Fresh Bread

It’s no surprise that the scent of fresh bread brings happy memories to many of us. Research even tells us that “deja-vu” is directly related to smell.

My Mom used to bake bread. While even then I loved the smell, I was unappreciative of the hearty loaves, often preferring the storebought white variety. I thought my Mom’s bread tasted like “all crust” while my Dad tried to tell me that the crust was “the best part.” Looking back, I don’t know where my head was. These days, it does my heart good to hear my own son sawing away at a tough-skinned baguette and gnawing on the chewy bread. Granted, he dips it in butter. While as an adult I appreciate the handmade loaves, at his age I would only tolerate the homemade stuff when accompanied by loads of butter. And wow, was it good hot with butter!

In addition to making our own bread, my family made our own butter for a period of time. The process was rather fascinating as we churned it forever, then washed it under the kitchen faucet and salted it. We then pressed it into little plastic tubs. Being an avid ‘Little House’ reader, I wanted to press it into wooden molds and stamp a leaf print into the top. But no such luck.

At dinner, my mom would have everything timed perfectly. The bread came out of the oven just as we took our seats. She sat it at my Dad’s side and he sliced and buttered it and dispersed it among us kids. Somewhere through the years, this became such a habit, that he sliced and buttered ALL the bread that came to the table–even that of guests. I never thought a thing about it until a date said quietly in my ear “You dad just buttered my bread.” Oh. Yeah I guess he did. I guess that’s odd. Never thought about it. Today it is a warm memory that I have around bread. I picture my mom making it, my dad buttering it, and me eating it hot and fresh. Food made by hand, and passed hand to hand imparts a sense of realness and feeding that I love. It is a large part of why I do what I do. It’s the reason we choose our ingredients carefully and spend so much time getting things just right. Real, good bread shouldn’t be a novelty, but somehow when you buy a fresh handmade loaf at a Farmer’s Market you feel you are really treating yourself. And you are.

Treat yourself to fresh bread by visiting us at HOPE Farmer’s Market each Sunday 11-3. I hope you enjoy your fresh bread with people you love and that you create your own warm memories around it.

~Hope

Tour the Bakery!

We’ve been wanting to share a video tour with everyone for so long, but frankly we have been too busy baking to do it!

Filming the video, we found out some important things about ourselves.
We should stick with baking.

So, please forgive the shakiness, the awkwardness, the bad editing…I could go on.

What we mean to say is:
We want to share Flour’s home with you.
We want to show you our downtown Red River location, known for music and raw Austin-ness.
We want to show you the charming old building/former residence we are housed in.
We hoped to give you a feel for being in a bakery above a dive bar such as we are.
We wanted to share with you our humble yet delightful space and kitchen.

And…we humbly invite you to join us for a tour.

~Hope

Flour’s Unique Picture Perspective

In the words of Gordon Ramsey, we would like to share with you the “most amazing” photos!  We are so excited to reveal these.  The ideas for them have been swimming around in our heads since early on in Flour’s conception.

bakery_austin_poptart

We knew a few elements were to be essential in Flour’s style:
Natural Light and Natural Elements, (wood, cloth, metal, stone)
Depth of Field
Idiosyncratic Setting and Props
Beautifully Imperfect Food
Mouth Watering Inspiration

Greg and I agreed from the beginning that we wanted our pictures to be different than standard food photography.  Greg used the word ‘idiosyncratic’ to describe the style.  We pictured food in unusual settings, being placed in un-normal situations. We shopped for props, scoured our homes for unique objects and collaborated with our photographer to produce something that is not simply a beautiful picture of food.  The photos are a reflection and an expression of us.  They evoke other times and memories.  There is a whimiscal nature to them, that is at the same time, very sturdy and timeless.

This is one of my favorite photos for several reasons. The colors in the picture are bold and amazing, yet the patina and lighting give it such a nostalgic feel. This is perfect for such a Reminiscent Treat. The toy red phone, forefront, was my dad’s as a child in the 50’s. The black rotary phone in the background came from our photographer’s collection. When I look at this photo, I can almost smell the golden spongecake and taste the crispy crackly, sugary brown edges.

 

One of the ideas that I liked was that of imperfect food.  I really don’t like anything too ‘molded’ or ‘formed’.  Meatballs, for instance, give me the creeps. As far as my baked goods go, if I wanted things perfectly uniform, I’d buy them wrapped in plastic off the shelf straight from their dough squirting factories.  I didn’t want ‘showpiece’ photography.  I wanted the items to be messy, gooey, not perfectly level or formed.  Scattered crumbs, crackling crusts, browned edges and chocolately drips and  are fine and encouraged.  To me, these are the things that make food interesting and real.

