Guest article by Mathis Kennington
What would you guess is Central Texas’ most abundant food supply? Is it tacos? How about barbecue? I considered the question for the first time, standing inside a sweltering industrial kitchen with local Austin baker Sandeep Gyawali. I was just as surprised as I imagine you might be to discover that it’s the mesquite legume, the bean-looking pods that hang from mesquite trees.
After laughing at my questioning smile, Gyawali retrieved a small bag of the powdered legume that smelled sweet, like cocoa powder. “Look where it comes from,” he said, as I read that the mesquite powder was neither packaged nor produced in the United States. “Why aren’t we eating the food that’s directly around us?” The smell of Gyawali’s heritage grain flour, milled two feet away from me, made my mouth water.
I’ve thought about his question. Although Austin is surrounded by enough fertile farmland to feed our entire city, less than one percent of the food we eat is local.
Miche Bread Made Locally
Gyawali wants to change that. Despite his day job as a neuroscience researcher at The University of Texas, his real passion is making the food we eat better. Raised by parents who considered eating out to be a luxury, Gyawali cut his teeth on high-quality, homemade foods. After moving to Austin from New York when the economy collapsed, he spent a few years working the day shift at Easy Tiger. Nowadays, you can find him in his own industrial kitchen nearly every Friday evening at 7 p.m., where he bakes 100 loaves of delicious, nutritious, rich and grainy naturally-leavened breads.
The next morning on Saturday, Gyawali delivers his handcrafted breads to three locations across Austin: Kettle & Brine, Salt & Time, and Travis Heights Beverage World. Hungry patrons who subscribe to his quarterly loaf subscription pick either a full or half loaf for their week.
Miche Bread is Gyawali’s creation. The business marks the beginning of his efforts to help create a local grain economy where Austinites can depend on an abundance of heritage grains, rich with flavor and nutrients you won’t find in store-bought grains.
Subscription Service and Bread-Making Class
You don’t have to wait until Gyawali’s dream is a reality to consume quality bread. The Miche Bread subscription service offers the best of his culinary creativity. He takes a true craftman’s approach to his bread, not totally sure what he’s going to find until the first loaf is out of the oven. Each one is unique, with flavors you won’t find anywhere else in town. And people are starting to notice. Jester King Brewery recently invited Gyawali to collaborate with them to create a beer brewed with toasted Miche Bread.
To learn firsthand how Gyawali bakes his delicious loaves of bread, you can take a class with him on Sunday, Nov. 13 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Kettle & Brine. The class is an introduction into baking sourdough. If you go, you’ll learn how to make professional quality bread that’s better than almost anything you can buy.
If you’re like me, and Netflix’s latest docuseries “Cooked” has enticed you into all sorts of homecooking goodness, then you’ll be glad to know Austin has its own naturally leavened bread artist. Whether you want to have dependably delicious bread at your fingertips each week or learn how to make it yourself, Miche Bread has you covered.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite local bread source in Austin?