You are aware from previous posts that I am very much a bread snob. I wish I could settle for eating spongy, flaccid, tasteless bread, but I can’t. To me, bread is the heart and soul of all meals. Unfortunately when are US grocery markets became supermarkets so much of the food we eat became corporatized and commercialized. That brought us Wonder Bread, but thankfully we now see a significant reversal of that as purveyors source local meats, produce and other food items including fresh artisan bread. It seems in Charleston, and all over there is someone new sourcing or creating local quality foods every day.
Previously I mentioned Christophe’s baguette as the best in town. While it is an excellent baguette and when in need, he will remain a source for me, I also found a new player in town that makes several types of bread, all in an artisan, rustic-style and one helluva baguette. Not intending to be fickle, I am afraid the Rook Baking Co. baguette has eclipsed Christophe’s #1 position.
Root Baking Co.
Root Baking Company is a wholesale/limited retail bakery specializing in high quality, artisan, hearth bread. Other than the baguettes, the miche and loaves are all sourdough based. But here is the thing… their sourdough bread does not have that strong or lingering sour taste that I expect from a sourdough bread. As a matter of fact, I had no idea when I first tried them and was shocked given how they tasted.
The baguette and epi baguette are not sourdough but traditionally made using baker’s yeast.
All of the breads are baked in a hearth oven which means that the crust is slightly hard to the touch, crisp and crackly but the interior is scattered with various sized air pockets surrounded by a pillowy, moist, and creamy crumb. (Crumb is the only word used in the English language to describe the interior of bread.) Every loaf I have tried, I have loved.
Baguette and the Epi
Their baguette is perfect in every way. The crust is a beautiful brown and oh so crisp. The crumb is as light and moist as any baguette that I have had in France or anywhere. The shape is classic and the taste is superb. It is what I have been searching for in Charleston for 14 years.
They also make a baguette as an Epi. It is the same baguette dough, however, it is cut to resemble the shape of a stalk of wheat. In so doing it makes for the perfect loaf to serve at a dinner party because each epi or “ear” can be easily torn from the loaf essentially giving each guest a mini loaf. I brought one home last week, and Gary loved it. This will be my “go to” baguette when having a dinner party or when perfect when going on a picnic because no knife required. And it is just so darn cute.
This loaf is my fave for sandwiches. Mind you I eat primarily open-faced sandwiches. The semolina loaf uses Durum flour creating a light and nutty, naturally leavened Sicilian style bread. Then they pack on the sesame seeds, and the nutty is on over-drive. I know that kids are not big crust fans on bread, but this is one they may just love.
This bread was a surprise. I was not planning on buying any, but a customer walked up while I was talking and starting going on and on about this bread. Then she said I also had to buy the chicken salad from Vi, the vendor next door. Hey, I am easy…. so I did. And that was last Saturday’s lunch before I started cooking that amazing Sartu that you read about yesterday. Dang, it was the perfect combination.
Farmer’s Markets and Wednesday Bread
Even though a major portion of their business is wholesale, they also consider themselves a community bakery. However, there is currently no permanent retail location with regular hours because of limited space in the baking facility and the necessary staffing requirements. But they have something called Wednesday Bread where you order online on their website and then pick up your order on Wednesday’s at the bakery between 1:30 and 7:00 pm.
If that does not work for you, you can stop by one of the three Farmer’s Markets listed below:
Or at the Mt Pleasant Whole Foods or the Charleston Veggie Bin. See the Root Baking Co. website for more information about when to find their bread at these locations.
The baking facility for Root Baking Co. is not open for retail business so please find them at one of the above locations or order online and pick up on Wednesday afternoon.
I promise I will get off my soap box about bread. Really.