My Eastern European ancestors didn't know from polar vortices, but they did know the perfect diet to survive the bitter cold: steaming bowls of kasha liberally lubricated with salo (see: pork fat). I actually have a five-pound block of salo in my freezer, but to survive the current blast of cold I prefer to munch on a thick slab of SCRATCHbread's hearty new Peasant Sourdough ($3.50), which is filled with nearly every healthy whole grain.
The Peasant Sourdough comes out the oven looking like some crusty rye loaf, but it's actually on the soft and thin-crusted side. As in many SCRATCH products, the bakers build the ingredients for this bread out of a small group of building blocks that are also used for other loaves. First comes the sourdough starter, made from oat mash, rice, and wheatberries. To this they add cane sugar, a bran mix of wheat bran, flax seed, and oats, and then a mixture of dark rye, whole wheat, regular wheat, and spelt flours. The final product is soft, medium dense, and filled with a rich aroma of oats and other grains.
The SCRATCH chefs also use the Peasant Sourdough as a building black forming the base for their Maple Sausage and Egg Sandwich ($6), which makes a perfect start to a frigid day. It's stuffed with spicy chicken sausage that's been suffused with maple syrup, chopped eggs, a smoky aioli whipped up from pickle juice, chili, and mustard, and a salsa verde made from breadcrumbs, and garlic, and chopped herbs. It hits all the bases of sweet, spicy, meaty, salty, herb-y, and crunchy, and will keep you filled up for the rest of the day.
About the author: Andrew Coe is the only reporter covering the city's bread beat.