Restaurants

At Hewn, every bread loaf handmade

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ellen King is proud of many things, including her starter: that is, her flour, yeast and water mixture that's fed each day, helping create the sticky, slightly fermented dough at her bakery, Hewn, in downtown Evanston.

"The wild yeast just starts blooming, because yeast is everywhere. It's on your hands, it's in the air, some of its on the flour. What that does is it allows you to have breads that have that really complex flavor," said King.

In the case of their caramelized onion rye, the dough ferments for 17 hours before being shaped, dusted with rice flour then scored with a razor, giving it its tell-tale shape,

"Everything we do - most of it - is mixed by hand, naturally fermented, we're using organic flours. We're not perfect, we don't want everything to look perfect, we want it to look like we made it," said King.

The same holds true for the pastries, and even the sandwiches, which contain beautiful ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, avocado and manchego cheese, but are housed between misshapen loaves of ciabatta.

"I like that really rustic, rough exterior where it looks a little like that deep amber taken almost to like what some people say is too dark," King said.

King says the payoff is seeing customers return for more of her handiwork.

"I think that the character of us coming through the bread is what makes it interesting."

Hewn has about a half dozen breads on offer every day, but don't forget about the pastries - at least a dozen different items here: scones, cookies, croissants and these kouign amanns, really interesting item: caramelized sugar with sea salt.

The bakery also makes a fantastic braided challah every Friday.

Hewn
810 Dempster Ave., Evanston
847-869-4396
www.hewnbread.com

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