The Pennyloaf Bakery, a small-batch artisan bakery opened their doors today at 858 Corydon Ave. Baker and owner Suzanne Gessler set up the unique bakery as a retail location that offers takeaway, old-world style bread and bakery products baked fresh daily on a wood-fired brick oven. Whenever possible she uses local, seasonal and organic ingredients.
The Pennyloaf Bakery’s breads are made with wild yeast and go through a controlled, long fermentation process. They also make an effort to include whole grains in our bread and baked goods. The use of wild yeast, whole grains and a long fermentation creates bread that is tasty, has a longer shelf life (than breads made with commercial yeast) and has health benefits. The bread is different than loaves found in traditional supermarkets and grocery stores. For example the bread has no additives or preservatives and is made with only flour, water, salt and wild yeast.
The other unique characteristic about The Pennyloaf Bakery is that they bake the majority of their bread and baked goods on a wood fired brick oven. Wood fired brick ovens bake bread amazingly well because they use three types of heat: radiant heat (the bricks absorb heat from the fire and radiate the heat), conduction (heat transfers from the hot bricks to the cool bread) and convection (hot air swirls in steamy currents in the oven chamber helping to bake the bread).
Immense stores of heat remain in the masonry mass of the oven dome and oven floor, making it possible to bake for days after one oven firing.
Wood fired brick bread ovens retain steam exceptionally well, which is key to making beautiful loaves. The low chamber ceiling helps steam collect creating loaves that have large volume, open and shiny crumb and crisp crusts.
The oven was built by traditional oven crafters and is referred to as a “black” or direct-fired oven (a fire is built and burned in the oven chamber – where the bread is baked).
Baking on a wood fired brick oven also has nostalgic value. Fire, wood and hearth baked bread has deep roots in all communities and their baking/culinary traditions. While this type of oven has many practical benefits, The Pennyloaf Bakery feels its charm and old-world-craft tradition are what make it unique and much needed in our present day, fast-paced world.