The Fresh Loaf

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Vermont Bakery Suggestions?

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tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Vermont Bakery Suggestions?

Good day all.  I am heading out this weekend for a short little trip over to Vermont.  The wife and I are going to do a little wondering around the state.  We are going to start out in Bennington, head up thru Manchester, and end up at King Arthur Flour in Norwich. 

Does anybody know of any MUST stops in central VT. for good bread?  I know KA will not be a let down, but I will probly need a fix before then.  So any suggestions are welcome.

Have a great weekend all.

TT

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

It's been many years since we first found Baba A Louis in Chester Vermont. He moved to Proctorsville but then back to Chester. We liked his French Bread and his cinnamon rolls. His book about the business includes lots of recipes and was one of the first bread books I bought. I lost it here somewhere in the house and have been searching for months. I want to see how it compares to the new bread books I have. I've learned so much since I bought that book.
Baba A Louis has a website.....www.lcturbonet.com/~lmeyers/bakery or just Google him where you'll find reviews about him and the bakery. Maybe browndog would know more about the place and if it is worth the stop.
Hope you have a great time, tell Vermont I said Hi. You'll LOVE King Arthur Flour in Norwich. Tell us all about it when you get back. We're hoping to go in the Fall.                                                                              weavershouse

browndog's picture
browndog

 Weavershouse, where do you come in Vermont? It sounds like my backyard. Baba a Louis is a curious case--I love the place for nostalgia and good feeling, though for me the building upgrade came at the cost of old world charm, for what that's worth. Ha. Here's me who still feels annoyed with electricity and running water...He once really was the only game in town and his bread accepted as state-of-the-art but good if not great artisan bread is pretty accessible here these days, I bet not the least due to Jeffrey Hamelman's influence and teaching. Not that he isn't still well-liked, a Chester stalwart who would be sorely missed if he were gone. His French rolls once stood for everything wonderful to me, just now there's no bread I'll trouble myself to get in the car and chase down, I'll make do with what I make, and I suspect the average baker here could produce as good or better.  I have his book and agree it's very interesting to go through with a new perspective. I've been adding 'scrap dough' to my breads for years because of a casual reference of his and his ubiquitous 12-hour rises revamped my thinking too. Though I rarely pick it up I wouldn't part with this book ever, despite my penchant for down-sizing.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

My first trip to Vermont was 1989 when I went for a week of weaving classes in Marshfield. After that I was hooked and went almost every year until the last few years. We've been taking trips to visit our kids that are scattered all over the country so we end up skipping Vermont :-< We stayed in a couple of inns, once in Waitsfield that was really nice and when we go we just wander up and down the state, always going to King Arthur Flour and any bakery that pops up. We used to come for the October Antiques Shows. We never met a restaurant in Vermont that we didn't love and, of course, the scenery is over the top. 

I'm trying to downsize too but I'll keep the Baba A Louis book, if I ever find it, just because it was one of my first. A favorite thing I took from his book are the words "Stay 1% Wild". And so I do. Being "annoyed with electricity and running water" tells me you upped that percentage! Loved it.

I agree that the breads made by the people on this site are probably as good as or better than most of what's in the bakeries. And besides...we did it ourselves.
Hope TT has a great time.                                                                                                                                                                                                   weavershouse

browndog's picture
browndog

Hey, TT should I vaccuum? I'm smack dab in between Chester and Norwich, on the south side of Mt Ascutney near the Connecticut river. Would've answered sooner but I was gone most of yesterday, hope this may yet be some use. Is your pen sharpened? Understand that none of these places is comparable to the bakery featured here a while back, they are small and limited in scope but not quality generally speaking.  Baba a Louis is like your favorite old sweater--you love it but your friends might not--in fact it's very popular and widely known here--I think the average baker on the site could make as good or better French, their specialty, but the building and town are lovely, they have a sit down deli/cafe and a small variety of other goods, the cinnamon rolls eg and filled croissants are nice. Raspberries & Tyme is a pretty little cafe with a few fabulous decadent baked goods. Misty Valley Books, and for the uber-yard sale experience, Kendall's Barn, amazing and scary. Near Chester in Weston and Rockingham is the Vermont Country Store, really an icon to the esoteric, you should stop if you can.

