About the Breads
Our dense and moist loaves are not pre sliced. They can be sliced very thin and toasted making them the ideal companion for a good Olive Oil, Butter, Cheese or your favorite food.
All our breads are made using our ancient baking principles:
100% ORGANIC WHOLE GRAINS
STONE GROUND AT THE BAKERY JUST BEFORE MIXING THE DOUGH
AUTHENTIC SOURDOUGH NO YEAST
SMALL BATCHES TRULY ARTISAN
KNEADED AND SHAPED BY HAND
Grindstone Bakery was founded in 1999. We started in a small "garage" in Santa Rosa, California, experimenting with alternatives to Modern Wheat and creating fermentation cultures for an authentic sourdough process. My father had been a partner at a flour mill. I grew up among grain fields and all kinds of flours and breads. I wanted to be a chemist, so my father thought that the natural path for me was to be the mills chemist. But during my studies I was captivated by the world of science and decided that just testing flours was not enough of a life. So, I went on pursuing an elusive career in science. Today, I am extremely happy that I have found myself again. Baking, being a science requires the precision and rigor, the experimental and inquisitive skills that are rooted in my scientific background. Baking is also an act of love that now provides meaning to my life.
-- Mario Repetto, the Baker
Ancient Bread Making for Health and Delight
Stone milling is the oldest, slowest, and best method of grinding Whole Grains. It is a gentle and cool process that preserves every good part of the grain. All the protein, oils, antioxidants and vitamins from the germ, all the sugars and starches from the endosperm, and the tiny bits of bran rich in antioxidants and fiber are there. Nothing is added and nothing is taken away.
We slowly grind our Whole Grains using a small natural pink granite stone mill that never overheats the flour. We transform it into living dough within hours of being ground.
In today’s completely automated milling process, steel rollers crush the grain at remarkably high speeds heating it to elevated temperatures and destroying vitamins and antioxidants in the berry. Sifters remove the germ and all bits of bran from the flour. Some of the separated parts can be later mixed back to produce a so called whole wheat flour. But the germ is never added back because, exposed to air and heat, it oxidizes and becomes rancid.
Whole Grains are seeds coming from plants that, over millions of years, have developed the capacity to synthesize myriad phytochemicals that help them resist pathogens, parasites and predators, or attract beneficial organisms.
We call these beneficial phytochemicals antioxidants. Our modern understanding on how they function in plants is helping us to discover the mechanisms by which Whole Grains benefit human health beyond basic nutrition. More than 8000 phytochemicals have been identified, but a large number still remains unknown.
More and more convincing evidence suggests that the benefits of antioxidants in fruits, vegetables and Whole Grains may be even greater than is currently understood. Our body, it turns out, needs this synergistic effect, this teamwork that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods.
Different plant foods have different phytochemicals. They go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. Whole Grains contain a complex array of phytochemicals whose additive and synergistic effects are responsible for their potent antioxidant properties.
Because most of these compounds are intended to protect the plants seeds for future germination, they are bound in cells located in the bran layer and in the germ of Whole Grains. In particular, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are abundant in the bran and germ. Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain's weight, they contain 83% of its antioxidants.
Cells in humans and other organisms are constantly exposed to a variety of oxidizing agents, some of which are necessary for life. These agents may be present in air, food, and water, or they may be produced by metabolic activity within cells.
Overproduction of oxidants can cause an imbalance, leading to oxidative stress, especially in chronic bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Oxidative stress can cause oxidative damage to large biomolecules such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
To prevent or slow the oxidative stress induced by free radicals, sufficient amounts of antioxidants need to be consumed. The key factor is to maintain a balance between oxidants and antioxidants to sustain optimal physiological conditions.
The Lactic Acid Bacteria in our fermentation cultures are capable of unbinding these critical antioxidants from the bran and germ making them immediately bio-available for the protection of our cells.
In addition, Lactic Acid Bacteria, being avid seekers of the amino acids needed for growing and multiplication, generate powerful external enzymes capable of breaking down complex proteins. This action has two positive effects, one that benefits our palate and the other our health.
Very much like in cheese making, where the fermentation with Lactic Acid Bacteria cultures breaks down complex milk proteins creating “peptides” -small protein fragments- with delicious flavors and aromas, our fermentation does the same with the proteins in the whole grain generating flavors, a dense crumb and a wonderfully satisfying chewiness.
Because the complex proteins that form Gluten are a delightful target for them, fermentation by Lactic Acid Bacteria has been shown to substantially reduce the Gluten content in bread. Ancient civilizations that ate Naturally Fermented Whole Grain bread did not suffer “Gluten intolerance” issues.
All this may help explain why traditional cultures eating diets high in naturally fermented Whole Grains consistently have better health. Short-term clinical trials focused on fiber alone have yielded inconsistent results. So, the explanation for the health benefits of Naturally Fermented Whole Grains may arise from the team work of nutrients, protective antioxidants and Lactic Acid Bacteria, not just their fiber.
Our fermentation cultures are the result of years of capturing and experimenting with different combinations of the wild lactic acid bacteria naturally present in the Sonoma Wine Country environment.
We call them “Sonoma Cultures”. Each one has a particular ecosystem of several lactic acid bacteria strains allowing us to create different breads with a relatively lower acid content than most sourdoughs, rich in flavor and color and resistant to spoilage without the use of preservatives...