Originally appeared in The Grapevine August 21st – September 4th, 2014
Bread gets a bad rap. Sometimes fairly (I know there are some of you out there for whom it represents something quite the opposite of the stuff of life) sometimes not so fairly (I didn’t say you needed to eat the whole loaf!), so if you are gluten-free, I suggest you avert your eyes. Reading from here is definitely not gluten free.
For our excursion to Slow Dough, Clara and I were joined by my mother, who was curious about the process – do I ask people questions and memorize the responses? Mom’s curiousity brought about the crashing realization that I actually have no idea how to be a reporter, I just wing it every time.
Somewhat flustered by this epiphany, I did what all people suffering from performance anxiety do: I overshot the mark. I tried to buy it all.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. There is a reason I usually speed up a little each time I walk past the Slow Dough booth. One look at all the gorgeous pastries, scrumptious looking cookies, bars, and cake, and perfectly rustic breads is enough to send this gluten-worshiper into a tailspin. How to choose just one thing? Who wouldn’t try to buy it all?
Thankfully, reason did prevail but I confess, I more than chose a few things. I bought several desserts (a butter tart, a piece of shortbread, a pecan tart) We shared a lemon tart at lunch. “Wow,” my mother said, “this is handmade filling!” Oh, yes it is. If you are thinking of lemon tart as filled with some insipid, gelatinous spread that reminds you vaguely of sunlight dish soap, you are woefully mistaken. Perfectly flakey pastry with a zippy, gooey, zesty, and just luscious filling is what you will encounter. Hand made indeed.
Never one to be stingy, I also chose two breads (Italian Peasant Road– which was ridiculously fun to cut on my mother’s mysteriously round cutting board) and an Asiago and Chive loaf.
Slow dough makes their bread the, well, slow way. Rather than wasting all kinds of time whacking and prodding their dough, they just sit back and wait for the yeast to take its own sweet time. This is a product of patience and definitely not pot-watching. It’s baked in cast iron pans, making up for the arm strain saved from not needing.
Thankfully, you don’t need to sit at home, agonizing over the painfully slow process whilst prepping your arm muscles for their giant exertion. Slow dough does it for you!
There is an intriguing tangy taste and smell that emanates from the Round and the Asiago bread, well, if you add cheese to bread you have pretty much won my heart forever. Max sums it up succinctly as “ummmm, it was very good.”
I have to also confess that one visit was not sufficient for me. The next week we returned and procured a bee sting and an ice-cream sandwich. It’s just all too good. I could die.
If you’re gluten-free and you ignored my warning and read on: I do apologize. However, I think there might be some options you can handle, too. Stop by their booth at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market or check out their lovely website at http://slowdough.ca/ You’ll be glad you did!