Canadians have been tearing into Toronto’s ACE Bakery artisan breads for years. Now that Super Fresh stores have introduced ACE’s loaves, Philly can enjoy them, too. But it’s not enough to just buy first-rate loaves. ACE co-founderLinda Haynes reveals her secrets on everything from bread-making to bread-storing (yes, in a pillowcase).
Philadelphia magazine: What does “artisan” mean?
Linda Haynes: For us, no additives or preservatives.
PM: Does location affect bread-making?
LH: I know everyone says “It’s the water,” but I think it’s more the temperature of the water and the humidity. We have watercoolers and heaters at our bakery to keep the temperature consistent through the seasons.
PM: How does your bread get to our markets?
LH: We create each loaf at our bakery in Toronto, par-bake them, then flash-freeze. They’re then loaded into freezer trucks and baked at Super Fresh.
PM: What’s your most popular bread in our area?
LH: [Super Fresh] told us we should sell lots of white breads, but we’re finding that customers want more grain breads, organics, and specialty breads like olive loaves and focaccias.
PM: Think you’re ready to take on Sarcone’s and Amoroso’s for the Philly cheesesteak and hoagie roll market?
LH: I don’t think we could do it as well as you guys.
PM: What’s the best way to store your breads?
LH: In a cotton bread bag — or you can use an old pillowcase. If you aren’t going to eat it that day or the next, freeze it in a freezer bag, defrost in the bag, and crisp in a 400˚ Fahrenheit oven for five minutes. Never put it in the fridge.
PM: What do you do with day-old or stale bread?
LH: I like to slice it quite thin, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle it with coarse salt or Parmesan cheese, and bake it in a 375˚ Fahrenheit oven till crisp. It could last for over a week, but it won’t because you’ll eat it all!