Bread drop. I will admit that when I first heard that I couldn’t quite stop the replay in my mind of the famous WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Drop episode: “As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
Thankfully, this is nothing like that. It’s way better.
Chris Boles has launched Fire and Flour as a new way to get freshly baked handmade loaves of bread into the hands of the people (without all the fuss and finances of opening a shop). A bread drop is like a pop-up, with a hint of a CSA: a couple of times a month, Boles schedules bread drops at stores and coffee shops, during which he doles out pre-ordered loaves, offers a few for on-site sale, and samples the goods to get you hooked. Loaves run about $8-$10 each.
His bread is 100% handmade (not even a mixer!), naturally leavened, and slowly made with traditional methods. He uses organic heritage grains milled for him at Sunrise Mill and wild yeasts, "I see flour like wine, and try to figure out how I can pull out the most flavor from each batch". Among the crusty loaves you'll find a Daily Bread with a heady amount of sour, a City Loaf which will be mellower and lighter, a Seeded Special of whatever grains he feels like playing with, and a Brewers Bread made from spent grain of local breweries. "We just did a collaboration with Indeed and used the grain from Let It Ride, it was pretty fantastic," he told me excitedly.
Boles has banged around the industry, working at Lucia's, Turtle Bread, and Rustica before going back to school to get a nutritional degree which led him into a career as a corporate wellness trainer. But there's something about baking bread that won't let him go. He bakes in his home in Chaska, where he says "the temperature of the house, the refrigerator, the jerry-rigging of the oven for steam" all play a factor in his loaves (this is all legal under the Cottage Food Law). But that's not the end game. He's hoping to collaborate with his friend and former boss Steve Horton, past owner of Rustica, who is working hard to establish a flour mill and bakery in The Food Building in Northeast. If all goes well, he hopes to be using their stone mill to make his own flour and the wood-fired oven to bake his bread, and be selling at farmers markets sometime next season. Mark my words, at some point they will begin growing their own wheat in the backyard.
Until then, you can get a taste of the next bread wave at the coming bread drops (both 2-4pm):
Sunday, Nov. 1 at Quixotic Coffee in St. Paul (he's messing with a special focaccia recipe for this drop)
Sunday, Nov. 15 at The Food Building
Watch the Facebook page for more dates to be released. This could be your secret win to bring to the Thanksgiving table.