Taste: Q&A: Bread Winners

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!