November Bread CSA

We will be offering a November Bread CSA which will run for every Saturday in November. You can download the Tater Dave’s November CSA here. Please fill out and email to taterdavethebaker@gmail.com and bring payment to the South of the James Market to get started. Deliveries will begin next week.

Every now and then we receive surplus produce from local farmers at the end of market days. This produce has to be turned into something. Usually we turn it into bread. This has led to the following creations: Kale-Onion, Jalapeño-Chili, and Pumpkin Spice Bread.

On opening day of the 2013 summer market at South of the James Farmers Market, Rocking F Farm gave me about 20 lbs of overgrown sweet potatoes. I need help figuring out what to do with them. They could become a spiced yeast bread, scrumptious scones, or sweet biscuits. I’m leaving this up to you – send me your best ideas!

Share your ideas on the blog, on Facebook, or on the YouTube video. Best idea by Thursday will be made for this coming weekend’s markets!

These breads will be available at South of the James Farmers Market and the Farmers Market at St Stephen’s:

Potato BreadsSOTJ Summer Market

  • Rosemary
  • Kale Onion
  • Cheddar Garlic
  • Parmesan Oregano
  • Sundried Tomato and Herb
  • Cinnamon Raisin

Vegan Breads

  • French
  • Mixed Wheat French
  • Oatmeal Molasses
  • Rye
  • Whole Wheat

Mrs. Tater also has some Double Chocolate and Oatmeal Chocolate cookies available this week.

Be sure to check out the vendor lists for South of the James and St Stephen’s to plan your opening day for fresh local produce and baked goods!

Tater Dave’s just had its first Anniversary!

Last year I was unknown, my bread looked undercooked, and my condition for the opening day of market could have been summed up as “woefully unprepared”. No tent, no sign, and not enough product.

Opening day at the South of the James Market with The Market Umbrella was very different this year.

I showed up with 40 loaves of bread for opening day last year and barely sold them all. The original five types of bread available were Mixed Wheat French, Mixed Wheat Garlic, Mixed Wheat Italian, Multi-grain Rye, and a plain Potato Bread.  Mixed Wheat French & Garlic have continued in the line-up and the Potato Bread spawned the savory Rosemary Potato, which has become a market favorite.

This was the original Mixed Wheat French bread - no joke (4/2010)

Over the course of the first season, we got a tent, fashioned a sign from a re-purposed closet door, bought two tables, made PVC tent weights, and generated a presence at the Summer market as well as the Winter market on Forest Hill Avenue.

Entering year two, we still have a tent, fashioned a NEW sign out of fabric, and opened the market with nine varieties of breads, gingerbread cake, and Cake Pops.

This year, Tater Dave’s brought over a hundred loaves of bread for opening day. We were prepared for the masses.

We look forward to providing tasty bread and other baked treats for the summer market!

One of my market helpers!

Bread Foundations

Bread Foundations

Potato Bread, Mixed Wheat, and the Barmy bases are the three staple bread foundations I’ve developed for the variety of breads offered through Tater Dave’s.

Common varieties for the Potato Bread base include:

Rosemary Potato

Chili Potato

Cinnamon Raisin

Pepperoni Potato

Sundried Tomato Basil


Mixed Wheat varieties mainly entail the Mixed Wheat French and the Mixed Wheat Garlic.

Barmy varieties manifest themselves as the Barmy Baguette and the Barmy Parm.

Why Potato Breads?

Because my Mom taught me to always add a little bit of potato flakes to yeast bread recipes to increase the moisture and softness of the final loaf. I’ve found that this subtle addition to the ingredients lends a softer crust and more tender crumb to the potato breads I make. Flavorings for the breads are kept to a ratio of 1 tablespoon of spices per four pounds of bread and/or 1 ounce of dried fruit/meat per pound in order to properly flavor each loaf.

Why Mixed Wheat?

I prefer to call the Mixed Wheat French and Garlic Breads “Mixed Wheat” because they start with 50% whole wheat flour.  Breads I produce as “Whole Wheat” contain 100% Whole Wheat Flour as well as additional whole grains. While the “Mixed Wheat” label generates questions, I feel this is needed in the bread world so customers can be better informed of the bread they are purchasing and consuming.

Why call it Barmy instead of Sourdough?

I just think Barmy sounds cooler than Sourdough – also, my wife makes a Pirate’s, “Aargh!” whenever she hears Barmy. My barmy breads are 100% naturally leavened and go through a lengthy rising cycle in order to develop good flavor. The starter for these varieties was captured locally at the beginning of 2011 and I have kept it living ever since; rebuilding it as needed to always have enough starter for the Barmy Baguette and the Barmy Parm!

Additional Bread Varieties

I’m still growing and learning as a baker, so I’m always interested in trying new spice blends as well as new varieties of breads.

