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Features

The Gingered Peach is Here to Stay

LAWRENCEVILLE, NEW JERSEY – The mixers, ovens, and restless hands in the kitchen of The Gingered Peach haven’t slowed down despite no longer welcoming the typical lines of hungry customers. In fact, the bakery seems to be using quarantine to its advantage, further establishing their product as unparalleled and their voice as a call for change. The Gingered Peach occupies a unique position within the Lawrenceville community as a woman- and Black-owned business that works towards bringing Lawrenceville together to eat, grow, and commit to communal action.

The Gingered Peach has been supplying the surrounding area with pie, pastry, and pure joy for over 5 years. A smile spread across the face of local resident Kristen Heinzel as she recalled some of her favorite memories there. “For my family, it was a routine to make tea and bring back baked goods from The Gingered Peach on Sunday afternoons,” Heinzel noted. The fresh baked goods became the focal point of so many family memories for her.

“It’s pretty rare to find a small town bakery with so much charm these days,” remarked Nancy Mckeon, longtime patron of The Gingered Peach. Many locals wouldn’t hesitate to say the same. With its signature red paint job and striped awning, The Gingered Peach stands out as a place of warmth, happiness and unity.

When businesses in New Jersey were forced to abide by distancing restrictions as a result of COVID-19, food industry businesses were among the hardest hit. The Gingered Peach was no exception. However, owner Joanne Canady-Brown refused to let quarantine stop the momentum they’ve been building for years.

In addition to the unparalleled deliciousness that comes out of their kitchen, The Gingered Peach bears an important voice within my community. In reaction to the racist murders of George Floyd and countless others, Canady-Brown wrote on Instagram,

“As a Black owned business, it is in our culture to foster a workplace of inclusion and awareness… But that is not the reality outside of our walls.”

She went on to thank the local police department for “hearing me and opening up a dialogue of how we as a community can move forward from here.” 

Lawrenceville falls very much into the category of “small-town America,” and the close quarters make it rare for residents to mind their own business. This creates a community of individuals committed to understanding and supporting each other in word and deed. Canady-Brown has taken it upon herself to create space for conversation and encourage action. Owned by a Black woman and boasting a devoted customer base, The Gingered Peach has a voice that stands out among the rest. There’s no doubt that this is how and where change will happen.

Canady-Brown is no stranger to using her position in the food industry to fight for social justice. In 2019, she participated in the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program. In a recent article, Canady-Brown found there “a network of [women] who made you feel comfortable and supported. No idea was stupid.” In an industry that leans towards masculinity, support from fellow women becomes so important for growth. Women giving other women tools for success is the future of the food industry, and Canady-Brown has made it clear that she wants to lead this movement. 

While they have used their voice to speak on national issues, The Gingered Peach has also committed themselves to local affairs, which is a true source of pride within Lawrenceville. When quarantine hit, the well-known brand King Arthur Flour started ‘For Goodness Bakes,’ an initiative “to help keep bakeries running by purchasing bread and pastries, that is then donated to people in need.” A suggestion of giving back to the local community was all it took for the small but mighty team at The Gingered Peach to pull out their donut fryer and buy up all the yeast that they could find.

Whether it’s through the impact of their voice on social media or the simple act of sharing one of their gooiest cinnamon buns, The Gingered Peach has discovered the secret to prosperity and progress: if you truly commit to improving your community, the people around you will not let you fail.

The Gingered Peach on 2 Gordon Ave, Lawrence Township, NJ 08648
Find their hours of operation and more information on their website here.

Categories
Mucho Gusto

Mary’s Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

This is the twenty-fourth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: sourdough starter, flour (whole wheat, bread flour, or all-purpose)

Makes 1 medium-sized round loaf

I’m sure, by this point in quarantine, you have come across mention of the elusive sourdough starter. As yeast shortages have hit supermarkets across the world, many have turned to creating their own leavening agent, the sourdough starter, in order to explore the expansive world of homemade bread. I admit that sourdough bread-baking is daunting at first. It may take you a couple of tries to get it right, but when you do, you will understand how this mighty little natural yeast has started such a large cult following. There is truly nothing that measures up to a loaf of homemade bread and this particular loaf is one of my personal favorites. 

If you are starting from the very beginning with your own starter, I suggest you take a look at the following websites:

King Arthur Flour

The Perfect Loaf

Or, even better, ask a friend who has a healthy starter or your local bakery to give you some of theirs! All you need is about 3 tablespoons to get you started. Before you begin baking, read through the whole recipe to ensure that you have planned properly in terms of timing. I promise, once you’ve dipped your toes into the world of sourdough baking, you’ll never again be able to buy a store-bought loaf of bread.

