10 Things I Learned at Empire Baking Company
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10 Things I Learned at Empire Baking Company

As a member of Slow Food Dallas Ft. Worth Chapter, (www.slowfoodusa.org) I must say I am quite impressed with bevy of events, tastings and hands on experiences the Slow Food Convivium leaders offer.

Case in point: Baking Bread with Meaders and Robert Ozarow at Empire Baking Company. Empire is synonymous with the best bread in Dallas. Ask the multitude of corporate clients, restaurants, hotels and the regular folk who swear by their goods.

The experts at Empire Baking Company hosted a group of 40 plus individuals on Saturday afternoon and provided an overview of the entire bread making process, a tour of the operation and of course, enough samples of bread and other Slow Food-ish type treats to fill the belly and then some.

Here is what I learned:
1. Empire Baking Company is loyal to King Arthur flour. Period.
2. The slits across the top of baguettes? Not just for decor. They are called Expansion Joints.
3. When asked about the 30 year old starter that they use vs. the 15 year history that Empire Baking Company boasts, the crowd fell silent.
4. The “Baker’s Percentage” refers to the fact that all ingredients should be in relation to measurement of the flour.
5. The more protein in the flour, the firmer the chew. The less protein in the flour, the softer the chew.
6. Yeasts are made with either 1. molasses or 2. corn syrup. The newer yeasts are made with corn syrup.
7. Head Baker Chris Cutshall is obviously passionate about his work. He is the Einstein of Bread and professes his love for his work by sharing his knowledge with others.
8. Temperature, humidity, temperature, humidity, temperature, humidity. These are the life and/or death of the dough.
9. The following starters contain yeast: Straight, Pulish, Biga and Pate Fermente. The following starters are natural: Lactic Sour, Liquid Levain, Levain and Rye Sour.
10. It still breaks my heart that there is only one Empire Baking Company retail outlet left in town. And if you don’t get there early, you’ll miss out on one of their delicious sandwiches.
5450 W Lovers Lane. Dallas, TX 75209.

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