Idyllwild Bread is a micro-bakery in Northern Westchester, NY, owned and operated by me, Beth Mansfield Scott, a Northern CA native who has lived in New York for 13 years.
Epicurean visits to the Bay Area shaped my childhood. I remember the stifling heat while touring the vineyards with my parents, then driving home to Sacramento with their wine in the trunk and a sourdough rosemary fougasse from the Oakville Grocery on my lap. The bread was shaped into a peace symbol.
25 years later and 2,562 miles away in Westchester, NY, I'd just had my second child. Although I fully embraced motherhood, I was nostalgic. I wanted wholesome SF sourdough, California warmth, and my Mom. I was also thinking more critically about what I was feeding myself, prioritizing nutrition now that I had a newborn and toddler. I craved that fougasse and could not find it. Knowing I'd be idling for a while on maternity leave, I taught myself to make sourdough bread. My husband Brendan and our daughter loved it, so I shared it with my New Mothers' group friends. They encouraged me to keep bringing it, and I offered it to my neighbors and friends, who told their neighbors and friends.
I called it Idyllwild Bread because I use wild yeast as the leavening agent, versus commercial yeast. And it's wild out here: only 40 miles from New York City, but a world away. There are deer in the street! Idyllic is how I perceive this beautiful but fleeting moment in my life. Time passes quickly. This sweetness and newness, the transformative nature of both bread and parenthood - all of it intertwined - is deeply gratifying.
I make sourdough by hand, from start to finish, the old world way. It is made from starter and undergoes a process of slow, cold fermentation, in small batches. The commercial, modern method of production pursues speed, volume, and convenience, and unfortunately, much is lost in the process. Much is gained by slowing down, by making less.
It takes about 26 hours to make a loaf of sourdough. It is worth the work, I think. The grains and ingredients used are superb. And because the separate parts are so good, this very simple thing - a loaf of bread - becomes something worth waiting for.
I'm so glad you like our bread. Thank you for the opportunity to share it with you.
Beth Mansfield Scott