This article appeared on Chomp & Chew, my food blog for The Independent Florida Alligator
Local bakery, Vine Bread & Pasta, makes organic bread
Becca Goldring, Alligator Blogger | Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:15 am
The airy smell of fresh baked bread is overpowering even with the first step through the door of Vine Bread & Pasta’s newly renovated baking space off Waldo Road on 23rd Avenue in northeast Gainesville.
In the front of the warehouse sits a large wooden desk adorned with Vine’s signature script logo and an idle cash register. In the future, this will be a retail area for customers wishing to claim freshly made baguettes, loaves and croissants before they are delivered to local establishments. However, Vine bread is already readily available in Gainesville, as it delivers to Ward’s Supermarket, Citizens Co-op, Half Cork’d, Civilization, The Top, Wine and Cheese Gallery, Cafe Colette and Tupelo. In addition, you can purchase directly from Vine’s founders, Dean Griebel and Teresa Zokovitch, at the Union Street farmers market, Haile farmers market, ThorneBrook Village farmers market and The Citizens Co-Op farmers market.
To the left of the desk is a red futon where Dean catches the little sleep he can because he must sporadically wake up to turn bread in the middle of the night. He methodically outlines the time-consuming process to make Vine bread, which begins with feeding a sour dough starter and waiting four patient hours for it to become active. Next, he must build the leavening, which is what causes the bread to rise and takes another four to five hours to become active. After waiting for the leavening to double in size, he can finally mix the actual dough, which can be between 20-30 pounds for a batch. Impressively, Dean kneads and mixes every single batch of Vine bread by hand. Following this step is four hours of turning the bread every 30 minutes until it is ready to be shaped. No matter if it’s round, oblong or a baguette, the bread must still rise for another three hours before it can finally make its way to their industrial oven.
It has been under a year since Vine acquired their warehouse space and just a bit longer since the idea for a business was first formed. Dean had been making pasta for years and decided to try his skill in bread this past May. At first, he was disappointed with the results, but after trusting a bread book that guaranteed success, he was blown away by the quality of bread he was producing. After encouraging friends to sample the bread, one suggested that the pair should sell it at a farmer’s market. It wasn’t even 24 hours before Dean knew he was on to something great and was ready fire up the oven and give Vine a shot.
In the center of headquarters is the workspace, which is an enclosed rectangular room with an eerily relaxing overtone. The immediate impression is that bread making is both stressful and therapeutic for the Vine duo. In the back corner are seemingly endless sacks of flour piled so high they almost brush the ceiling. Shiny restaurant prep tables are dusted with a thick coat of flour to keep sticky dough from clinging to the surface.
On one end, unbaked baguettes — some plain, some speckled with rosemary — are lined up and individually cradled in folded canvas to hold their shape. Dean carefully transfers each torpedo to a wooden paddle and transports them to the open and welcoming mouth of their oven. With a sharp thrust from his forearm, they are consumed by the machine. Intense heat encourages the bread to rise and endearingly forms a thick crust that cracks and crunches when squeezed in a symphony of sound only appreciated by a true bread enthusiast.
Throughout the main open area of Vine are racks of round loaves ready to be delivered to their respective locations. They are still dusted with a thin coating of chalky while flour and have the distinctly tangy smell of sourdough. The bread portfolio of Vine Bread & Pasta includes country white, Eastside rye, whole wheat, 50-50 Five Grain, white baguettes and rosemary baguettes. In addition, Vine makes a variety of handmade pastas, including ravioli and fettuccine, and pastries such as buttery croissants and orange cranberry scones.
The philosophy at Vine is that an ingredient list should be short and recognizable. Dean points out that the only chemical in their bread is salt. Vine Bread & Pasta focuses on pursuing the highest quality ingredients while using honest techniques to create a simple and satisfying product that they can be proud to offer to a community they are deeply invested in.
The Vine retail space plans to make its debut on Monday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Vine Bread & Pasta
1801 NE 23rd Ave Unit C1
Gainesville, FL 32609