craft & passion
We started as a wood-fired oven bakery and still use that oven to bake most of our products every day. Now, years later, we are millers, bakers, chefs, baristas, and so much more, who all feel a responsibility to provide the Grand Rapids area with something truly special.
At field & fire, we are passionate about fermentation, food, and farming. We began our journey as bakers, which means we ferment grains into breads and pastries. We honor a long-standing tradition of lengthy fermentation that draws out the flavor from our grains and also enhances the nutritional value of our baked goods. We ferment our dough for up to three days, which translates into unrivaled flavor and also results in baked goods that are much more digestible than baked goods made with speedy fermentation.
At our cafe we honor similar practices, sourcing locally as much as possible and supporting growers/producers who are responsible and caring toward the precious resources our planet provides for us. We keep our food simple and healthful. We are true believers in the Slow Food movement. We do our best to offer a wide variety of choices so that people following a wide range of diets can find something delicious and satisfying to order. We buy meats from a Grand Rapids butcher, Louise Earl Butcher, we use all organic dairy, and support a number of small farms year after year. We are working on our local food system so that we can help people in our region engage their talents in meaningful ways while creating and building something sustainable and life-affirming. Truly seasonal, local food. Mostly organic. Cooked lovingly with intention and care.
We use only organically grown grains and flours. We are committed to supporting farmers who use sustainable practices in their fields to provide us with the raw materials for our baking. Our dollars help to support them and push them forward in their pursuit of using our land in an honorable fashion, as stewards of the earth, rather than pillagers.
Another passion of ours is connecting with our local food system. Many of our grains and flours are grown and milled right here in Michigan. Our whole grain rye, spelt, barley and cornmeal all come from Ferris Organic Farm in Eaton Rapids, MI. We stone mill those grains in-house into flour with our small mill. Closing the gap between the field and the fire is a long-term goal of ours. We use eggs from Melody Bee Farms in Ada. The ham we put into our ham & cheese croissant is from pigs free-ranged in Cassopolis, MI. We use Madcap coffee roasted right here in Grand Rapids, and are always looking for other roasteries we can support who are doing work we can feel good about. We have developed relationships with local organic farms who have begun growing grains for us so that we can use more and more grains grown right here in our community.
We are also passionate about health. We recognize that bread is food, and as such it should be healthful for the folks who eat it. We work hard to ensure that our breads and pastries are as healthful and life-giving as possible. Long soaking periods, extended fermentation, using organic ingredients, and the use of lots of whole grains; these are the things that make our breads some of the most healthful breads you can buy, anywhere.
We mix all of our dough by hand, one small batch at a time. This type of mixing is gentle and allows us to develop the strength of our dough slowly over a period of hours rather than rapidly in a mixer. This means we can use regular organic flour, instead of using high-gluten flour typically used in store bought bread. We believe this results in a bread which breaks down more easily in the digestive tract than breads which are hyper-developed in industrial mixers.
We favor the use of very wet dough. That means when we are handling our doughs they are very sticky and messy. It is challenging to handle this type of dough, but the result is a bread that retains an unbelievable amount of moisture and stays moist longer than other breads. The wetness of the dough also helps to ensure our grains and flours are fully hydrated thus ensuring their more complete digestibility.
We use a sourdough starter in everything we make. Sourdough fermentation produces unrivaled flavor and also contributes to greater digestibility and helps our products last longer before staling. Also sourdough is magic. We show up every morning at 3am working that magic for the benefit of our true selves, the planet we inhabit, and the bodies and spirits of our customers and community members.