Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.
And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.
Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.
When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.