The magical metamorphosis of naturally leavened wheat bread keeps sole owner of Fiddle & Stone Bread Company, Chris Foley of Columbia, in a constant state of awe. “Baking is meditative. The world goes away when my hands are in the dough. It’s work that doesn’t feel like work.”
Foley doesn’t seem to mind the 48 straight hours of work it requires to produce enough bread for the market.
“Baking is an all-day affair.” Foley smiles like a big kid when he thinks of the endless hours spent perfecting the process. “If I’m not working bread, I’m planning my next move based on the oven temperature. I’m constantly ‘fiddling’ with something.”
His “fiddling” consists of 10 hours working over a wood-fired masonry oven. His 30-year-old sourdough culture requires daily care to ensure the hours spent over the hearth are successful. At a minimum, he spends two days regulating the temperature of the brick oven so his dough has the perfect environment to transform.
Foley’s business profile on Facebook illustrates his dedication to the craft, as well as his aspirations to share the wonders of naturally leavened bread with his customers.
“Every batch of dough, every loaf is different. Slight variations in temperature or humidity can have drastic effects on fermentation, proofing, and final product. I prefer to bake in a wood-fired masonry oven because of the way it bakes, not out of simplicity or ease. All of my breads are long-fermented. All of them contain some percentage of locally grown and milled grain. It is my goal, daresay my mission, to bring quality, nutritive bread down from the unattainable shelf where we’ve stowed it and into your hands, homes, and hearts.”
Although he has been baking bread for more than two decades, Foley started selling at Columbia Farmers Market in 2018. Foley believes the market is the perfect outlet for his bread obsession. Indebted to the art of making bread, Chris displays his passion when sharing the labor-intensive process with his customers.
Visit Foley's website at FIDDLEANDSTONE.COM to learn more.