If you are coming through Ludlow you'll find my go-to bagel stop, the Bagel Basement (also in Hanover across the river from Norwich) and a well-spoken-of bakery I've never been to, Sweet Surrender. (If you are on Rte 7 headed for Ludlow you might stop at Crowley cheese, a tiny shop on the west side of the road that has some first-rate colby and sage cheddar.) Woodstock is a charmin' town done up on Rockefeller money, it must have a reputable bakery but I don't know about it if it does. FH Gillingham's is a high end country store worth a visit, or more fun you could take a stroll up Mt Tom. If you are still looking for a kilt there's Scotland by the Yard headed east towards Quechee, where you must stop to see the Gorge, if you haven't already. White River Junction has a tiny storefront called the Baker's Studio, true artisan breads but by that time you'll be so close to Norwich that you probably won't need to bother. Pizza at the Pizza Chef in Woodstock and Quechee or Everything But Anchovies in Hanover (home of Dartmouth, good town.) Well your weekend will be snug if you stick to scenery and King Arthur anyway, you won't be disappointed with either, I think, everything you expect and hope it will be or I'm a Dutch uncle..Some time when you guys  come this way let me know and I'll come to KA for tea and sandwiches or something--it would be a lark to attach a real person to your larger-than-life screen persona. Travelogue OVER!

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Well browndog I should've let you know when I'd be there, we could've had tea.

This was a bit of a last minute planning.  I figured since my wife has never been to VT. it would make a nice little day trip.

Overall, it was a great trip.  We met some really nice folks, had some really good food, and the weather held just right for us.

We started out in Bennington, VT at the Covered Bridge Museum and was able to line out on our map where different bridges were we could see.  I love covered bridges.  We drove across 3 of them and stopped for photos.  We passed another 3 during our trip but didnt get to go over them.  Some of them are really restored nicely. We stopped off at The Apple Barn in southern Bennington for some fresh Apple Cider Donuts and a loaf of Three Cheese Bread.  The donuts were awesome.  The bread left me a little wanting.  But onwards we traveled.  Out at the Country Store at Camelot Village we were highly impressed with the amount of vendors products available.  If its a craft, its here.  They even had a selection of misc. slates of Granite outside for sale.  EXTREMELY CHEAP.  I will be making another trip out there just for one of those.  They were leftovers from installs at homes and such.  Were talkin 4x4 to 4x6 foot pieces of 1 1/2" granite, glazed for around 30-40 dollars.  Amazing. Anyways..on we go. 

At Manchester we had a quaint little lunch at a really well decored Mexican Rest. named Candelero's.  The guacamole dip was out of this world. 

After lunch we cut across the state to the eastern side and headed up the interstate to King Arthur Flour in Norwich.

I must say KA was a little anti-climatic though.  I have been to some really nice factories, like Hershey chocolate, where they give you a tour and the whole hoopla.  None of that to be found at KA though.  By their website they mention their 4000sq. ft. gift shop, and their baking school.  I thought wow, this will be great.  I built it up a little more than it actually was though.  The gift shop was nice but not enough actual KA logo gear for my taste.  Like other factories who put their logo on everything from post cards, to clothing, this offered very little.  No clothing other than hats and an apron.

I was able to get a nice KA bakers apron, and a couple little trinkets.  But I was hoping for a shirt or some stationary or something.  They offered a ball cap for $24.00 which I thought, YEAH RIGHT, I dont think I would ever pay that for a hat unless it was a Fedora.

I also thought they would have a huge selection of baked breads, after all it is a bakery as well.  But no, all they had when I was there was some little pastries that looked like they have at my local grocer.  No bread to speak of at all.  No factory tour to be had, no photos of what the baking area even looks like.  I thought they would at least have a tour or something of how they mill flour, bake breads, anything.  Heck, the flour was more expensive there, than they even sell it for here in NY.  A 25lb. bag was about $5. more than locally.  Of well, had some nice photos, wife even took one of me on their little throne at the entrance.

