brought alive by Chef Matt's ingenuity.  The savory fruit salad was, as he says, "banging", his dal was rich and hearty, and the toasted quinoa salad, which was really more porridge than salad, had almost a glutinous, silken deliciousness.  Also, shouts to David Mills and Jessee, two NCCU music students, for playing jazz during the evening - it set a nice tone.  My fave track of the night: "In a Sentimental Mood".

One question I get a lot is, "So, how is it going?"  We have been remaking the bakery bit by bit since early September, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) a lot of early mornings and late nights, our customers are happy and sales are moving the right way.  But most of all, the crew is having a lot of fun.  Chef Matt, Jacqueline, and the kitchen crew work extremely hard every day to bring you their best, and our bread and pastry teams are consistently going above the call of duty to tweak recipes and production processes that result in improved product.  We continue to look forward to your feedback, and all that Ninth Street Bakery has yet to bring!

Track of the Weekend:

Friday, November 22, 2013

The VeganSafe Grill

One thing that many vegans might not know about us is that two months ago we had our flat-top grill re-polished.  That means that the steel surface was powersanded, polished, and then re-cast.  So we can say with certainty that that cooking surface has never seen the likes of meat, dairy, or eggs!

Holiday Cookbooks

The latest batch of Holiday Cookbooks are out.  And it looks like there are some winners.  Parker and Otis has some nice displays of them if you want to browse.

Stollen in Stores Now

Fans of holiday treats should take notice that our Stollen and Pan Forte are now in our retail stores as well as our Downtown location.

Our Stollen received a makeover/facelift this year.  We are now making it in a more traditional way, using wholegrain flour, brandy, brandy-soaked raisins and almonds, orange zest, and dusting it in powdered sugar.  It also has a natural starter foundation to give it a beautiful depth of flavor.  Lastly, like a brioche bread, it gets softened butter kneaded into it, giving it a delicious richness when sliced thin, toasted, then schemeared with butter, jam, soft cheese, and so forth.  We hope you enjoy it!

Where Do We Fit In?

The opening of the new Harris Teeter on Ninth Street (Durham) left me kind of wistful: as happy as I am that our products are in a new store, we hear every day from customers who remember when Ninth Street Bakery was on Ninth Street and about how our cafe (now the site of Elmo's) was "the place" to go.

The other reason I felt a grain of sentiment is that the Harris Teeter is literally in my backyard (I live in Old West), and as much as I am in favor of economic development, it feels like a megacorp (complete with hundreds of parking spaces) just landed in what had been a neighborhood-friendly commercial zone.

Which left me with the question: where does Ninth Street Bakery fit in in this world of superchains (a Panera Bread is also moving into the same supercenter and a Starbucks is in the HT lobby)?  We are bigger than a boutique (like Monuts), and smaller than a megacorporation.  We actually sell a lot of our wholesale bread through major retailers like Harris Teeter and Whole Foods.  But at the same time we are trying to keep our ethos of small footprint, ethical practices, scratch methods, and independent ownership.

So this Thanksgiving, give your local small retailer some shine.  As we continue to grow our operation in new directions (e.g. kombucha, internet retailing, gluten-free, vegan), we thank you for your continued support and hope that Ninth Street can give back to the community everything and more that you desire and expect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend Update: Korean

This past weekend we were graced by an amazing Korean menu from Chef Matt.

Track of the Weekend (If you missed Roy Ayers at the Hayti Friday night, you missed out - Chef Matt and I were lucky enough to attend):

Bonus Clip

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Update

This past weekend we had one of our most well-attended dinners yet: (Pan-)African Gone Tapas.

We were also graced by the singer-songwriter Emily Musolino - she played well and made the night really special - hopefully we can have her back soon!

Tracks of the Weekend:

Saturday, November 2, 2013