Bread isn't complicated. It's been a human staple for nearly 30,000 years and only needs four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water. We sent our photographer up to New Vineland Bakery in Lompoc, where she captured the entire breadmaking process from grain to loaf. The operation includes every step, from growing the wheat to baking the bread in their custom-made oven. Their bread can be bought through the Santa Rosa Hills CSA, the Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Ojai farmers' markets, or straight from their Lompoc tasting room on Thursdays and Fridays.
By growing their own wheat, New Vineland bakers ensure the quality of their product from start to finish.
After the wheat is harvested, the wheat berries will be milled into whole wheat flour. Unlike most whole wheat mills, which strip the endosperm from the grain, process them separately, and recombine them at the end, New Vineland grinds the entire wheat berry, yielding a less processed and more flavorful flour.
The flour is combined with wild yeast from their wine grapes, water and salt to make bread. When kneading the dough, the baker, Brendan, adds whole grains and nuts to create different flavors and textures.
Gluten develops when flour is moistened and kneaded, giving dough its elasticity. Gluten’s elastic framework holds the gas produced by the fermenting yeast.
The dough is kneaded and set aside to rise, or proof, in bannetons, which shape the dough and mark each loaf with a traditional spiral imprint.
Once shaped, a loaf is slid into their wood-fired oven.
The warm, crusty bread cools on nearby racks.