Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bread.

I've been contemplating bread lately. I think that bread service is a very important part of the dining experience and shouldn't just be a basket of 'stuff' you get when you sit down so that you have something to shove in your face while you're looking at the menu. So, taking that into consideration, we have an actual space alloted for the bread service during the course of the meal at The Mansion. You've already heard from Rich about the pretzel rolls and we also make a Parker House style roll. The one piece we were missing was a crusty french style baguette. There was the problem. In order to make a crusty loaf, you need a lot of even heat and steam. Some folks recommend baking on quarry tile. Some folks just recommend buying your bread from a bakery equipped with thousands of dollars worth of specific baking equipment. Ok, well, we're not in NYC or DC, so I can't have a bakery deliver bread....don't have thousands to spend on a specific baking oven, so what should I do? Well, I happen to 'know some people' at the RH Sheppard Company(yes, that Sheppard. You know, Sheppard Mansion, RH Sheppard.....boy, nothing gets past you guys) Kathy and I visited the Company two weeks ago and discussed an idea I had for producing a cast iron baking plate that we could insert into my ovens and help produce crusty bread.....all this writing is boring the hell out of me....let's cut to the video tape.

So, that was the plate, here's the first part of the baking process....

And, here's the finished product...

I have no idea why I continue to say 'crispy' and 'crunchy' when I mean CRUSTY!!!!

Here's a shot of our bread basket....ready for service.


And our bread being taken into the dining room ready for tableside plating.



So, that's the importance of bread for us at The Sheppard Mansion. You know that the product you get has been baked fresh every morning, not pulled out of the freezer and 'refreshed'. We obviously go to great lengths to make sure our bread lives up to our lofty expectations....hopefully, this post illustrates how crazy I am.(Do I need a blog post to prove that? If you're not positive, read on, brother, read on)

I'd like to thank the Sheppard Family and all the folks at The RH Sheppard Company for helping make this project a reality. With any luck, you might be seeing a home version of this very baking plate coming to a kitchen store near you.....

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome, but you'll have to go a long way to beat the pretzel roll. Can't wait to try the new baguette.

Andrew said...

Off topic, but nicely done article in the Nov/Dec Celebrate Gettysburg magazine. Looking forward to future columns.

Andy S.