My quest to become a locavore took me over to 460° bread the other day. It’s an artisan bakery in Driggs that has been supplying the Teton region with high-quality, delicious, eat-an-entire-loaf-in-one-sitting bread for the last year or so. After spending a short while talking with Jerod and Ty, I honestly felt like I wanted to quit my job and bake bread with them forevermore. Perhaps it’s the pervasive smell of bread that surrounds you as you walk it, the beautiful light that pours in from the windows high in the industrial walls, or perhaps the fact the Jerod and Ty have to be two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I was there to buy some bread and snap a few shots, but I couldn’t help drilling them with questions as well. Here’s the thing. They don’t mind. In fact, they love it. I knew this already since my husband and I spent our Valentine’s dinner at Forage next to Jerod and his wife, Sage. I just couldn’t help asking Jerod one question about bread…specifically, how best to store it…even though he was ‘off the clock’. He didn’t miss a beat, and a sparkle shone in his eye as he talked about the doughy delight. One question led to another and I gained a lot of bread knowledge and enthusiasm that evening. It’s obvious that he enjoys everything about what he is doing. Pretty awesome, huh?
I watched briefly as they worked in sync, kneading, tossing flour, prepping, cleaning. And I asked more questions. Let’s talk about the bread being local. I’m finding a lot of gray area when it comes to “local” food, and I’m molding my definition of what I believe that is as I learn more. 460° bread is milled, made and baked locally, and there is a true respect for the ingredients they use. They’ve always milled their own flour…a feat I find most impressive….but they recently have been getting their grain from a farmer in Rexburg. Other sources come from Logan, Utah and a variety of other places, but all of these vendors have been hand-picked. Most of their ingredients are organic, and perhaps they will be certified one day. But the point is how conscientious they are about their ingredient sources…and most other things (Jerod and Sage live ‘off the grid’ and would also be happy to chat about that too.) In short, you won’t see a Sysco truck parked out front anytime soon.
What strikes me about bread-making is how incredibly simple and utterly complicated it is. The ingredients are basic: flour, water, sea salt (by the way, they use no oil or sugar except for a bit of olive oil in the ciabatta,) but the process takes a lot of knowledge and patience (ok, so maybe this wouldn’t be a good career for me afterall.) The name, of course, comes from the optimal temperature to bake artisan bread…duh (yeah, I had to ask.) Anyway, Ty and Jerod seem to me like they were made for this. They are friends from college and reunited in Teton Valley at a time when they were both pondering their next career move. Both having a love for baking, and Jerod just having spent the last few years baking bread weekly in his stone oven at home, they decided to take the leap and start a bakery in the same place where two other bakeries had failed before.
I asked Jerod what brought him to bread-making. His response was more poetic that I’ll do it justice, but he said he used to be a builder, a green builder specifically. He loved the way you build something, worked the wood and considered the details. And he sees a loaf of bread in the same way that he sees a structure completed. You lay the ground work and put in the effort, and in the end you’ve created something wonderful.
Their customers are split fairly evenly between retail and restaurant. They bake up specialty breads for different restaurants. I found out they make a bacon thyme bread for a sandwich served at Spoons in Victor. I’ll be trying that.
The monster Bongard Oven. The tubes around the inside area circulate water to give just the right amount of moisture during the baking process.
Ciabatta, one of my favorites.
Amanda, rocking the baguettes.
Jerod sends me on my way with a few more tips…cause I ask a lot of questions.
(For my fellow geek Mac friends, I also learned the degree symbol’s key command is shift-option-8.)
And I forgot to mention that Jerod and his wife, Sage, are incredible musicians and you should hire them for your wedding! I hear Ty and his wife, Rose, play with them too.