Baking Artisan Bread with Natural Starters

Few pleasures are simpler or more soothing than a slice of warm, freshly baked bread; and few bakers know bread like Mark Friend, founder of Kansas City’s Farm To Market Bread Company.

For over twenty years, Kansas Citians have enjoyed the full-bodied, wholesome flavor of Farm to Market Bread. Now readers can learn to bake their own artisanal sourdough, levain, rye, and biga at home. In four clearly organized chapters, Farm to Market bread master Mark Friend guides aspiring bakers from starter to warm, aromatic finish. After you master the four core recipes, there are variations for each to add to your baking repertoire.

About the Author

  • Mark Friend operates Farm to Market Bread Company which has close to $2 million dollars in annual sales. They distribute bread daily to 38 grocery stores and 175 restaurants, caterers, and hotels in the greater Kansas City metro area, Lawrence, Topeka, and Wichita. Their bread is also available through 3 home delivery services.
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Mark Friend's education includes:  
Monterey Baking Company in California under master baker Claudio Cantore, with emphasis on sourdough
American Institute of Baking, Manhattan, Kansas centering on fermentation theory and practice and maintenance of product quality.   
Culinary Institute of America, Bread Bakers' Guild studying French bread under Professor Raymond Cavel, Paris, France   
San Francisco Baking Institute for advanced work in artisan bread.

Friend is responsible for the in-store baking concept using Liopis wood burning hearth ovens. The first premiered in the Deer Creek Hen House where the store experienced an increase in sales by 31% and the project received the Modern Baking Leadership Award for Commitment to Quality.  Other stores followed. 
Mark has also been involved in the Wheat Quality Council in Manhattan, Kansas, in an effort for the Council to consider the special wheat and flour needs of artisan bakers.
He has strong connections within the bread-baking community including the Bread Bakers’ Guild of America, the International Baking Industry Exposition, Kansas City area stores and restaurants, farmers’ markets, and media outlets including NPR, Bread Magazine, Pastry and Arts, Food and Wine, Feast, etc.

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