DOVER — Downtown’s upcoming, couple-run bread bakery is not-so-typical in its mission. Along with being recognized for their impressive customer feedback, the Russian couple who owns the business also hopes to spread what they believe to be a crucial philosophy: “Carbs are not what you should be afraid of.”
Alex and Alyona Nash of The Olde Craft Bakery claim that generally, Europeans are anything but afraid to eat bread. According to Alex, that European mindset is justified. He claimed that the Russian-style baking process is very unlike that of the typical American way of baking bread, resulting in bread that is traditionally heavier, less sweet, and that tastes “just like bread you love in Europe.”
In recent months, a variety of bread from The Olde Craft Bakery has increasingly been stocked on the shelves of now 10 local grocery stores, including a new contract with Hannaford in Durham.
The couple moved to Dover just five years ago. Shortly after the move, they created a business, with a goal to respect the craft of traditional European breads, and produce products that they feel will have health benefits for members of the Seacoast community.
Alex said their bread is different than many American breads because of the baking technique and the ingredients.
“Our bread ferments for a long time and is done naturally, and we raise our bread three times, in order for the bread to breathe. Our Russian bread is healthy because we use unenriched unbleached flour, and we are certified organic.
“Our bread is also free of preservatives, unlike many U.S. industrial companies that may have additives,” he said.
However, the process to bake their bread this way isn’t an easy one. Alyona, the baker of the duo, makes around 200 loafs of bread and 200 baguettes on a busy day.
Her day is scattered, as her main baking shift is from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Alyona said she goes home to take brief naps while the bread is in the oven. In addition to the night shift, she periodically will have to bake certain types of bread in the daytime.
Although the hours are intense, she said, baking has always been a natural and rewarding process.
“I had dough in my hand since a child,” said Alyona, who had learned the craft of making traditional Russian bread from her grandmother, when she grew up in a small Siberian village.
Alex said his main role is dealing with the finances, packaging, and the delivery aspects of the company.
The couple met near St. Petersburg, Russia, and after Alex had received a green card, he married Alyona and moved the U.S. to start a new life and raise a family. After briefly living in New York City, the couple found a Dover to be a place in which they wanted to remain and start their business.
Along with having two young children, the couple began selling their bread at farmers markets, and then stores started carrying their products. After some requests for them to make baguettes, the couple decided they’d continue to expand their product line.
In the summer of 2018 the couple went to Paris, France to learn the art of the baguette. Considering how important it is for them to remain true to the traditional baking process of Russian bread, they found it crucial to show that same respect by learning first-hand how to bake traditional French baguettes.
“We couldn’t just make long bread and call it a baguette when it is not,” said Alex.
After seeking out and taking a master class from a French baker, along with additional classes in the U.S., the couple began the process of developing their own French-style baguette.
“You must come up with your own style, and you must practice. There are so many variables to how the dough must rise. We did it, and now it is very popular with our customers,” he said.
Along with their baguettes, the couple bakes multiple variations of wheat, rye, multigrain, sourdough, and cinnamon raisin bread.
With the expansion of the types and amount of bread the couple bakes, come plans for further expansion.
Alex said the couple plans to hire another employee by the end of the month, and has a long-term goal of having around 10 employees working for the bakery.
“We want to get to the point where we produce 2,000 loafs of bread a day,” said Alex.
The couple said they are motivated to continue to expand and spread knowledge about their European-style bread.
“Alyona bakes the best bread in the United states, is what we believe. Otherwise we wouldn’t have started this business,” said Alex.
Source: Thanks https://www.fosters.com/news/20200202/beauty-of-bread-dover-couple-has-big-plans-for-bakery