My affair with yeast began nearly ten years ago, shortly after I moved to Vermont from the Washington DC area. Not long after settling into our new home, my husband Keith signed us up for an Easter holiday baking class at King Arthur Flour up the road in Norwich. For me, it was love at ﬁrst sight. I couldn’t believe that four ingredients—yeast, ﬂour, water, salt, and water--could make so many different types of breads. I was soon baking breads for people in town, delivering one loaf at a time to their homes. Fortunately, enough people have enjoyed my particular interpretation to support the growth of my business to a number of local stores and restaurants. But the story doesn't end here -- it only begins.
A few years ago I attended a professional development course in Pastry Arts at the Culinary Institute of America and that has taken me in a whole new direction. Breads remain the mainstay of what I do but they now share attention and production time with ﬁne pastries like croissants and tarts, dessert staples like cakes and cookies, and a line of fresh-baked, boxed, sweet and savory English style Biscuit Bites.Up most days hours before dawn, I am baking off breads to be delivered to my local retailers. During the day, the croissant dough demands my attention, as does the rolling, cutting, baking and boxing the daily run of sweet and savory Biscuit Bites. Add to that cookies, tarts and mini cakes. And my day often ends with my preparing starters for the next day's production. Being a baker may not be for everyone, but I love what I do and take great pride in my work. I hope that comes through when you taste my breads, pastries and sweet and savory Biscuit Bites.
Sourcing local ingredients is a priority. Cheddar cheese, eggs and maple syrup are local from Grafton. Other products are Vermont based where possible, like King Arthur Flour and Cabot butter.
Vermont has dozens of small towns that claim to be "quintessential." Grafton is one of them. We've had some good press over the years, naming us as a "place to see" within the United States or New England. Chunks of it are on the National Register of Historic Places. You'll ﬁnd the white clapboarded 1800's buildings and the prominent steeple of the church in the center of town. There will be the rivers, the valley and the hills. But there will be some unique things, like the fact that all utilities are buried within the town center (courtesy of The Windham Foundation) and faux-gas lanterns for streetlights. There's the Grafton Inn at the main intersection hinting at the importance of Grafton when travel routes cut through these parts. There's the absence of sidewalks further reinforcing rural nature of the village. All of these things will suggest that you have been plucked out of this time and set back into another century. This is especially true on a summer's night. It's certainly worth a visit.