Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Part of the Four Worlds Bakery Vision

A reminder about the Four Worlds Bakery mission. Many bakeries I have worked in and visited are factory-like operations where most bakers are busy but not involved in the creative process. The main goal in such bakeries is producing a consistent product, mostly to please wholesale customers like restaurant chefs and grocery store managers. This is very frustrating for bakers, like me, who strive to express their creativity through the bread baking process. And this, along with economic considerations, is why the best breads are often produced in home kitchens by hobby bread bakers.

Four Worlds differs from most other bakeries in that we value the creative process in bread baking over strict consistency, but still recognize that a balance of both is important. This means that the breads will differ slightly from week to week, as we strive to reach new heights in the quality of the breads while staying grounded in a consistent product design. I guess the question we are trying to answer is this: Are consumers willing to be included in the creative process in the making of their food or do they just want the same, predictible products each time? I think you can figure out where I'm going with this.

One of my customers said to me: "I feel like I'm supporting an artist when I buy your bread." Although I didn't think of myself as an "artist," this statement really resonated with me, helping me articulate exactly what Four Worlds Bakery is all about: bringing back the true artistic (ie "artisan") process in bread baking. But it's interactive, meaning you, the consumer, are part of this creative process. This is why I put out so much effort to communicate with you directly and I have so far turned down invitations to sell these breads in stores.

So thank you for being part of the experiment. Know that ever dollar you spend at Four Worlds is a vote in favor of supporting local food preparation as an expression of true artisanship.

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