who is origin breads?

ORIGIN Breads is a small bakery in Madison, WI. Owner and baker, Kirk Smock, is slowly building this business on the experience of 11 years of ardent home baking. His baking obsession began in 2005 while living in Guyana and his fermentation and baking skills were fine-tuned while living in Mozambique. What began as a one-man show now also includes a couple of additional bakers who are essential to daily operations.

Why does your bread cost more than some other breads?

Artisanal is a word we shy away from. The actual definition -- a product, especially food or drink, made in a traditional or non-mechanized way -- fits our bread perfectly, but unfortunately it has become another unregulated marketing term that is not always used honestly. But true artisanal products cost more to produce. We hand-mix, shape and bake all of our breads. We believe in supporting our local mill, small farms and fellow local producers and pay more for our ingredients. We don't compromise and feel that our breads are worth the price. For a bit more on the process of making true artisanal bread, have a quick look at this infographic Grist made on "why good bread costs more dough".

what is the best way to store my bread?

Wild yeast is a natural preservative, so with proper storage our breads will stay fresh for up to a week. Follow these tips to enjoy our breads at their peak flavor:

  • Don't store bread in the refrigerator: Unless it's filled with preservatives (and our bread definitely isn't), putting your bread in the fridge will only make it stale faster (for focaccia, see note below).

  • Cutting your loaf: Slice your loaf in half and cut from the middle of each half. After cutting the number of slices you want, stick the two halves back together. The crust will seal in the crumb and keep your bread fresher longer. If you simply can't resist the end crust (we understand) or are left with half a loaf, loosely wrap the cut end with plastic for storage.

  • Paper bag vs. plastic bag vs. counter: Paper bags work great for storing bread if you follow the cutting guidelines above. The bags that our bread is sold in are micro-perforated, meaning they are made with tiny little holes that allow for air exchange to help keep our crust crisp. These bags work great for keeping your bread in at home, but as with paper bags, the airflow will speed up staling time, so follow the cutting guidelines above. If you don't have animals or pests to worry about, you can also place the bread cut-side down on a wooden cutting board and store it on your counter for up to four days. If you don't mind your crust getting a bit softer during storage, wrap your bread loosely and store it in a sealed plastic bag. (Note that you can re-crisp your crust by using a toaster or oven).

  • Freezing bread: All of our breads freeze well. You can pre-slice our bread (very convenient if using for toast, as there is no need to defrost before using), cut the loaf into wedges, or freeze whole. Simply wrap your bread in plastic or foil and then store in a freezer safe plastic bag.

  • Reheating bread: If you want to reheat a full loaf, put it in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. If you're reheating a partial loaf and don't want the exposed crumb to get toasted, wrap the end in foil before heating. If you're reheating frozen bread, it's best to let it thaw on the counter before reheating as directed above. If you're pressed for time, wrap the loaf in foil before reheating and remove the foil for a few minutes at the end to crisp the crust. If you are using frozen slices, there is no need to defrost before putting them in a toaster. Our PSA: All of our bread also makes excellent toast, which we'd like to remind you is no longer just a breakfast food.

  • Special instructions for our focaccia: Because our focaccia is also made with wild yeast, it enjoys the same keeping properties as our other breads. But because our focaccia is often topped with cheese and other deliciousness, if you don't manage to eat it all on the day it was baked (unlikely, we know), you should store the remaining bread in the fridge. Wrapped in an air-tight plastic bag, it will keep for four days. Our focaccia also freezes well, so if there is a chance of it getting lost in the depths of your fridge, wrap it up and freeze it for later. To reheat focaccia, simply place on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 375 degrees until it is crispy and hot (if frozen, thaw the focaccia on the counter first).