Baking It Until I Start Making It: Sourdough Subscription Pre-Orders

In November I started writing a new post complete with my first sourdough recipe for the blog. I keep coming back to it, and working on it, but every time I do I get overwhelmed (or distracted).

I just have SO MANY THINGS TO SAY ABOUT BREAD. 

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In the last few months I have been extremely busy with holiday pie and bread orders, as well as baking my yearly insane-amount-of-Christmas-cookies to give as gifts. In November I started supplying City & State, a cafe (and curated handmade fine-goods shop) in the Broad Avenue Arts District, with seasonal pies to sell by the slice on a weekly basis. I am still working two other non-baking part time jobs, and I have a life to balance too. I have been working so much that I have been putting my own home life responsibilities on the back burner.  My apartment is a mess of boxes of flour, grocery bags of never-put-away pantry items, cooling racks, cookie boxes, and laundry that needs to be put away. I have to pack out all of my baking equipment and ingredients to the commercial kitchen space that I have access to on Sundays, so my car and apartment have essentially become staging and storage areas for all of my supplies. My life is chaotic, and my schedule is a shit-show, but I am baking all the time and somehow I am making it work. My kitchen is clean but my life is a mess and I want to get my priorities in order. Baking naturally leavened sourdough bread is what I am all about, and I am ready to get my focus back. Right now my overhead is low and my hustle is hard.

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I just ordered myself a nice grain mill so that I can take my sourdough bread (and other baking in general) to the next level. Home milling the portion of whole wheat for my recipes means that there will be more flavor. After milling, the nutritional components of the whole wheat kernels begin to oxidize and the oil present in the wheat germ begin to go rancid. This means that the nutritional bio-availability (ability of your body to adsorb the nutrients in the grain) is greatest right after milling. Commercially produced whole wheat flour, like the kind you can find at the grocery store, is often a product made of all purpose flour (flour with all of the bran and germ removed) recombined with ground bran. The shelf life of this recomposed whole wheat flour can be extended significantly by omitting the germ, but the flour is not truly “whole wheat” at all. I have been sprouting and dehydrating organic wheat and spelt berries in preparation for the mill’s arrival, so that I can get started milling my own sprouted whole wheat flour too. I am so excited to take this next step towards baking the best bread possible. 

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So now I pretty much have no excuse but to get a bread subscription service going that is open to the public in the Memphis area. I have been baking breads for special holiday orders as well as regularly for my family and friends for a while now, so I know that it is do-able with my current schedule. I already bake more bread than I can eat so I am thinking I can only handle a few, maybe 5 or so customers, per week to start out. This seems like a small and attainable-enough goal, to try out for a month or so for logistical planning reasons.

If you are interested in trying some of my bread, this is a great way to do it. If you are interested in supporting my baking efforts, then this is THE way to do it. I set up options for weekly and every-other-week-ly pickups/delivery, so if you only want to try it out the option is there. I also added an add-on seasonal pie option, in case anyone didn’t get their holiday fix! I do not currently have the order form set up to receive payments, but depending on the input I receive, I can update the form to include a payment option. For now I can only accept cash (or Venmo) payments, and will need to collect them on the first day of pickup/delivery. If I receive more orders than I can handle, I will simply have to use a first-come-first-serve type method for this month, but I doubt that it will come to that!

(Update: I have maxed out on my first subscription, so it is now closed as of 6pm. Thank you guys so much! Stay tuned to my Instagram & Facebook for when I announce my next subscription at the end of January.)

I will still gladly accept special orders so feel free to send me an inquiry email at hustleanddough@gmail.com.

-Ali

All Photos by Simon Hua, 2016

 

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