If at first you don't succeed...
If at first you don't succeed... (step 1) call the Master Baker from MIWE, (step 2) post frantically in the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and (step 3) wake up at 4:30am to keep testing! 😂
What a wild few days it's been baking here in the new Bakehouse.
I'd like to tell you that it was all smiles, laughter, and perfect bread as I started baking here last Thursday. But to be completely honest, it was quite opposite.
Flat loaves, ugly loaves, burnt loaves, and downright strange looking loaves. That's what the first 100 loaves were like out of the MIWE.
The process over the last few days has reminded me about the importance of perseverance, positivity, and tenacity.
When we first started looking into buying a proper bread oven and expanding Voyageurs Sourdough into a real full-scale bakery, I had "day-mares" about not being able to produce the same quality of bread in the new MIWE oven as I was doing in the cast iron.
My day-mares have come true over these last few days. And you know what? It's okay! Honestly, it's been a really important process of building deeper resilience, and I know this is a crucial quality to have when being a business owner. So it's all good.
Voyageurs Sourdough is 100% about the bread. Even though the Bakehouse will offer other baked goods, we will remain focused on high-quality sourdough. So the pressure was on to produce an improved product.
I've been literally standing in front of the oven, watching the loaves as they bake. Stressing, worried, and anxious.
Everyone around me has continued to say, "Don't worry Ben, You'll figure it out." Although deep down I knew that I would figure it out, there was nothing like the moment of relief when I started to see the oven spring start to happen the way I knew it should.
The relief was profound and reassuring. My confidence returned.
In fact, yes I will figure it out. I am figuring it out. I've had a breakthrough today, and I'm starting to achieve consistently good looking loaves... just in time.
Grandma Agnes would be proud
As a kid, I remember riding my bike to St. Jude Church during the summer to have a free lunch; the days with tater tots and chocolate milk were the best.
I'd then head over to Grandma Agnes's house across the street and play in the backyard, or watch some soap operas with her while eating a few cookies. Some days she'd take me to Bethesda Thrift store to do her volunteer work with her, or we'd jump in the car to deliver some "meals on wheels" around town.
She lived across from St. Jude for my entire childhood and spent her final years here too. Nearly every day she walked over to St. Jude Church to participate in some event, or to go light vigils.
Grandma Agnes was a woman of incredible faith. During the 10 years I lived abroad in Asia / Australia, she would always tell me that she had lit a vigil for me. I think quietly, she was always saying a prayer that I would return back to Green Bay as soon as possible to be safe in her arms once again.
The incredible irony, or perhaps no irony at all, is that when I finally returned to the U.S. with a baby on the way, Grandma Agnes had passed and her little humble home was ready for someone to move in. So we did.
It was a place of familiarity, safety, and love - making it the perfect place for me to get grounded back in the U.S. and start my little family.
Little did I know that in the first 18 months of my child's life, she would spend many hours at the St. Jude Church Kitchen. She plays in that same cafeteria that I ate lunch in, and she returns home to the familiar place that I spent many of my childhood days.
Chef Cadman's Sourdough Stuffing
Let's talk stuffing...
Here's our experience with stuffing at the Thanksgiving table: It's either something that is outstanding, or it was sort of a last-minute thought and something dumped out of a box.
Like everything with food, the better the ingredients, the better the outcome. This is probably one of the biggest pitfalls with holiday stuffings because often the quality of the bread is overlooked.
When you focus in on your ingredients and the true art of the process, you can turn any dish into a glowing item on your table.
This stuffing recipe isn't a quick throw together. So if that's what you're looking for, this might not be the recipe to use.
This stuffing recipe takes attention and quality ingredients but the end result is worth it and is sure to WOW your family and friends at your table this year.
It is aromatic with fresh sage and thyme, yet deep and delicious with bacon. And of course, we think the best part about the recipe is that it uses fresh sourdough for the stuffing.
This recipe was created by Chef Graham Cadman, who is Ben's father. Chef Cadman spent 30 years as a head chef in restaurants around the world including Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and Amsterdam. He made this stuffing recipe a few years back, and it has quickly become a family favorite!
Chef Cadman's Sourdough Stuffing
Prep Time: 30 mins | Total Cook Time: 1h 15 mins | Serves 6-8
- 2 Tbsp of butter
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1 leek (finely sliced)
- 2 medium onions (small dice)
- 3 celery sticks (small dice)
- 3 cloves of garlic (crushed, or finely chopped)
- 2 cups of mushrooms, any choice you prefer (small diced)
- 6 strips of bacon
- 3 leaves of fresh sage (finely diced)
- 1 Tbsp of fresh thyme (picked off stems)
- 12 sundried tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 cup of cooked chestnuts (you can buy these pre-cooked) - Or use the same amount of cubed fresh Parsnip.
