Friday, March 13, 2015

Dave's Killer Bread

Lately, it seems almost every time I open the Food section of a newspaper (yes, I still read a real newspaper and you should too), or visit a food-related site, there is an article about “artisanal” toast. Restaurants are charging anywhere from $4-7 per slice for “artisanal” toast! What does that mean, anyway?

Bread is the most basic of food groups; it has been called the “staff of life.” But all bread is not created equal. There is your average supermarket bland white bread, and then there is a whole other world of delicious, good-for-you bread. And that’s where Dave’s Killer Bread comes in.

Starting with roots planted in Portland, Oregon in the 1950s, the story behind this bread is one laced with twisting turns, salvation, and second chances.

The “Dave” in the company name belongs to Dave Dahl. The baking business began when his father bought a bakery in 1955 and started baking breads with whole grains and no animal fats. Dave and his siblings all worked at the bakery from a young age, but Dave really had no desire for the family business, and ran into hard times struggling with depression, drugs, and crime, ultimately sentenced to15 years in state prison. During the time Dave was in prison, his brother Glenn continued to run the bakery and brought the next generation into the fold.


Dave eventually got help for his depression and addiction when he was accepted into a drug treatment program that resulted in his early release from prison in 2004. He rejoined the bakery and began to think about creating the “ultimate healthy bread.” The family developed recipes for four new varieties and set out to introduce them to the world at the Portland Farmer’s Market in August 2005. The response was nothing short of ecstatic! The company was asked to permanently join the Farmer’s Market and by fall of that year, Dave’s Killer Bread was on the shelves at local supermarkets.


All 13 varieties of Dave’s Killer Bread are USDA certified organic, and non-GMO project certified. They are packed with omega 3, fiber, protein, and whole grains.

The nice people at Dave’s sent me two loaves to try – “Good Seeds” and “21 Whole Grains and Seeds.” Loved them both! Good Seed has a slight sweetness to it, probably due to the organic molasses. Toasted, it was a perfect base for my breakfast creation of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, toasted almonds,  a sprinkle of cinnamon and Nektar Naturals honey crystals.


One Saturday morning, I persuaded my in-house short order cook, to make a fried egg sandwich on toast using the 21 Whole Grains and Seeds – delish!
 


The breads are chock full of what they call the “Good Seed Mix” (organic whole flax seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic ground whole flax seeds, organic un-hulled brown sesame seeds, organic un-hulled black sesame seeds), in addition to things like amaranth, barley, and spelt. These ingredients give the bread a deliciously nutty taste and texture.


From a start-up of 30 employees, they now employ about 280 people, 30% of whom, like Dave, are ex-felons. The company is all about providing second chances. They believe everyone is capable of making a contribution and seeing the good in everyone. They offer the essential tools for success: training, support, life skills, and camaraderie (seems to me these things could be essential to everyone’s life).

So where does the company name, “Dave’s Killer Bread,” come from?  Their mission statement says it all: “We don't compromise, we don't settle, we don't give up until we have 'killed it' in everything we do, from the best quality ingredients to the healthiest, tastiest, most nutritious products that delight our consumers. We believe we can always do better.”

By the way, the definition of “artisanal,” according to dictionary.com is “pertaining to or noting a person skilled in an applied art.” In this respect, Dave and his team are killing it.

Dave’s Killer Bread is available at Fairway Market and other retailers around the country. If you are in the Portland area, you can visit their Healthy Bread Store in Milwaukie, or order on line. Get some.






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