A food review by Daniel B.
What is more basic to human sustenance and nutrition than bread? Yet if one scans the bread aisle of any major supermarket, the loaves on the shelves are filled with high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, dough softeners, and a host of other ingredients that make it more science project than wholesome dietary staple.
The certified organic bakery at Hawthorne Valley Farm on the other hand, takes a few organic ingredients, forms them into a dense and satisfying loaf, and sells them at their farm store in Ghent.
They make their Fruited Rye on Mondays and Wednesdays and a loaf of the stuff will set you back $5.50. It’s delicious. But you are going to need a knife.
This is one dense bread. Seriously. A half-inch slice of supermarket sandwich bread is about 40 grams. A similarly thick slice of the Fruited Rye weighs in at 80 grams, and it’s smaller to boot.
But that’s because it is packed with good things: Whole rye four, rye berries, prunes, dates, hazelnuts, raisins, water, sea salt, and sourdough starter. That’s it. Everything but the water, salt and starter is labeled as organic.
The observant will notice that there isn’t any refined flour used in this loaf either.
Hawthorne Valley’s fruited rye bread demands to be toasted. Sure you could simply spread it with a little cream cheese. But with the addition of a bit of heat, the oils in the hazelnuts begin to sizzle and the nutmeat starts to brown. This process not only amplifies the flavor of the nuts, but also warms and softens the sizable pieces of dried fruit.
A pat of butter, a sprinkle of coarse salt, and you have yourself an incredible breakfast or a substantial midday snack.
Alternatively, you could slice this bread thin, coat it with some oil, and crisp it in the oven to make a remarkable crostini that would pair marvelously with a local goat cheese and a drizzle of honey.
Sandwiches may be a bit trickier. With its dense crumb, sour rye profile, and sticky fruit, it is not an obvious pairing for everyday lunches. Although I can imagine it pairing well with a curried chicken and apple salad.
$5.50 is not a paltry sum to spend on a loaf of bread. But this is no mere bread. It’s a meal unto itself. And if you looking for the staff of life, you need go no further than the bakery at Hawthorne Valley Farms.
The farm is located at 327 County Route 21C, Ghent, NY 12075
About Daniel B.
A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.