“Why Whole Grain is Important” and Other Lessons from the Los Angeles Bread Festival

“Why Whole Grain is Important” and Other Lessons from the Los Angeles Bread Festival

By Courtney WalshWest Coast Editor

Following close on the heels of the farm-to-table movement, in which chefs and diners alike have begun taking a much more involved approach in both ingredient sourcing and food preparation, Los Angeles has recently been witness to the emergence of a similar movement within the city’s top restaurants and bakeries - craft bread. 

This emerging craft bread movement sees the same focus on artisanal and handcrafted ingredients extend into the baking arena as well as a focus on working with local growers and farms that work with heritage wheat.

Earlier this month, at the first Los Angeles Bread Festival, a number of the city’s finest small lot bakers, grain growers and stone millers gathered to discuss the trends they’ve witnessed in LA’s burgeoning craft bread movement as well as some of the challenges they’ve faced in getting the bread scene to where it is now.

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Las Vegas Restaurants Excell at Complimentary Bread Service

While restaurants are generally praised for the quality of the dishes featured on their menus, a number of local Vegas eateries are making waves for their excellent complimentary bread service.   For these restaurants, the superb bread they offer diners is of equal quality to many of the items on the menu.

At classic Vegas steakhouses such as STK and BLT Steak, pull apart rolls and popovers are served, with the former offering blue  cheese butter and grape seed oil on the side and the latter suggesting diners accompany their Gruyere filled popovers with char grilled slabs of bacon. Handcrafted assorted dipping sauces and butters are also offered to accompany the bread service at the Top of the World restaurant inside the Stratosphere, featuring such unique accompaniments as orange ginger or pesto whipped butter. Yet perhaps the largest standout is the Lardo Focaccini served at Mario Batali's Carnevino, which features a crusty bread with salty, kneaded pork fat.   

Will unique bread services like these become restaurant norms?  Read More 

Bread Makes a Comeback

Bread Makes a Comeback

By Suzy Badaracco, Foodable Industry Expert

The interest in whole grains and single grains has risen for years now despite the fact these bread categories have been unwarranted villainized in the past. Its birth parent is a Morph which is characterized by cousins all vying for the spotlight. With this particular birth, the first cousin was Whole Wheat and it rose to fame back in the 1970’s. The first disruptive cousin on the block was then Whole / Multi Grain which took over the spotlight in 2005. Then in 2007, Single Grains stole the spotlight but was ousted in 2008 by Ancient Grains. Global Grains stepped into the scene around 2010 but was a bit of a wallflower until 2012 when it decided to stand on the table, put a lampshade on its head and start dancing (much to the amusement of the other cousins).  

In 2014 there are now hybrids such as Single, Global, Ancient Grains – the poster child is of course Quinoa. The way one knows a Morph is occurring is because the current cousin in the spotlight does not kill off the previous cousin – it just steels a bit of the focus. With a Morph, one can play with all the cousins since they are all still on the playground together. For example, whole wheat bread is still available just as Quinoa or any other single grain. You are just changing allegiances as the cousins push and pull at each other. This one has a cool health claim, that one is part of a hip flavor trend, and so forth.

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