While interviewing Tom Brecke for this bite-size story, we asked, as a formality, for the ingredient list for his bread. “This is another reason I love bread,” the Heft Bread owner and baker said. “It’s just three ingredients: flour, water and salt.”
As it turns out, Brecke’s flour/water/salt answer sells his bread short by a few crucial ingredients – a few million, technically.
Even by the rigorous standards of artisan baking, Brecke has chosen the path less traveled. Most bakers use industrial yeast to limit labor, cost and uncertainty. Brecke staunchly sticks with a sourdough starter created with friendly airborne bacteria from here in the Valley. With the help of these untamed microscopic catalysts, he creates bread that tastes, literally, like nothing else on the planet, blending modern principles of terroir with classic baking techniques.
Experimenting with different ratios of locally sourced wheat, Brecke recently concluded a year-long beta phase and has two products on the market: round, soup-ready boules and unsliced Pullman loaves, a form that lends itself perfectly to toast, Brecke says. Try a slice with a light spread of butter and jam, or go savory with a smear of smashed avocado.
Find Heft Bread ($6 per loaf) at its dedicated bakery in Phoenix, or at select Valley restaurants such as Crêpe Bar in Tempe and Provision Coffee Bar in Chandler.
909 N. First St., Phoenix