Chez Panisse's 40th anniversary celebrations crested last weekend with educational activities, dinners, and celebrations, but the party favor that really caught our eye was the new Edible Schoolyard Levain ($3.55) at Acme Bread.
The bread is named after Alice Waters' program as a means to increase awareness by creating a loaf that embodies the spirit of eating locally produced foods. Steven Sullivan told SFoodie that he had been working with whole grains after some discussions with Alice Waters about creating whole wheat bread for Chez Panisse.
"She really forces you to re-examine things and brings a strong vision and responses," said Sullivan.
When his flour supplier, Guisto's, was able to source exceptional organic wheat grown near Kettleman City, California (and stone-milled in Petaluma), he began experimenting with it, at first using it to make all the bread Acme made at Slow Food Nation in 2008.
"Everything about it is different," explained Sullivan.
Unlike Acme's other breads, the Edible Schoolyard Levain is mixed and shaped entirely by hand, has increased moisture content, and is baked at a much higher temperature.
It's a profoundly flavorful loaf made from 100 percent stone-milled organic whole-wheat flour, rye pumpernickel flour, honey, salt. Natural leavening is remarkable for the lightness in the crumb. The rustic loaf doesn't have the crackling crust of Acme's champion Pain au Levain, but it makes up for it in the malty, deep grain flavor--the perfect conduit to enjoy the summer's tomato bounty atop a hunk of burrata or ricotta.
Acme Bread Co., One Ferry Building (at Embarcadero), 288-2978