Ingredients:

1 ⅛ tablespoons (19 grams)    mature Sourdough Starter (at its peak)

3 ¾  cups (448 g)    Whole Wheat flour (if you don’t have Whole Wheat flour, use All-Purpose or Bread flour or any combination of the three)

⅓ cup (43 g)    All-Purpose or Bread flour

1 ⅔ cups (383 g)    Water, room-temperature 

1 ½ teaspoons (9 g)   Salt

Timeline

8:00 am 

In a small bowl, mix together starter, ⅓ cup of flour, and ⅓ cup of water. Mix thoroughly so there are no dry spots of flour. This is called the leavain, which is the natural yeast culture that will leaven our bread! Cover with a clean towel and let sit for 6 hours. 

12:00 pm 

Mix together the remaining flour and water either by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix until there is no dry flour. Cover with a clean towel and let sit for an hour. 

1:00 pm

Add your levain and salt to the flour/water mixture. Mix thoroughly. The dough should look a bit lumpy and should form one cohesive mass. Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with a towel. I have found it best to let your dough rise inside a turned-off oven with the light on.

1:10 pm – 5:10 pm

Throughout the 4 hours that your dough is fermenting, you will perform three sets of what are called ‘stretch and folds’. I suggest you look this up in order to visualize it, but it is basically a way of stretching your dough to strengthen the glutens in the flour. Stretch and fold your dough 30 minutes, 1 hour, and 1 hour and 30 minutes into the dough fermentation.

It may take longer than 4 hours for your dough to finish fermenting. You will know it is finished when it has a smoother, domed top and there are small bubbles across the top and edges.

5:15 pm

Once your dough is finished fermenting, dump it out onto a lightly flour surface. It will be difficult to work with so make sure you use flour on the work surface and on your hands. Form into a round-ish shape and let rest for 20 minutes.

5:35 pm 

Make sure that you have a small bowl prepared with a tea-towel inside. Generously flour the inside of the bowl/tea-towel. Shape your dough into a round (use above links for references on how to shape) and place in the bowl lined with the tea-towel. Flour the top of the dough. Place in the refrigerator to proof for 16 hours. 

8:30 am (next morning)

Preheat your oven to 500 F. Place your dutch oven or cast iron skillet (whatever you are using to bake in) inside the oven to heat up for an hour.

9:30 am 

Dump out your dough onto a sheet of parchment paper on a wooden cutting board. Carefully peel away the tea-towel from the dough. Score the dough with a very sharp knife. Slide the parchment into the vessel you are baking in and put in the oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 475 F. If you are using something with a top (dutch oven/combo cooker), cover the bread with the top. (Optional: spray some water into the hot oven to create moisture, which leads to a better crust). Bake for 20 minutes with the top on. Decrease the oven temperature to 450 F and remove the top. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the bread is past golden brown. 

10:30 am (ish)

Remove bread from the oven and dump out of the pan to cool. Allow the bread to cool for at least an hour before cutting into it (otherwise it will be gummy and taste undercooked). Enjoy!!

Categories
Mucho Gusto

Mary’s Sourdough Pizza

This is the first installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: sourdough starter, pizza toppings

Makes 6 8-inch pizzas

Although this recipe is perfect for all skill levels, there are two things you should know about it before you begin. First, the dough takes 24 hours to proof in the refrigerator and about 1 1/2-2 hours to proof after you shape it. If you’re making this for a Sunday night dinner, I suggest starting the dough in the early afternoon on Saturday. Second, this recipe calls for sourdough starter. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you look it up online! You can start your own or ask for some from someone you know. The sourdough starter is the leavening agent in the crust, so it’s crucial to the dough. 

Dough:

1 cup sourdough starter

4 1/3 cups all purpose or bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Sauce/cheese/toppings of choice

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine the water and the active dry yeast, mixing until it is dissolved. Pour the water, olive oil, and sourdough starter into the flour mixture. Mix with a spatula, or your hands, until the dough just comes together and there is no more visible dry flour. 

Put the mixed dough into a clean bowl, seal with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take the dough out of the refrigerator and dump it onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it all comes back together and is a bit smoother. 

Using a knife, divide the dough into 6 even portions. To shape into rounds, move your hand in a circular motion while pressing your palm into the dough. This may take a little bit of practice, but the dough is forgiving! If it gets too sticky, use a little bit of flour on your hands or on the counter. Place the rounds on a floured surface and cover with a clean towel. Let sit for about 90 minutes, until relaxed and risen a bit. 

Preheat your oven to the highest setting (mine was 475 degrees F). Place an upside down cookie sheet onto a rack in the middle of the oven while it is preheating. This will act as your “pizza stone”.

When the dough is ready, shape your pizzas. Make sure to use a good deal of flour so the dough does not stick to any surface — if you have cornmeal, that works well. Once you are ready to top your pizza, I suggest that you do so on a generously-floured cutting board. When your pizza is ready for the oven, carefully slide it from the cutting board to the cookie sheet. If this sounds too daunting, top your pizza directly on the floured upside-down cookie sheet and place it in the middle rack of the oven.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until your crust is golden brown and your cheese is bubbling!

If you’re curious about sourdough starters, I suggest checking out the following step-by-step guides:

King Arthur Flour

The Perfect Loaf

Recipe adapted from Patrick Ryan’s No Fuss Sourdough Pizza