I’ve dabbled with 100% Whole Grain Breads which give a hearty kick to the digestive tract, Ciabattas (golden and dusky) with light airy crumbs,  and am now trying out some Portuguese Sweet Breads due to my wife’s Cape Verdean heritage.

First attempt at Portuguese Sweet Bread

Bartering at the Market

Bartering goods at the close of market builds strong relationships between vendors.

It’s always a good week at the market selling bread when one or multiple of these things happen:

1 – Repeat customers return to purchase and enjoy more bread!

2 – All the bread is sold by the close of the market hours.

3 – Remaining breads at the close of market are traded with other vendors.

Option #1 is always a good choice and I’ve received good feedback from customers on how to improve some of the bread varieties – most significant has been the suggestion to make sandwich sized loaves.

Option #2 needs no explanation from a financial and time investment perspective.

Option #3 is where things get interesting. Take a look at the picture below:

One bottle of Trekker from Grayhaven Winery, a half-gallon of raw milk from Faith Farms, one dozen eggs from Sullivan’s Pond Farm, and Butter Milk Ranch Dressing, Salsa, and Olive Cheese Spread from Simply Savory.

These are all the items I bartered for two weekends ago at the market. On one day.

Since then, goodies from Simply Savory made up most of my weekly lunch, the milk was used in this past week’s breads, the eggs went into Cat Ruble’s new cake pops, and the bottle of wine is being saved for future consumption.

Bartering is a great way to take care of surplus goods at the end of the day and to trade with other vendors who have goods that may not keep until the following week. Yes, I could go home and freeze my bread for personal use, but freezing 4 or 6 loaves a week at the moment would build up fast to a full freezer.

Turning bread into wine or eggs or milk or savory goodies has a higher value than just more bread on hand at home. I’m grateful that this spirit of bartering has continued at the farmers market!

I’ve always admired the mythical black “steel-drivin’” man named John Henry.  He was a testament to the days when work happened on the human-scale and tragically died after outpacing a steam drill.  John Henry also lived at the end of the time period populated by Heroic Artisans.

Why am I talking about John Henry and Heroic Artisans?  Because one common conversation I have at the farmers market related to the bread I produce generally goes as follows:

Customer: Do you use a mixer?

Tater Dave:  Not usually.

Customer:  So you do all of this by HAND?

Tater Dave:  Pretty much.

Customer:  HOW?!

So this is the full answer for all the inquiring minds about how to make so much bread without a stand mixer (KitchenAid or Hobart).

Some quick work is due on your part first though – you need to go find your copy of Betty Crocker, the Joy of Cooking, or some other favorite cookbook with a yeast bread recipe in it.

Got it?  Good.

How much bread does the recipe make?  Maybe two loaves?  If the two loaves fill a 9” x 4” pan, then your recipe makes about 4 lbs of dough.  4 lbs of dough is just about the upper limit of capacity that a standard Kitchen Aide stand mixer can handle.  More than this and it’ll start to burn up the motor on your mixer.

My standard run of bread for the farmers market is 8 lbs of bread.  This is twice the capacity of a regular home stand mixer.  If it’s nearing peak season at the farmers market, then I can increase my run of bread to 16 lbs of dough or four times the capacity of a stand mixer.

In the amount of time taken to prepare 4 lbs of dough in a stand mixer, I could have already prepared either 8 or 16 lbs of dough by hand.  How is this possible?

The mechanics of a stand mixer require the use of a dough hook.  A dough hook only stretches the dough that it is immediately pushing through with a little bit of tug on the outside of the dough ball as it is pushed around the bowl.

The mechanics of hand kneading the dough stretches a greater volume and surface area of the dough with each turn.  Since more of the dough is being worked at a given time, the gluten can develop faster than in a stand mixer.

Also, it will take nearly the same amount of time for the gluten to develop with a standard sandwich loaf of bread whether using a stand mixer or mixing 8-16 lbs of dough by hand.

I need to be able to produce 8-16 lbs of dough on a fairly tight schedule since I’m making dough at a home-production scale.  Why 8-16 lbs of dough?  Because my oven can only hold 8 batards or boules of bread at a go or 4-8 sandwich loaves at a go.  But that conversation can develop on another day.

I can outpace a standard home stand mixer when making 8 to 16 lbs of dough which makes me more like my hero John Henry.  I’m proud of this because it shows where working on the human scale of ability is more productive than at a larger industrial scale.

An investment of several thousand dollars would be needed to find a machine that could out compete my hands in making dough as fast as I’m able.  The scale of dough production I’m currently at with one oven is more than a KitchenAid ($250-$600) but less than a Hobart ($1,500 – $3,000).

Once again, John Henry wins.

As a disclaimer, I will admit, for some of the wetter dough, brownies, and cakes I make, yes I do use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  I’m not saying that a stand mixer doesn’t have a place in the kitchen; it just doesn’t currently have a place in Tater Dave’s production line!