Lapidus loves artisan bread — and because of her passion, she built a sizable group of devotees who bought her Natural Bridge bread from area health food stores. Her fascination began years ago, and led her to apprentice under Alan Scott in Marin County, Calif., she says, “milling our grain to flour and baking our old world, Flemish naturally-leavened breads in a wood-fired brick oven that Alan designed and built himself.”
Scott eventually moved back to his ancestral homeland of Tasmania, Australia, and began the process of setting up a milling operation with a 48” diameter stone-burr Osttiroller gristmill with sifters — but sadly, Scott died of congestive heart failure before his milling operation was fully launched.
“I got a call from Lila, Alan’s daughter, asking if our project was interested in Alan’s mill," explains Lapidus.
Now, the mill is here, an ebullient Lapidus emailed her friends today. "Thanks to Dr. David Marshall of the USDA, Chris Reberg-Horton of NCSU as well as the amazing folks at accounting at NCSU — who put up with me while we navigated the zillions of hoops one must jump through for overseas shipments — [plus] the Golden Leaf Foundation, Graeme Gore in Tasmania, Ed Pitzer who is the head of NC's Research Stations who arranged for trucking from the customs warehouse in Charlotte to A'ville, and of course, Lila Scott (Alan's daughter) — oh, and Joe, for his splendid maneuvering of the forklift, the mill is finally here in Asheville! Whew."
“A mill devoted to NC grains made sense to everyone,” Lapidus says. “The estate of Alan Scott, is providing our project with the use of his 48” diameter stone-burr Osttiroller gristmill with sifters for one year as a test mill. It was Alan’s work that inspired me to do the work of linking the farmer, miller, and baker in North Carolina. It seems the appropriate measure, a bittersweet story, for Alan’s mill to be used to inspire growers to plant wheat and bakers to buy local grain in North Carolina."
This trial use of a gristmill with sifters will enable the bakers to work with N.C. wheat on a production level, figuring out product, level of extraction, and grains that can be milled. The mill will be located in western NC, amid its high concentration of artisan bakeries and amongst the pilot group of seven bakeries.
Stay tuned for Lapidus' upcoming miling adventures.
— photos by Jennifer Lapidus.
In addition to milling the wheat for better bread, Lapidus is working with others to help N.C. farmers grow "hard wheat," which is a crucial ingredient of old-world bread. For more about this project, see the comment and links at http://www.mountainx.com/forums/viewthread/680/
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