- 4 cups of 1-inch cubed Voyageurs sourdough (approximately 1/2 loaf)
- 1 whole egg (whisked with fork)
- Heat a dutch oven or heavy bottom pan on the stove to medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter & 1 Tbsp olive oil and warm slowly.
- Dice 2 slices of bacon and add to the oil. Fry gently for 1 minute, then add the leek, onion, celery, and garlic. Season with some salt and pepper. Fry together slowly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally on a low to medium heat.
- Add the diced mushrooms & parsnips (if using in place of chestnuts), sage and thyme. Cook slowly for 10 minutes. Add the cooked chestnuts & chopped sundried tomatoes. Combine and heat through.
- Moisten the mixture with the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter. Add the cubed sourdough bread. Mix together. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. It's important to taste throughout to ensure the right balance of salt.
- Mix in the whisked egg.
- Transfer mixture to a medium oven dish that is lined with bacon strips. You want to be able to fold half of the bacon strips over the mixture after it is put into the baking dish. Add the stuffing to the dish, fold over the bacon.
- Bake at 350F for 45 mins.
A Hosting Pro's Preparation Tip:
Thanksgiving is a big meal to prepare! So do all that you can to pre-make parts of recipes where possible.
You can prepare steps 1-4 in advance and complete steps 5-7 last minute before you bake! The mixture made in steps 1-4 will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Do you have any questions about the recipe? If you make it come back and tell us your thoughts!
An experiential Bakehouse & Cafe
Now more than ever, we are being called to gather around the table as a family, as a community.
The table is where we are brought together to come up with new ideas, let people know they are loved, and share big laughs.
Bread has been bringing people around the table for centuries. Voyageurs Sourdough is a symbol of coming together and celebrating.
Our goal is for Voyageurs Sourdough to be Green Bay's leading bakery for European style sourdough, pastries, and other baked goods. By serving up European style coffee and inspired menus, our customers will get to adventure through their taste buds while sitting in a cozy cafe, or in their homes.
We want to be the first bakery to come back downtown and bring the bakery heartbeat back to the city center of Green Bay.
We plan on doing this by:
• Creating a warm and inviting yet minimalist cafe space,
• Continuing to create high-quality products with consistency
• Being the leader in European style hand-crafted, artisan bread, pastries, cakes, and coffee
• Continuing great customer service and fun marketing.
• Paying close attention to the details and infuse everything with magic.
This is more than just a place that bread is baked.
It is a place that embraces creativity, celebrates our differences and seeks commonalty.
It is a place that radiates positive energy and attracts the same through its doors.
When you spend your day doing something you truly love, it is no longer work.
It is a passion and lifestyle. We have chosen an open concept to allow people to see and experience this energy for themselves.
It's the heartbeat to the Bakehouse. It breathes a warm life into the bread and takes it from a raw living fermentation to an edible masterpiece that nourishes your body and senses.
The oven, imported from Germany, will be the centerpiece to the Bakehouse.
This new oven will allow us to:
• Bake at least 400 loaves a day, which means we can expand to Appleton, supermarkets, and meet the growing demand for deliveries and farmers’ markets.
• Bake new types of bread that many of our you have been asking for. Bring on the croissants, focaccia, brioche and cinnamon buns!
• Bake with more efficiency and consistency.
We hope the oven will spark conversations between strangers and encourage the curiosity of the products it makes.
DINE-IN & RELAX:
Special Saturday morning date. Done. A quick lunch out with your colleagues. Come on in! A place to meet up with a mom-friend, be our guest and bring your littles with you too!
Voyageurs Sourdough Cafe has both dine-in and take out options, crafted with the highest quality ingredients and care of preparation.
It's nourishing to all senses from what you see on your plate, to the ambiance and energy around you. Yet we haven't forgotten the options for indulgence on those days that you just need to treat yourself.
TAKE OUT FAST FOOD MADE WITH LOVING PREPARATION:
Grab a quick bite to eat from the take out menu. Options for open-faced sandwiches that pack a flavorful punch, yet nourish your body.
Pair that with an energizer of your choice. One day that's a green smoothie and another day it's a coffee. The options are there for you.
Whatever your elixir of choice, we promise it will be simple, yet made with love and fresh ingredients.
If you're tight on time, or maybe you've got a baby in the backseat sleeping, but want a healthy lunch... text us your order! Use our App to order, and one of our runners will bring it out to your car.
This is perfect for those cold winter days when you still want your coffee and pastry on the way to work!
