When a business has the word “bread” in it, it usually means good thing are happening. Rebel Bread did not disappoint and from the moment I stepped inside of the cozy storefront on Curtis street, I was overwhelmed by the tasty smells and beautiful pastries. I sat down with lead baker Zach Martinucci and talked all things bread, baking, and the cool things going down at Rebel Bread.
photos // Bridget Burnett Photography
Hi Zach! Tell me how you got started in baking and cooking?
“I grew up cooking and eating dinner with my family all the time, nobody was a professional chef but food was always important to us. I went on to study culinary anthropology at UCLA and ended up doing some field work in Bologna, Italy where I studied the relationship between culture and food. l always loved writing about and studying food. The first time I made bread from start to finish was with my dads cousin, he owned a bakery in the Bay Area and he was the one to show me the process the first time. After that I went back to my college apartment in Los Angeles and started baking bread all the time. I then went to the San Francisco Baking Institute where I studied professional bread and pastries.”
How do you like Denver?
“I like it a lot! It is such a supportive city, especially for young creatives.”
Can you walk me through the bread making process?
“There are two kinds of bread, there are straight doughs where you go into your kitchen, you start baking and you bake the bread start to finish. Others loaves take a couple days. The first step is the pre-ferment, that’s where we scale out our ingredients, weigh everything and follow a very precise formula. We then add all the ingredients and mix them together, the wet ingredients go in a bowl and the dry ingredients go on top. When we are making sourdough we use a starter (we call her Allison) and then it goes through a bulk fermentation (1st rise.) Give the bread some folds, and we wait for it to double in size. After that we divide the dough, preshape it, let it rest for 20-30 minutes, and do the final shaping. We proof the bread and bake it.”
Any problems you have encountered with baking at altitude?
“Bread is forgiving, I think cakes and other baked goods may be more impacted by the altitude, but there is no rule.”
How did Rebel Bread get started?
“I moved to Denver looking for a new city, and I knew that I had some potential business partners out here. The name “Rebel Bread” comes from me wanting to challenge the way people think about their food. I want the community to realize that bread can be much different than what people think. I am also personally a bit of a rebel too.
We started doing a lot of bread pop-ups in coffee shops and eventually were given this opportunity to share the space that we are in now. It is a collective group in five points and it was important to the owner that whoever took over the space would be supportive of the community.
Does Rebel Bread offer any classes?
“Our full class calendar starts in January 2019 and we will offer different kinds of bread educational experiences. We have bread workshops that are a couple of hours, we have some fun classes like Bagels & Beers where everyone gets to shape their own bagels and then we go grab some beers. We also have pasta classes, and sourdough classes that are all day long where you will learn the process start to finish and you will be able to recreate the sourdough process at home.”
Favorite things in the shop?
“I love the bagels, we make them with baguette dough which keeps the bagel crispy and chewy. I also love the raspberry brioche bun, it is really simple and not too sweet and it goes well with a cup of coffee.”
What coffee shops can people find your products in?
“Sapor, Amythest, Blue Sparrow, Huckleberry on the dairy block, Little Owl, Method Collective (carry retail bread Friday-Sunday) Torpedo Coffee, Brew Culture and Federal Coffee!”
Advice to home baker?
“Whatever it is you want to do, just go out and take the first step”
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