Bread is one of the world’s most elemental foods. Whether you make it with flour or corn, call it a baguette or a tortilla, eat it for breakfast or dinner, every culture has a bread-making—and bread-breaking—tradition. It’s a food that not only nourishes us but unites us across borders. Yet, in the U.S., it often feels like bread has become a bad word, whether you blame Big Ag’s mass-produced loaves or gluten-free diets.
Enough of that. Bread is back. And why not? Like many foods valued in our current culinary climate, bread can be crafted with local ingredients, technique, and care. When it is, it represents its time and place, just like craft beer and heirloom vegetables.
And in this edition of Dish, we celebrate the Triangle’s golden age of bread.
Local bakers are using North Carolina–grown grains and local flours to craft bread, bagels, and pastries that are full of rich textures and deep flavors, the kind that can only come from grains grown and milled using traditions that preserve integrity while locking in nutrients and freshness. Bakers here are experimenting with fermentation, tinkering with ratios, and fine-tuning techniques to create a bread-making culture all our own. These loaves are worth seeking out at local bakeries, markets, and restaurants.
So tuck into the bread basket with us to explore bread’s diverse and multifaceted traditions, its magical alchemies, its centuries-old place on Southern tables, and all the ways it nurtures us.