Naturally leavened. Our bread contains only three ingredients: flour, water, and salt. We can do this because instead of commercial yeast to raise the dough and extras like oil or milk to add flavour, we use a sourdough starter which fulfills both these functions beautifully. A sourdough starter is a mixture of flour and water which is allowed to ferment, gathering beneficial wild yeasts and bacteria to develop into a living organism. This living thing which is our sourdough culture then needs to be fed daily (if kept nourished and well cared for it could last for generations and beyond) and in turn develops our bread! This is what gives sourdough breads their characteristic complex flavour and well-developed crumb. They are also healthier: the bacteria in the sourdough culture actually works to predigest starches and break down the gluten, making the grain more digestible (some people with gluten intolerance find they can eat sourdough bread with no ill effects). Lactic acids make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body by helping neutralise the phytates in flour that would interfere with their absorption. The culture is also purported to lead to better blood glucose regulation, making it more appropriate for people with diabetes.
Gently risen. Like most of the other rewarding things in life, bread needs time. Our loaves get a minimum of 8 hours gentle rising time to allow a natural development and fermentation to occur- we don't like to force anything. As with other forms of fermentation (think: wine and spirits), patience is rewarded with a far better flavour and body development over time.
Organic ingredients. We believe in choosing the highest quality ingredients in order to provide bread that we can fully stand behind. By using organic flours, we can feel good about the fact that no pesticides or herbicides were used in the production of the flour we use. As far as we know, we are the only bakery in the area offering bread made with 100% organic flour.
Whole grain flours. We believe it is important to incorporate whole grain flours within all of our loaves. While more refined 'white' flour is an important element to our bread in terms of developing a lighter crumb, whole grain flours are even more important in terms of lending a deeper flavour and a stronger health element. We try to strike a balance between all these elements as we develop loaves that are both healthy and entirely addictive.
Hearth baked. All our loaves are baked on the hearth of our wood-fired brick oven, and the crust and flavour this creates is incomparable.
Stillcroft Farm and Bakehouse is located on a beautiful little 100 acre farm on St. Joseph Island, Ontario. The bakery was built in the Spring of 2014 and boasts a beautiful 4'x6' brick oven built by Alex Chernov of Stovemaster Ltd. We bake our loaves amidst a roaming group of hens and a few baby lambs, with plans to further expand our farming operation as time goes on. We moved to the farm in the spring of 2013- Bethany grew up on St. Joseph Island and dragged Nicholas here from Edmonton, and they have since been joined by our sons Atley and Ewan.