The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

fol epi - 'wild wheat stalk'

breadsong's picture

fol epi - 'wild wheat stalk'


Franko kindly referred me to an absolutely lovely bakery in Victoria, BC, called fol epi - 
(fol epi means 'wild wheat stalk').
I had the pleasure of visiting this bakery last month. Thanks Franko! - this place was quite a find!

Having enjoyed a heavenly pain au chocolat for breakfast, I went back to thank the staff,
and got to meet Cliff, the baker.
Not only does Cliff bake incredible things, he mills his own flour - and to top it all off, he sold me some of his bread and whole wheat flour. I was quite happy!

There's a blog post here that has some nice pictures of the bakery, and of course the photos on the bakery's website,, show lots of beautiful breads and pastries (at this point, the website may still be a work in progress in terms of text?).

My first bake with Cliff's flour is a 'wheat stalk' loaf, using the Miche formula from Advanced Bread and Pastry.
The wheat stalks were made with a live decorative dough (a Team USA 2010 formula featured in a BBGA newsletter I picked up while at IBIE last September).  The stenciling was inspired by something I saw on farine-mc's site, shown here.

With thanks to Cliff for his really good flour, and to BBGA/Team USA and farine for their creative ideas - although my execution is a bit lacking (perhaps the decorative stuff is best left to the professionals!):

Here's a comparison of flours:

The top is 75% sifted Red Fife
The left is 100% whole wheat
The right is Cliff's whole wheat (lovely colorful bits of bran) - I'm pretty sure Cliff said this was Red Fife too, but I'm not positive and kicking myself for not remembering!!!

Happy baking everyone,
From breadsong


arlo's picture

I love the decorative touch you added to the loaf. A wonderful piece of work :)

ananda's picture

Great Bread Artistry Breadsong.

You didn't happen to find out how he mills the flour did you?

Coarse Bran in amongst fine flour generally indicates sophisticated milling techniques such as "roller" milling.   Somehow, I don't think Cliff will be milling on such an industrial scale.

Best wishes


louie brown's picture
louie brown

is about as good as it gets, short of the practice that comes from intensive repetition, for which very few of us have the time. You're an inspiration for me and many others, I am sure.

Mebake's picture

You should change your Nickname to; breadArt!

Beautiful.. As always!

MadAboutB8's picture

I second Khalid with the BreadArt username.

You're truly humble. This bread decoration shows lots of skills, not lack of at all, very inspirational.


Syd's picture

Beautiful, Breadsong!  I love the strong contrast between the flour on the loaf and the unfloured wheat stalks.   And I have been wanting to try the stencilling thing for a while and this post has now given me the inspiration to do it. 



Franko's picture

Gorgeous looking loaf on all counts breadsong!

I'm quite sure there are a lot of professional bakers out there that would love to have your artistic talents. I know I'm definately one of them.

When I first met Bruce from True Grain Bakery last year I recall him saying that Fol Epi is one of the other Island bakeries that uses Red Fife, as well I seem to remember reading an article in either the Times Colonist or Eat magazine saying the same thing. Fol Epi is at the top my list of places to visit next time I'm down In Victoria. Great post as always breadsong!

All the best,


breadsong's picture

Hello Franko,
I got to enjoy visiting that wonderful bakery thanks to you!
You will love this place.
Thanks so much for writing - I appreciate your kind words very much!, and I'm glad you saw this post.
from breadsong


breadsong's picture

Thank you all so much for your compliments! - it means a lot coming from each of you, being such talented bakers yourselves!

Andy, I regret not asking Cliff more questions (I didn't want to take up too much of his time, had to 'bite my tongue'). Watching the pictures go by on the "flours" page on the website, it looks like the flour is stone ground.

Louie, With practice, I hope to improve rolling, tapering and braiding so I can make wheat stalks that look proportional and more realistic. I'd definitely try this again.

Khalid, You are the true artist with your recent post, illustrating stretch and folds in the bowl! Those drawings clearly demonstrate the technique and how kind of you to post those, to help others learn the technique.

Syd, I found farine's instruction for using stencils very helpful. I hope you have fun trying this out!

Thanks again - from breadsong

saltandserenity's picture

That is a gorgeous loaf. You are creating masterpieces with my favourite medium - Bread!!

breadsong's picture

Hello saltandserenity, Thank you so much - that's so nice of you to say. :^)
from breadsong

SylviaH's picture

You have a natural talent for art and it is shining through on your gorgeous loaf!

Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed the photos and hearing about your trip.

Is the last photo, in the series of the bakery photos, of a flour milling machine?

A roller miller?  I don't know anything about these machines's, but the photo looks to have a large stone on the device shown.

Added: I see now what you mean about the website, a work in progress..referring back, there is now a different display of the website..but the milling 'roller' machine is under 'flour'.


breadsong's picture

Hello Sylvia, Thanks for your kind note and I'm glad you liked the bakery's photos -
Cliff's pastries and loaves are are stunning!
...and we've now tasted the loaf I made with his flour and what a rich, wheaty flavor - I can only imagine how good Cliff's bread must taste, knowing what goes into it and seeing those pictures!
from breadsong

Floydm's picture

Lovely loaves!   And... wow... I wish I knew about that place the last time I was in Victoria.  I stayed less than a kilometer away!  I'll be sure to check it out the next time I'm up there.


breadsong's picture

Hello Floyd,
I agree...Cliff's breads are amazing.
I hope you enjoy your visit to fol epi, if you go.
I should post about fol epi in the "Bakeries, Shops and Pizza Joints" forum - to pass along Franko's excellent recommendation.
from breadsong

dmsnyder's picture

Did you use regular dough or pain mort for the decorative wheat stalks?


breadsong's picture

Hello David, Thanks so much for the compliment!
The dough was called 'Live Decorative Dough', and included instant yeast at .35%.
While baking, the decorative dough didn't change hardly at all in terms of puffing or changing shape - but the wheat stalks were put on the loaf only for the last 10 minutes of the bake (I didn't want them to brown too much).
Thanks again! from breadsong

GSnyde's picture

To quote the elder Snyder, "gorgeous bread!"  I love the wheat stalks.

I bet it's beautiful to eat, too.

We haven't been to Victoria in several years, and it's one of our favorite places (Rodgers's Chocolates are the best!).  Next time, we'll visit fol epi.


breadsong's picture

Hi Glenn, Thank you so much!
Victoria's one of our favorite places too.
If you visit the bakery, I hope you'll give us a report!
I sure am impressed with the flavor Cliff's flour imparted to the loaf - this is 'good eating'!
:^) from breadsong


intelplatoon's picture

Nice loaf! 

And that whole grain flour looks AMAZING! If I ever make it to B.C. I'll definitely pay a visit to this Cliff fellow and eat some of his bread.

breadsong's picture

Hello, and thank you!
If you like Cliff's flour, you might like this flour too! (pictured in JoeVa's post):
I hope you do get to visit fol epi someday, if you travel to Victoria.
from breadsong



teketeke's picture

That is a beautiful loaf, breadsong!  As Khalid mentions, Your name must be breadart :) 

 Thank you for sharing your experience with us, breadsong. I am very interested in where you visited and got some great stuff. What a wonderful bakery shop it is!  

Best wishes,


breadsong's picture

Thank you, Akiko -  I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the bakery and it's a place I would dearly love to go back to.
Thank you for your nice compliment regarding the bread - very much appreciated!
from breadsong