THE FLOOR PLAN & LOOK BOOK:
In the creative process of designing the floor plan, and using our look book, we've been able to visualize a powerful and exciting reality. As you can see, this is more than just a bakehouse.
By bringing in soft natural textures, paired with the industrial feel of concrete that our space has to offer, our goal is to give people a comfortable space that is just different enough to be novel, exciting and cool. Yes, cool.
THE FLOOR PLAN:
THE LOOK BOOK:
The Bakehouse Look Book is a collection of images that we've used to visualize and inspire our space. These are not exact images of what you'll see in our space when finished, but you'll be able to get a sense of what we strive to create.
- Tartine Bakery | San Francisco, CA
- Petite Passport
- Blue Bottle Coffee Co. | Oakland, CA
- Hanks | Austin, TX
- Kaikado | Kyoto, Japan
What do you think? Are you ready to see this become a reality here in Green Bay? Leave us a comment!
"Eat as our grandparents did."
"Eat as our grandparents did." Might sound crazy, but we think this is some great advice.
Now we aren't nutritionists, nor do we have any certifications to back the statements we're going to make in today's email, but hear us out! ;) It seems that our health and quality of life could be improved by simply looking at the way our elders (specifically the oldest generation still living, born about 90 years to a century ago) ate and lived. We can find a lot of inspiration about how we can incorporate their wisdom into our modern-day lives.
1. Eat what's fresh and in season
It's a wonderful time of year to take this advice to heart. Our hardworking farmers are reaping the rewards of their crops and bringing it to farmers markets where we can "vote with our dollars" and support local farming and agriculture. This also boosts our quality of life by going out and participating in community events.
2. Live off the land.
Older generations grew a lot of foods in their own backyard gardens to feed their families. They raised their own animals to use them as food. The result was ethically sourced fresh food, free of processing, additives, and chemicals. Even having a small herb plant or two in your house is one step towards growing your own food. Kevin comes from many generations of McGillivray farmers—spending time on the family farm growing up was a natural way to see what living off the land looks like, and to grow to appreciate the work of a farmer.
3. Eat real & whole foods.
This is all there was. There weren't foods made in a laboratory and made to last for months on store shelves. They were made by nature. It comes back to the idea of eating foods with little to no processing. Our tip is to look for minimal ingredients and be able to pronounce them all on the label
4. Be creative & minimal waste-minded.
In the 1900s to 1920s, if a family cooked a bird, they used it all; the organs and the bones for bone broth, too. It was a well-rounded way to eat, not to mention waste-reducing. We practice zero waste in our bakery by doing "bake-to-order" with our online ordering. This allows us to produce exactly the amount needed, and never throwing away any loaves. We also practice this by using the very last bit of the loaf for breadcrumbs. It's the perfect topping for the incredible asparagus that is in season right now!
5. Don’t fear good fat.
Unfortunately, with the fad diets that have made their way to the top news headlines, fat has become something we removed from our diets. Non-fat, low-fat... none of this existed in the early 1900s. Today's non-fat and low-fat foods are often supplemented with extra sugar to make it palatable. We'll continue eating full-fat butter and yogurt with our toast, please. You be the judge on this one!
6. Gather around the table to eat.
This is near and dear to our hearts. There weren't fast food options in our elder's day. They made food from scratch, in the home, and ate together around the table. This is real "slow" food.
7. No dieting.
Dieting wasn't a thing. Although there wasn't an abundance of food at the time, and food-insecurity was a reality, they ate what was available. There is something we can take away from this too. Just eat real food.
8. Move all day.
A sedentary lifestyle wasn’t a problem for our great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents because most of them woke up at the crack of dawn and were active right off the bat. They moved more and lounged less. More of their jobs and chores required manual labor, away from TVs, computers, and smartphones which today distract us and keep flicking one thumb at a time. We aren't saying all this is all bad. If it weren't for the internet you couldn't receive this email. But perhaps there is a balance that we can find in making sure we get up and move around every day.
9. Preserve with fermentation.
We love this one. Ben's father-in-law, Richard, says weekly, "I love your bread because it reminds me of the taste of my Grandmother's bread." Our grandparents and their grandparents jarred spent their summer preparing for bad winters. Preserving with salt and cold storage creates fermentation, which not only preserves the food for long periods of time but also enhances the nutrients. This is exactly what we do with our bread. It has an impressive countertop life and doesn't go moldy thanks to to the salt and long fermentation. It's also easier to digest and is high in nutrients.
Try one of our loaves of sourdough, and eat like our elders! You can order a loaf here to be delivered for FREE to your home!