Bad Dog cre­ates good bread

Best Eats Gail John­son

The Georgia Straight - - Food -

While he was liv­ing in Squamish for a few years and work­ing in pest con­trol, Vadim Muger­man hap­pened to start bak­ing, dis­cov­er­ing a pas­sion for mak­ing fresh bread. The Moscow na­tive de­cided he wanted to learn from the masters, so he booked a plane ticket to France, bought a cheap car once he got there, and went knock­ing on doors.

Sleep­ing in his ve­hi­cle at night, he would of­fer to work at small bak­eries for free so that he could pick up tech­niques and tips from peo­ple who know what it takes to make good bread.

“The first woman I met, in Al­bertville, was milling her own flour right there,” Muger­man tells the Ge­or­gia Straight. “I knew at that mo­ment that not only would I open a bak­ery but that I would also have to mill my own flour. The flavour just blew me away.”

Nowa­days, Muger­man runs Bad Dog Bread. The re­cently opened or­ganic, ar­ti­san bak­ery in North Van­cou­ver shares a space with Orto Ar­ti­san Pasta. (The Ital­ian restau­rant is run by Brigitte Rayé—for­merly of West Van­cou­ver’s La Ré­galade and La Ci­gale in Kit­si­lano—and her son Steeve. Like Bad Dog Bread, it has quickly be­come a favourite of the lo­cals.)

The bak­ery takes its name from Muger­man’s girl­friend’s res­cue dog, Tommy, who ate an en­tire or­ganic loaf Muger­man had pur­chased at Vic­to­ria’s Fol Epi bak­ery (“gone in a mat­ter of min­utes”). The next week, the pup took a full bag of freshly milled flour right out of the baker’s bag and con­sumed it just as quickly.

Muger­man’s nat­u­rally leav­ened ar­ti­san loaves of bread take about 26 hours in to­tal to make. His prod­ucts vary from day to day but in­clude brioche and fougasse, a flat, leaf-shaped bread that orig­i­nated in France; he makes dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the lat­ter with olives, oregano, hot pep­pers, and other in­gre­di­ents. Loaf va­ri­eties in­clude fresh rose­mary, pe­can and fig, whole-wheat co­rian­der-andraisin, rye, se­same, and sour­dough.

He also makes sweets such as cin­na­mon buns, choco­late brioche buns, and sea-saltand-choco­late-chip cook­ies.

The first step to­ward mak­ing all of those baked goods is milling the flour. Avoid­ing con­ven­tional gro­cery-store flour that can sit on shelves for years and is a highly pro­cessed food, Muger­man ap­pre­ci­ates freshly milled flour for its taste, char­ac­ter, tex­ture, aroma, and nu­tri­tional value. He also likes be­ing able to know ex­actly how and where the grains he is us­ing are grown and by whom.

Muger­man sources or­ganic wheat from True Grain on Van­cou­ver Is­land and mills it in a small stone mill that he pur­chased in Idaho. He hopes to ex­pand his cur­rent space soon and add two more. “My dream is to have my own silo,” he says.

Prices range from $4 for a rus­tic baguette to $8 for a hearty freshrose­mary loaf. In ad­di­tion to the North Van spot, which serves cof­fee, tea, sweets, and break­fast toast with top­pings, Bad Dog Bread can be found at lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets, in­clud­ing those at Lons­dale Quay, Am­ble­side, and Burn­aby.

QUINTA VALE D. MARIA, POR­TU­GAL

Fam­ily pro­pri­etor Cris­tiano van Zeller re­cently sold this his­toric ven­ture, but we needn’t worry about any drop in Vale D. Maria’s qual­ity, as it was his wine-pro­duc­ing cousins from Aveleda in Vinho Verde who took over the reins of the busi­ness. Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro 2013 ($55.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is a field-blend red made from old-vine grapes, gen­er­ous with Ital­ian plums, cur­rants, dark cher­ries, and plenty of pol­ish. ÁL­VARO PALACIOS, SPAIN Mr. Palacios is a mod­ern le­gend, had a ma­jor hand in put­ting re­gions like Pri­o­rat and Bierzo on the map. Ál­varo Palacios Descen­di­entes de J. Palacios Pé­ta­los 2015 ($36.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is made from Men­cia grown in Bierzo; it’s lively and fresh, with red fruit, anise, and a good crack of min­eral char­ac­ter.

