Last week, we were featured in the Ecollegey May newsletter!
If you live in Montreal, we're sure you've checked out this amazing natural food store on Monkland Ave., with tons of great products and a very friendly staff!
They asked to interview us to get a bit more info into our process, and what makes our sourdough so special.
Check out the interview below.
"Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love bread? Even better than eating bread is smelling fresh bread baking, filling your whole entire home with that mouth watering smell. Bread Box Canada has found a way to bring all the wonders and joys of fresh baked bread even to the most inexperienced cooks!
EcollegeY: We think it is such a cool concept to just pop a loaf of sourdough in the oven and have fresh baked bread in 20 minutes! Where did the inspiration come from? Talk to us about your back story.
Arthur: The summer before we launched BreadBox, we spent 4 months backpacking throughout Asia. Among other things, our adventure awoke in us a real passion and curiosity for food. When we got back home, we found ourselves paying more attention to the foods we were buying and in particular, to their ingredients. We realized that a big change was necessary and we wanted to be a part of that change.
May: One of the foods with ingredients that shocked us most was bread. Even a bread that claimed to be 100% whole wheat could actually have as many as 40 ingredients! So we decided to start our food revolution with bread, a staple in most people’s diets. Another reason we chose bread to start is because there is such a war on bread and gluten right now, but bread is one of the oldest foods in existence.People have been eating bread for thousands of years with no problems, so we wanted to figure out what went wrong and see if we could fix it.
Arthur: What we learned was that the enemy wasn’t bread but the ingredients in those breads. So many big companies use bleached flours and unnecessary additives and preservatives. Unfortunately, those are the breads that are currently the most accessible to consumers. We were inspired by this and wanted to make the best bread possible using the most simple ingredients (flour, water, and salt) - something of the highest quality that could be accessible to everyone. We started thinking about the best bread we have ever had, and for both of us the common thread was that the bread was hot out of the oven. We wanted to give everyone the ability to have fresh-out-of-the-oven bread at home, with as few ingredients as possible, and the convenience of a store-bought product.
EcollegeY: What is the difference between sourdough bread and regular bread. Can people with gluten intolerances eat sourdough bread?
Arthur: Real Sourdough is made using natural fermentation. Instead of adding yeast to the bread, we cultivate it directly from the wheat. It’s made from a mixture of water and flour, called a sourdough starter. Your sourdough starter can last forever if you take care of it correctly, and it’s what gives each sourdough bread its unique taste. The result of using sourdough starter and long fermentation periods in place of added active dry yeast or quick rise yeast is a bread that is much more easily digested because the yeast feeds on the flour, breaking down the carbohydrates.
May: It tastes good and is actually good for you since our bread is a good source of whole grains. Only about 1% of the population, those that are celiac, can’t digest gluten. For the majority of people who avoid gluten, the problem lies more with the quality of the breads they are eating and all those extra ingredients. Many bread companies have cut corners to increase shelf life and consistency. They’ll use overly processed bleached flour and dozens of other unnecessary ingredients, so it’s no wonder that people have a hard time digesting them.
EcollegeY: Talk cultures to us! What’s the fermentation process like? Tell us about a typical production day.
May: Our sourdough starter (the yeast culture) is fed multiple times per day to ensure that it is healthy and ready for production. We’ve had it for about a year now and hope to keep it alive forever! Some people have had their sourdough starters for over a hundred years - ours is just a baby right now.
Arthur: A typical production day can actually be longer than 24 hours. Our sourdough starter is fed with a mixture of flour and water a few hours before we begin to make our dough. The timing will influence how sour the batch tastes. The starter is then mixed with more flour and water. Salt is added later in the process. Over the next 3-4 hours, a series of folds are performed on the dough to give it strength and tension. Then the dough is loosely shaped and rests for another 30 minutes before it undergoes its final shaping and is put into a banneton (a basket that helps the dough retain its strength). The dough then goes into a cold room for between 12-24 hours where it develops its more complex flavours. After all that, it’s finally ready to be baked! We bake it about 70-80% of the way, then we let our breads cool completely before packaging and freezing them.
May: By the time the product is actually ready for delivery, as long as 48 hours may have passed just to make the loaf. This may be a store-bought product, but it’s really as artisanal as it gets. The BreadBox in your oven was made locally by hand - so every bread is shaped and scored a little bit different. We’re proud of that unique aspect.
EcollegeY: What are some of the challenges in organic, sourdough baking?
Arthur: The major challenge with baking any form of organic bread is shelf life. Without additives or preservatives, breads can’t last for very long. By selling our breads par-baked and frozen, we can extend the shelf life significantly.
Another challenge is in the current perception of bread. As we said before, there is kind of a war on bread going on right now. Big non-organic bread companies have cut so many corners to lower costs and increase shelf life that their breads have fuelled this backlash against gluten. For the majority of people avoiding gluten, the problem lies more with the quality of the breads they are choosing, so there is a big learning curve there to help people understand that good bread is good for you.
EcollegeY: How has working with live cultures shaped your view on life?
Arthur: You can’t help but marvel at the complexity and mystery of our world! The big secret to great bread is naturally occurring yeast. The crazy part is that yeast is always naturally present on wheat. There is really no need for so many additional ingredients - it’s all so simple yet yields the most complex flavours. The best breads are made with just flour, water, and salt.
May: We’re sure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
EcollegeY: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
May: We don’t plan to stop at bread! We really believe that the world needs a revolution when it comes to the foods we eat. The best foods are ones that have simple ingredients and that leave you with a good feeling. You don’t have to spend 48 hours making sourdough from scratch to have that quality at the end - we want to make that end result accessible to everyone. That experience of pulling a fresh loaf of bread that looks like it just came from a high-end bakery out of your own oven, that’s pretty special. We want all our foods to give you a special feeling and experience.
Arthur: If you are interested in learning more, please visit our website at www.breadboxcanada.ca to find out about other projects we are working on - including a new initiative we’re working on to help save marine life!"
Learn more about Ecollegey at http://www.ecollegey.com/