In the past month, Scott and I have been thinking about what we want to add to our business in 2022. We stand firm in our belief that we want to bring simplicity to 21st century living and create warmth with each product that is delivered to our customers. We also continue to be mindful of leaving a smaller carbon footprint on earth by repurposing, upcycling, and sourcing materials that are eco-friendly.
However, we know that collective spirits can bring this vision to life in a more impactful manner.
Ronald Reagan, former American president, once said,
"By working together, pooling our resources and building on our strengths, we can accomplish great things.”
We truly believe that Iler Woods can create great things if we embrace the talent and beauty of many artisans who hold a similar belief system.
So, over the next few weeks, we would like to highlight artisans that Iler Woods is proud to collaborate with. This week, we want to introduce you to Karen Quinones, the woman behind Wildflour Artisan Bakery. . . the most incredible sourdough bread that we have tasted.
What makes your business unique?
Wildflour Artisan Bakery is unique because the menu options change weekly. Sourdough loaves and treats reflect the season or holiday we are celebrating. We use only the highest quality ingredients. We use freshly milled whole grains in our desserts. We enjoy pushing the boundaries of a conventional bakery. Our desserts are unique and will not be found anywhere else.
We are very concerned with the supply chain. We are dedicated to sourcing organic whole grains from farmers that are interested in regenerative farming practices. We source a variety of heirloom and heritage grains. We understand the importance of investing in biodiversity.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
Wildflour Artisan Bakery-the name reflects what a sourdough starter is. A sourdough starter is wild yeast that is used to leaven bread. It is a culture made with flour and water. The culture uses the bacteria inherent in unbleached flour and the yeasts in the air to create wild yeast. Since the wild yeast is made with flour-the name wildflour seemed appropriate for a naturally leavened (sourdough) bakery.
I also love the play on the word wildflower. I love the idea of wildflowers because they are resilient, beautiful flowers that grow without human manipulation and promote biodiversity.
Artisan-simply because bread making is a craft. The dough is shaped and scored by hand. Each loaf and pastry is handled and designed with care.
Retell the story of the “Birth of Wild Flour”
I have always been an enthusiastic cook. I have had a food blog for years sharing some of my best recipes. I have taught cooking classes out of my home. Most home-cooks fall into two categories: the cook or the baker. I have always fallen into the cook category. I enjoy the sound of chopping the sizzle from a hot saute pan. I love the improvisation of cooking.
During the lockdown something changed. Everything slowed down, including my cooking. During the Pandemic I had the time to explore the other side of food. I learned to slow down and learn how to make sourdough bread. Sourdough bread operates on it’s own time table. It tells you when it’s ready. I had to learn to bake on a scale and change to metric to ensure precision. I instantly fell in love with baking.
I would bring into my “day” job all my freshly baked breads, focaccias and cookies. They really enjoyed having an enthusiastic sourdough baker among them. Eventually, my co-workers wanted to purchase some sourdough. I resisted this and insisted that I would be happy to make it for free. They refused to take anything for free and literally started placing money in my pocket. They would kindly say when you have the time simply bring the bread into work with you. I really had no intention to start a business. The encouragement of my husband and co-workers really gave me the confidence that I needed to start Wildflour.
For those of you who do not know, Karen is a nurse. So, we can only imagine how these baked items brought so much warmth to her health care colleagues during the heights of Pandemic living.
How do you feel your bread and desserts bring joy to others?
Making sourdough bread has some added benefits besides being delicious. A friend of mine has a daughter that suffers from gluten-intolerance. My friend said that our sourdough has saved her daughter. She can enjoy bread again without tummy issues. Sourdough is cold fermented for 15-18 hours before it’s baked. This process breaks down (pre-digests) gluten. It makes it easier for those who have trouble with gluten.
I have friends and family that are insulin-resistant. They claim that the sourdough bread does not cause glucose spikes after consumption. Sourdough bread is said to be easy to digest, lower your glycemic index, contain healthy gut bacteria, and provide a tangy taste like no other bread.
What is your goal for 2022?
My goal for 2022 is to complete my micro-bakery with the addition of a semi-commercial oven. The oven should arrive this spring. Once my oven and micro-bakery are fully operational I have intentions to become a class B Cottage Food Baker. This will allow me to sell my bread at store-fronts and to restaurants.
So, how does this relate to Iler Woods? We have a budding relationship with Wildflour Artisan Bakery. We first purchased the bread because we kept hearing community members rave about the bread. We just had to try it! After one bite, we were in love with the bread.
But more importantly, we were enamored with the warmth and kindness that was behind the food. Karen clearly pours her heart into each baked item she creates.
When we heard her story, we knew we wanted to collaborate with her!
So. . . we invite you to join us with this beautiful collaboration. This Valentine’s Day we are offering an amazing Valentines Box:
It includes the following. . .
Sweetheart Loaf, Chocolate & Rye Sourdough with dried cherries
Winter Citrus & Champagne Bundt Cake
White chocolate covered strawberry sourdough galette with pistachio & dried edible roses
72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sourdough heart shaped brownie with White chocolate & dried raspberry powder
All placed on a heart shaped “charcutie” board. Made with responsibly sourced wood & using a food safe stain.
If you are interested, go to ilerwoods.com/shop and purchase your Valentines Box!
We stand firm that. . . “We are more powerful when we empower each other.”
Check out Wild Flour Artisan Bakery-