This photo shows off the Animal Crackers’ browned edges beautifully!
I love how they tumble out of the jar. The natural grayed surface of the re-claimed table is a satisfying contrast.  I want to just a grab a handful of these simple cookies and shove them in my face.  Crunch!

We were fortunate to find a photographer that understood our aesthetic.  When I met Laura Latimer at a business class, she handed me her card.  It was a simple manilla tag with a string.  She had taken the time to type on each one.  I kind of knew then that we shared some of the same style.  This was confirmed as I looked through her Pinterest boards.  Laura has an extensive collection of interesting objects that she made available for the shoots.

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I first saw these stacking clowns on Laura’s Etsy page. I really wanted to use them. To complete the scene, she added a vintage metal toy ferris wheel, a small iron statue and a bright pinwheel. We love how these items just give us a glimpse of themselves from the background, leaving the rest to our own fancies.

Baking and transporting food to the studio was hectic.  At the time I was still using my small home kitchen to do the work.  Photo shoots as well were literally long and grueling.  Food looks different in real life than it does on camera.  Laura knew exactly what angle things needed to be at to keep their proportions and proper shading.  She was meticulous.  I thought I’d die watching her move individual coconut flakes around!  But the end result shows that the attention to detail and all the time involved paid off.

austin_bakery_snowballs

Laura shoots “Snowballs” on and with a black and white hobby horse. This picture shows how much more is involved in the photo than what we actually see. Items are propped up and raised and lowered. Laura juggles reflective screens while snapping the shot. At times, I would stand in a certain place to block light from a window, or squat near the table to hold up a board to reduce glares.

bakery_snowball_austin

The finished picture is breathtaking and gives no clue as to what went into it. The colors work together beautifully. Notice the difference in focus between the horse and snowball in the background, and the tightly focused Snowball in front. You can literally see the crumb of the cake, gloss of the marshmallow and the toasting on each shred of coconut.

We’ve talked a lot in person and in other posts about all the time involved in just getting things ready to open the bakery.  This initial photography series was no exception.  We all put in weeks of work and hours of planning, baking and shooting to get these results.  We are very pleased with how things turned out.  It is exactly as imagined.

austin_bakery_ding_dongs

Greg would often leave work and rush over to join the photo shoot during the last hours of good natural light. Here, he is working on a tinker toy car for the Cocoa Bomb setting.

bakery_ding_dongs_austin

The finished image with Greg’s Tinker Toy car,
my Cocoa Bomb and Laura’s photography talent.
I smell gooey chocolate. YOM!

We go to the trouble to add extra and surprising elements in our pictures because it delights us to do so. We hope seeing these pictures has the same effect on you. We also hope it illustrates how we care about the process of doing things that may go unseen or unnoticed.  Our ingredients, packaging and process all contribute to something beautiful and that we feel really good about.  It seems to illustrate well, our “Honest to Goodness” philosophy.

~Hope

We’d like to thank Laura Latimer for sharing her talent on this project. Laura is an Austinite, an artist with experience in photography and marketing, and a purveyor of vintage and unusual items. Check out her blog at 

http://onalark.larkspurandmallow.com/.

 

Ready, Steady, Go!

We have been sweating everything. As complete food industry noobs, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise the amount of effort and determination it takes to open a new venture; even one as small as ours. But it did.

What food should we offer initially? Where will we bake it? With what equipment? Website? Branding? Fonts? Pictures? Twitter? Facebook? Government stuff? City stuff? Make all of those and a hundred other decisions – then do it again.

And that is before you even bake anything.

The thing that makes it easier is that Hope and I have always had a clear vision about what we wanted Flour to be. What we wanted Flour to stand for. And what we wanted Flour to represent for ourselves and for the customers and community we serve.

So today, we make our website live. We also serve at our first sponsored event (more on that later). And I think we can both stand up here on the interwebs and say, Flour is what we intended in every way.

It is about good, honestly prepared food done with locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible. Done in a sustainable way with as negative little impact on our community and planet as possible.

We will talk more about our processes, the reasons we make the choices we do and how that is going. Our intention is to make our menu and our internet presence evolving and dynamic.

We have no idea where Flour is going to take us. But while that gets worked out, I hope you will continue checking in with us and sharing your own experiences. We can’t wait.