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Miche Niche

Side Dishes: Red Hen Baking Co. adds all-local loaves


Published March 16, 2011 at 6:16 a.m.

In 2009, Red Hen Baking Co. debuted its first loaf made entirely from Vermont grain, the Cyrus Pringle. Now the company has added three more all-local breads to its roster.

All three are made from the same dough, a hearty mix of wheat and rye from Gleason Grains in Bridport, Nitty Gritty Grain Co. in Charlotte and Butterworks Farm in Westfield. Because of the breads’ different shapes, each one has its own taste, says Red Hen co-owner Randy George.

The Vermont Miche is a two-and-a-half- pound French-style round loaf with a dark exterior and earthy flavor. The Crossett Hill Bâtard is long and even enough for sandwiches, while Crossett Hill Round is best for eating with olive oil or cheese.

A midwestern wheat version of the Crossett Hill was one of Red Hen’s first breads and has long been out of circulation. According to George, the grainy, naturally leavened loaves have returned in their all-local form thanks to a boffo year for Vermont growers.

“The farmers have happened upon a variety of wheat that seems much more suited to this climate. It’s called Redeemer,” says George.

He goes on to explain that, like wine, wheat has good years and bad ones. If next summer’s weather doesn’t cooperate, there may be no Vermont Miche or Crossett Hill breads that year. For now, the loaves are available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays wherever Red Hen bread is sold.