Brown Paper Packages, Tied Up In String


By Annette Batson

Great homemade bread is it’s own reward. Double bonus – when you find it in Schroon Lake.

Matthew Peterson, aka The Bearded Baker, has enhanced my life in the ADKs.  The burgeoning baker and entrepreneur produces the best crusty sourdough I’ve tasted west of San Francisco.  Light, spongy round “boules” are encased by a super crispy crust, which works miracles for garlic bread, Paninis, goat cheese, and general noshing.  Let’s put it this way: I came home with two 20 ounce boules – hid one immediately, and the second loaf was consumed in a few minutes by my two teenagers. “This bread is dope” as they say. Yes, it’s that good – so good that I ditched my no carb diet – with abandon!

I first met Matthew in Schroon at last October’s Farm-to-Table-ADK Shakes Love’s Labor’s Lost event at Seagle Music Colony. That night, the Bearded Baker was serving his sourdough morsels, bursting with a tangy flavor and palate pleasing texture, which we happily dipped into the homemade jams being sampled at the next table.

Matt ‘s home baking took off this summer, but production is winding down for the winter -  at this point it’s special order, via his Facebook page :  and only on certain days.

I put in my order for two loaves on Wednesday and picked them up at his home, on Old Schroon Lake Road, on Friday afternoon.  The price: $5 per loaf – a real steal!

Matthew filled me in on the back-story of his business: “I started baking about 10 months ago – because I was trying to make a better pizza crust. “ (He succeeded.)

The pizza dough idea simply rose to a new level – a quest to make old world artisan style bread.  He tinkered, yeasted, kneaded and baked his way to his current product, and along the way found out he can also bake a terrific English Muffin, which I’m including on my next order.

Matthew has a lot of interests – he’s studying music, has his eye on a career in radiology and is considering a stint at culinary school.  He knows he’ll have to step up production come summer.

“I’ll be at the Schroon’s Farmer’s Market, and even in some local restaurants,” Matt said.

To that end, he’s planning for a new clay oven, which will allow him to meet the demand for great bread, and which he says will produce an even better boule.