Oh well, better luck next time.  Off to Scotland by the yard for a look at some Kilts. 

I didnt get a kilt, but I did get a couple photos of their newest family members who arrived that day.

They were all cute, but the little kids were just the cutest little things with their itty bitty little horns.  Anywho,

After heading out and arriving in Killinton, we found a great little Steak House called "The Back Behind Saloon".  Let me tell ya, the 24oz. Ribeye was the best steak I have had in this country.  And thats even considering Ive had some really good steaks at Mortons in Atlanta, and NYC.  Or the great steaks in Kansas or Iowa.  Just wonderful, and the owners Conrad and Gerry Zendzian came out and personally met us and asked how are food was.  Just great service, great food, great everything.  If you are in the Killington area, its worth a visit.

So overall it was a good time, if you are interested in seeing any of our other photos from the trip including me in my new Apron (oh boy) you can look at my photos at here.

Thanks again browndog and weaverhouse.  I will definately plan a little more in advance next time, and let you know.

TT

browndog's picture
browndog

TT, If you had a head full of red curls you'd be a Tom Sawyer clone--("what, you mean I don't have a head full of red curls..?!" No, sweetie, that's your beard.) So much for my solid assertions-("you couldn't possibly be disappointed...") but as long as you weren't unhappy with Vermont I retain my complaisancy. You do make me giggle a little though-- did you notice, while you were at KA, all the nice , uh, baking and kitchen supplies..? I am surprised there were no breads. Honestly I've only been once myself, when I was making a delivery there last winter and thought I'd take a look around. Then there were trays and trays on bakery carts of boules, batards and baguettes--I wandered among them looking for new ideas for slashing. Maybe they were getting ready for distribution not retail, couldn't say. What a disappointment for you. Come back and go to Baba a Louis, they have plenty of bread. And of course I've been annoyed for years that their flour carries an outlet premium rather than discount, you are quite right about the prices. But they are a pretty safe bet for the obscure ingredient, just try and find rose flower water anywhere else.

While you were in Kilington, did you hear about the secession plan? The town wants to bolt for New Hampshire, I am dead serious. And you really went to Scotland by the Yard, hah! Another place I've never actually been inside, but since the Scots make the best music in the world, I was sure it must be  a good place. Nice goats--were the Holsteins still there?

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Ive been called alot of things in my time, but never a Tom Sawyer clone...ha,ha..Thats a first.  To try to answer your questions. Lets see

Yes we loved Vermont, heck, I had a hard time convincing my wife we had to go back home.  I think the fact that are children were still there kind of sealed it, or maybe it was the dogs, dont know for sure.. ;-)

Yep, at KA I did notice the nice selection of baking and cooking gadgets.  The problem was that I already have Cambro's, sheet pans, mixing bowls and such.  What I am lacking is some nice Brotforms.  And I was not willing to pay $35.00 for a little 8" one.  Now I know some folks would say "Thats what they sell for" .  And to that I say "Ahh Buggers".  Given time I will find them much cheaper, I have a knack for stuff like that (probly cause I was raised by a bunch of women who loved bargains).

No, I did not hear any word about Killington wanting to move east.  If they do, maybe I could talk my town officials into moving us there, to take their spot.  'course I would have to talk my boss into letting me work out of VT.

As for Scotland by the yard.  Wonderful place, the lady working was very polite.  And the selection of products was quite large.  If you like wool you would LOVE this place.  My wife is allergic to wool so it was quite comical (for me) to watch her navigate the racks of clothing without touching anything.  The goats were indeed great, itty bitty little things barely knee high, even the adults.  I did not see any cows though, but maybe they were moved around back for these little ones to move up front, not sure.

My wife is all ready to start planning another trip out to VT.  So I will be back out probly in July to visit again.  I'll keep you posted, I have to pick up a piece of granite in Bennington, get donuts at the Apple Barn, get bread at Baba a Louis, and meet you for tea.  Thats my "to do" list so far, though it will most likely double by the time the date rolls around. 

Thanks again,

TT