LES VINS BONHOMME, SPAIN It’s rare to see Nathalie Bonhomme, the gre­gar­i­ous wine­maker and né­go­ciant be­hind the brand, be­hind her ta­ble at the wine fest. She’s way more likely to be in front of it with the peo­ple, ea­ger to share lovely wines like her El Petit Bonhomme Rueda Verdejo 2016 ($13.49, B.C. Liquor Stores), a crisp and re­fresh­ing white laden with green ap­ple and fresh lime.

GONZÁLES BYASS, SPAIN Do take ad­van­tage of all the sherry flow­ing in the room, like Gonzáles Byass Oloroso Nutty Sol­era ($16.99, B.C. Liquor Stores), a de­lec­ta­ble mouth­ful of tof­fee-coated hazel­nuts and figs.

PARÉS SPAIN BALTÀ/GRATAVINUM,

Th­ese are the folks be­hind some of my very favourite Span­ish sparkling wines. You can’t get much more con­sis­tent and de­pend­able than Parés Baltà Cava Brut Or­gan­ico ($22 to $26, pri­vate liquor stores), teem­ing with cit­rus, ap­ples, and pears, with a pinch of white pep­per.

AL­PHA BOX & DICE, AUS­TRALIA

The boys are back in town. Ex­pect crowds around the ta­ble of charis­matic brothers Dy­lan and Justin Fair­weather, with ev­ery­one sup­ping on their unique takes on mod­ern Aus­tralian wine. Al­pha Box & Dice Dead Wine­mak­ers So­ci­ety Dol­cetto 2015 ($32.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) car­ries plenty of cher­ries and plums and is fresh as a daisy from start to fin­ish.

NAR­RA­TIVE, CANADA Those in­ter­ested in the con­tin­u­ing nat­u­ral­wine phe­nom­e­non will be fas­ci­nated by th­ese min­i­mal-in­ter­ven­tion wines com­ing out of Okana­gan Crush Pad in Sum­mer­land. Nar­ra­tive Caber­net Franc 2016 ($21.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) is more Loire Val­ley than Napa Val­ley, zippy and bright with red fruit and herbs.

VIÑA MONTES, CHILE This fam­ily pro­ducer is known for some of the most el­e­gant, site-spe­cific wines com­ing out of Chile. Montes Al­pha Colch­agua Syrah 2015 ($25.99, B.C. Liquor Stores) of­ten has a spot on my ta­ble, dizzy with pur­ple fruit, bak­ing spices, and an op­u­lent na­ture.

LAU­RENT-PER­RIER, FRANCE Be­cause Cham­pagne. Need I say more? Lau­rent-per­rier Cu­vée Rosé ($88.99 un­til March 3, B.C. Liquor Stores) is 100 per­cent Pinot Noir and 100 per­cent lovely, ef­fer­ves­cent with huck­le­ber­ries and red cur­rants.

MICHELE CHIARLO, ITALY Michele Chiarlo La Vespa Mon­fer­rato Rosso 2013 ($17.99, B.C. Liquor Stores), with its herb-driven red and pur­ple fruit, is a good start to get a feel for the re­gion of Pied­mont. Then while you’re in the swing of things, you can step right up and try some of their fancy-pants Baro­los, brim­ming with clas­sic notes of bal­sam, anise, tar, and roses.

With recipes based on freshly milled flour, the nat­u­rally leav­ened loaves from North Van­cou­ver’s Bad Dog Bread take about 26 hours in to­tal to make.

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