In Pittsburgh, One Baker Requires a Whole Year to Create the Perfect Loaf | June 24 2015

As reported by Mascha Goncharova, in the  June 24 2015:

” Barely six months old, Pittsburgh’s Bread and Salt bakery is fast becoming known for its pane locale (local bread), made in a former slaughterhouse in the centuries-old Italian baking tradition of using organic flour, natural fermentation and local grain. Its owner and founder, the baker Rick Easton, acknowledges that the loaves’ ‘ugly, formless and dark’ appearance belies their addictive flavor — which he accredits to the 100% stone-milled, high-extraction wheat flour crop he develops with a farmer in Weatherbury Farms in Avella, Pa. At the beginning of the season, Easton experiments with different wheat crops and handling techniques to find the right texture for bread he will serve that year. The result is a pane that feels like whole wheat, but the germ is retained so that the richness and natural oils produce ‘an incredible amount of flavor and sweetness. From a customer’s perspective, it’s great to be able to think about wheat in that way,’ Easton explains. ‘People are used to this supermarket bread that has a two-hour process. My process is 24 hours, and then we’re talking about crop planning that went in a year ago. So last year, someone was thinking about the grain that you would eat today.’ Below, Easton shares a recipe for enjoying his signature loaf — or your own favorite, local bread.

Toast With Ricotta and Honey

Yield: 1 slice of toast

1 piece stale bread, sliced about an inch-and-a-quarter thick
Olive oil
A few generous tablespoons of ricotta, at room temperature (suggested brands: Caputo Brothers Creamery or Twenty Paces)
Two teaspoons of dark honey
Salt and coarse black pepper

1. Fry the bread in a cast iron skillet with olive oil until crispy and golden brown on both sides.

2. Smear with the room temperature ricotta.

3. Drizzle with the honey.

4. Lightly sprinkle with the salt and pepper, if desired. Serve.”