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EdibWasa Winter 2014 : Page42

Bill Chats with custOmers in cRum brOs. cafe Manager of the business, and is also the face many recognize from the Downtown Farmers Market every summer Saturday. Bill continues to focus on a craft more common to his mother’s era than today’s: breads and pastries shaped by hand using the sim-plest and purist of ingredients — flour, water and salt — and brought to life with natural starters made of flour, water and the right tem-perature and time. He doesn’t use commercial yeast, which would shorten the time it takes to make bread, but would then probably taste like a lot of products you can get at any grocery store. His starters bubble and grow for days, some look like pancake bat-ter and others more like bread dough. After the starters are mixed with bread ingredients, the dough sits for hours and hours more. That time translates into chemical reactions that create the flavor and tex-ture of amazing bread. “We’re gonzo about our starters. We’re very careful. There’s a certain time we feed them because starters, because they’re alive, they’re like your kids. … they need to be fed on a sched-ule to be at their best,” he says. Starters are as important to a baker as sauces are to a chef, asserts Oblock. But the bread dough recipe, or formula, isn’t all that impor-tant. For bakers, the formula for success depends more on time and experience, along with quality ingredients. “It’s a lot more magical. It’s intuitive. It’s like a nice ballet,” he says. Before it’s placed on a conveyor-like belt and sent to the massive Italian hearth stone oven, the dough is shaped in wicker baskets and then scored, giving it triangular shapes on the top of the loaf. “If all goes well, it will feel like a baby in the womb," he claims. “It’s alive. Something’s going on in there.” Oblock recently stirred up some major changes within the busi-ness. Until recently, Crumb Brothers bread was a common sight in Salt Lake City restaurants and markets, found at Liberty Heights Fresh, Caputo’s Market & Deli and others, and served in restaurants ranging from Martine to Siegfried’s Deli. But he recently decided to quit the wholesale business altogether, scaling back from 1,200 loaves a day to 300, which are sold at the bakery (and in a few markets in Logan). “This allows us to be a small bakery, where I can create dif-ferent bread whenever I want,” he says. Bill hopes to draw enough people to buy directly from his bakery, as well as eat at the cozy on-site cafe, which currently offers soup, lunch sandwiches, cookies and pastries and is gearing up for an expanded menu. Crumb Brothers croissants are made with European butter (with more than double the butter fat as American butter) and filled with batons of bitter-sweet chocolate or almond paste or ham and cheese, and you can also find traditional palmiers, Danishes, scones and cookies. The bread menu changes daily and includes a Jewish Rye, kalamata olive, sun-flower honey oat, along with baguettes and ciabatta buns. Bill’s driving force might be represented best by an old bread peel hanging in his office that shows an image of a baker using the paddle-like tool to slide bread out of an oven. It was given to Oblock by a customer who was moving away. “She said, ‘I want you to have this peel because I want you to know how much your bakery has meant to me—to have bread that reminded me of when I was growing up in Denmark,’” he recalls. His customers recognize his passion. Chuck Gay recently stopped by because he needed the best baguette to eat with cheeses he had brought back from a trip to Italy. “This is as close as it comes to that kind of pastry and bread” that he found abroad, he says. Marcia Herrera was in Logan for work and made sure to stop by the bakery for lunch and a mini baguette, to eat later with cheese and a glass of wine. “The bakery is really good. It’s hard to find good bread freshly made,” she says. “In a way, I’m glad I don’t live here. You would find me here a lot.” 7 42 edible W ASATCH Issue 15

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