“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” James Beard.
Just the thought of bread baking in an oven evokes a sense of awe for me … most specifically because I cannot, for the life of me, bake bread successfully! I have tried … trust me. I don’t understand yeast; my hands mute to the texture of perfectly kneaded bread. Every year the Santa Rosa JC sends out their culinary class schedule and for the past 5 years I have methodically cut out the page offering the class in hopes that I will actually sign up for it. I even post the little scrap of paper on my refrigerator in that “positive-reinforcement-you-can-do-it” kind of way; however, something always comes up on the same exact day as that class and another year is gone! This year my son and I will be watching Ferrari’s race at Sonoma Raceway!
If you read my blog you know that not only do we serve Della Fattoria bread at Nick’s Cove, and that my favorite weekly ritual is picking up that bread, but what you might not know is that Della is my spot: to meet and catch up with my friends; to take my son for an early morning treat of hot chocolate and pastry; to sneak a moment alone to enjoy a delicious cappucchino (perfectly made by Jose and delivered with one of his beautiful designs that usually contains a heart of some sort … his gift to all his loyal and grateful customers). Della Fattoria is the bread I always serve my family and friends; it’s more than bread … it’s a gift.
This past Friday I was given the gift of bread in the form of a private tour of the Della Fattoria farm where all that amazingly delicious bread comes to life. Della Fattoria owners Ed and Kathleen Weber were gracious enough to invite me into their operations for an up-close bread-making experience with one of my all-time favorite breads: Rosemary Meyer Lemon. We were welcomed by the guards: dogs, large and small running, ready for some quick attention.
After the dogs approved our passage, Ed greeted our group and, with hugs all around, escorted us into the bread cathedral! He showed us the ovens, the bricks, explained how the baking process takes place, the heat of the ovens (for that perfect bread), how often they bake (he wakes up twice in the middle of the night!), the cleaning process as well as a little history of their bread-making empire! Kathleen joined us and together we all watched (in awe) as her staff began the process of making the Rosemary Meyer Lemon loaves. It was quite the operation: one woman quickly and accurately measured the beautifully risen dough and tossed the supple dough onto the stainless steel kneading table, while the other skillfully and expertly shaped the dough. Like watching a tennis match, it was literally a race to keep up with the each other!
After all the dough was measured, shaped and rested, they made a dimple in the top of each loaf and filled it with the rosemary lemon “pesto”. What began next was pure poetry-in-motion: the incorporation of the mixture into the top layer of the dough – a secret technique – that ultimately results in that beautiful, crusty, tasty star-shaped top … each and every time!
Della Fattoria sells their award winning bread in stores throughout Sonoma County and beyond, has their own bakery/café in downtown Petaluma and, during the summer, offers farm-to-table dinners … at the farm.
I am a Della Fattoria fan for sure … and I am convinced you will be too! www.dellafattoria.com