Utah breadmaker's old-school ways gaining national attention

By Kathy Stephenson The Salt Lake Tribune

Published October 21st 2014 7:30 am



There are two reasons Ryan Moore, the baker at From Scratch restaurant, is fired-up about bread.

First, he is making loaves the old-school way, using whole-wheat flour milled on-site and baking in a wood-fired oven. It's a process, he believes, no other bakery in Utah is using.

Also on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25, the 28-year-old will compete in the first round of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA competition in Providence, R.I. He is one of 15 artisan bread makers from around the country selected to compete. Three of them will move on to the finals and possibly earn a chance to attend the next Coupe du Monde de La Boulangerie -- the Olympics of the bread baking world.

Between his From Scratch job and practicing for the national competition, Moore says he basically "dances with dough" all day.

When he arrives at the restaurant kitchen at 5 a.m., the wood-fired oven is heated to about 500 degrees and ready for baking, he said.

The night before, after all the pizzas have been cooked, his fellow employees throw in a few extra pieces of cherry and cedar wood, and "close the door," so it's just the right temperature when he arrives.

Moore bakes about three dozen loaves every day. His line-up includes thin baguettes that are used for an appetizer with house-made jam and churned butter; chewy ciabatta for the lunch-time sandwiches; and his signature sourdough bread that is naturally fermented using a starter that dates back some 30 years.

Customers can buy fresh loaves for $4-$5. The day-old loaves are $2 each.

The breads at From Scratch, just like the pizza dough, are made from a 50-50 blend of pre-milled organic flour and fresh-milled wheat that has been ground in the flour mill from Austria on site. The fresh-milled wheat "has so many vitamins and minerals," said Moore. Plus putting in the entire grain, including the outer bran, gives the bread a natural sweetness.

Additionally, baking in the wood-fired oven surprisingly, "doesn't really impart a different flavor," said Moore. "It's not smoky like most people think."

Six months ago, when owner David Brodsky decided to add house-made breads to the menu -- sticking to the From Scratch name -- he figured there was no need to buy a separate oven. "I had been to places in Northern California that swore by wood-fired ovens," he said. "It was the best way to go."

Of course, wood-fired ovens are not as consistent as an electric or gas oven, he said, "so you definitely have to have someone with the patience to do it."

Fortunately Moore, who had helped open Eva's Bakery at 155 S. Main St. in 2012, was ready for a change. "He's definitely a perfectionist with his bread and always looking to step it up somehow," Brodsky said.

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There are two reasons Ryan Moore, the baker at From Scratch restaurant, is fired-up about bread.

First, he is making loaves the old-school way, using whole-wheat flour milled on-site and baking in a wood-fired oven. It's a process, he believes, no other bakery in Utah is using.

Also on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25, the 28-year-old will compete in the first round of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA competition in Providence, R.I. He is one of 15 artisan bread makers from around the country selected to compete. Three of them will move on to the finals and possibly earn a chance to attend the next Coupe du Monde de La Boulangerie -- the Olympics of the bread baking world.

Between his From Scratch job and practicing for the national competition, Moore says he basically "dances with dough" all day.

When he arrives at the restaurant kitchen at 5 a.m., the wood-fired oven is heated to about 500 degrees and ready for baking, he said.

The night before, after all the pizzas have been cooked, his fellow employees throw in a few extra pieces of cherry and cedar wood, and "close the door," so it's just the right temperature when he arrives.

Moore bakes about three dozen loaves every day. His line-up includes thin baguettes that are used for an appetizer with house-made jam and churned butter; chewy ciabatta for the lunch-time sandwiches; and his signature sourdough bread that is naturally fermented using a starter that dates back some 30 years.

Customers can buy fresh loaves for $4-$5. The day-old loaves are $2 each.

The breads at From Scratch, just like the pizza dough, are made from a 50-50 blend of pre-milled organic flour and fresh-milled wheat that has been ground in the flour mill from Austria on site. The fresh-milled wheat "has so many vitamins and minerals," said Moore. Plus putting in the entire grain, including the outer bran, gives the bread a natural sweetness.

Additionally, baking in the wood-fired oven surprisingly, "doesn't really impart a different flavor," said Moore. "It's not smoky like most people think."

Six months ago, when owner David Brodsky decided to add house-made breads to the menu -- sticking to the From Scratch name -- he figured there was no need to buy a separate oven. "I had been to places in Northern California that swore by wood-fired ovens," he said. "It was the best way to go."

Of course, wood-fired ovens are not as consistent as an electric or gas oven, he said, "so you definitely have to have someone with the patience to do it."

Fortunately Moore, who had helped open Eva's Bakery at 155 S. Main St. in 2012, was ready for a change. "He's definitely a perfectionist with his bread and always looking to step it up somehow," Brodsky said. [2] =>

Born in Fresno, Calif., Moore moved to Logan when he was 8. He worked as a line cook at Hamilton's Steak and Seafood for six years before stepping into the bread-baking position. That's when he met Keith Guisto, one of California's top bread bakers and owner of a Keith Guisto Bakery Supply in Petaluma, Calif. (a sister company to Central Milling Co. in Logan).

Guisto helped Moore fine-tune his baking skills and even shared his now 30-year-old sourdough starter with his protege.

"I'm still using his starter," said Moore, who left Hamilton's to work in Seattle, where he stayed for three years until he was offered the head baker job at Eva's.

Moore and Eva's owner, Charlie Perry, parted amicably when Moore moved over to From Scratch earlier this year. Perry is even letting Moore use Eva's regular ovens to practice for the Team USA contest.

To be accepted into the competition, Moore had to submit an application and resume and some of his best bread formulas.

During the competition, which takes place at Johnson & Wales University, he will have one hour of preparation time on Friday and then eight hours Saturday to make and bake 80 loaves -- in five varieties -- for judges.

Among his offerings will be the Mountain Loaf, a rye and whole-wheat bread with raisins and three types of seeds: sesame, poppy and pumpkin. He also is planning a rustic potato bread and a rye bread with Belgian beer.

Brodsky likes his artisan breadmaker's chances.

"I'm sure the competition is going to be tough," he said. "But Ryan has as good a chance as anyone."

kathys@sltrib.com

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Bread From Scratch

From Scratch restaurant sells loaves of wood-fired sourdough bread, made with a 30-year-old starter, for $5 each. Ciabatta is available for $4 a loaf and day-old bread $2. Bread will not be available Oct. 22-29, while baker Ryan Moore competes in the first round of the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA competition in Providence, R.I.

Where • 62 Gallivan Ave, Salt Lake City; 801-961-9000 or fromscratchslc.com

Hours • Monday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m.; Saturday 5-10:30 p.m.