Welcome to Delights Home Bakery & Micro-farm
Happy New Year!
GOOD NEWS: The Radford Farmers' Market will be opening on May 4, 2013, a bit earlier than last year. See you then...
In the mean time, we will have fresh eggs, honey, home-made nut brittles, popcorn/nut/toffee combos, and (frozen) breads for sale, including our most popular varieties of San Francisco Sourdough.
For the winter, we don't plan to have "regular hours", but we are usually here, so just give us a call at 540-639-2361 to place an order or check availability.
Late 2012 Improvements in our San Francisco Sourdough process:
1 - room temperature dough proofing (abandoned 82F "optimum temp" proofing), dramatically improves oven spring, appearance - dough & loaf proofing time unchanged @ 30 to 45 minutes.
Ever Wonder how "real" sourdough (San Francisco, 1847 Oregon Trail, etc) differs from what the big supermarkets call sourdough, and what Aunt Suzie makes with her "friendship starter"?
Just look at the government-required list of ingredients or Aunt Susie's recipe! Their sourdough generally contains baker's yeast, refined sugar, citric acid, lactic acid, and other chemicals to make it taste "sour", plus various "improvers" or "conditioners" which may be less than healthful.
Real sourdough does not rely on baker's yeast for leavening. Instead, its "culture" or starter contains an entirely different type of yeast (e.g. C. milleri) that cannot metabolize sugar directly, but relies on a strain of lactobacillus (e.g. L. sanfrancisco) to metabolize maltose in the flour into nutrients that can be consumed by the yeast, to accomplish leavening. Real sourdough starters thrive on pure water and flour - nothing else is necessary.
Aunt Susie's "friendship starter", and all those other concoctions started with and/or "fed": milk, sugar, potato water/flakes, baker's yeast, etc. are not real sourdough starters, and recipes that require baker's yeast, in addition to the "starter" do not make real sourdough bread - it's just regular bread with a sour taste!
Our San Francisco starter was originally purchased from Sourdoughs International, a reputable source for sourdough cultures from all over the world, and is maintained by adding only water and unbleached flour. Our Original San Francisco Sourdough bread contains only five ingredients:
King Arthur "Sir Galahad" flour certified potable water raw local honey, from our own beehives authentic San Francisco sourdough culture Kosher salthence is about as pure and basic as it gets. Our other sourdough recipes are derived from our "original" recipe, and include some different flours (e.g. organic whole wheat, organic whole rye), sweeteners (blackstrap molasses, brown sugar), and maybe some EVOO, caraway seeds, or raisins, but they are all real San Francisco sourdoughs.
it's probably not real<\I> sourdough!
2012 Improvements in our San Francisco Sourdough breads:
1 - longer, cooler sponge proofing improves sourdough flavor
2 - standardized dough proofing at 82F (optimum temp for San Francisco culture), improves crumb and consistency
3 - STEAM! Added moisture makes our sourdough crusts shinier and chewier, in the true San Fancisco tradition.
4 - NEW: Jewish/Deli Rye, with caraway seeds; just like my Grandfather used to buy in Brooklyn, NY. Available without seeds, on special order.
5 - NEW: Dark/Russian Pumpernickel with Raisins, just like I used to buy at Zabar's, when I worked in Manhattan - add some cream cheese and lox, scallions, chives... to die for!
6 - NEW Sizes/Shapes: 1.5 pound loaves, in long oval loaf and sandwich loaf shapes - see pix. Special order only.
1.5 lb long loaf .......... 1.5 lb sandwich loaf .......... 1.0 lb Boule
Delights Home Bakery in Radford, VA is our third state-licensed food preparation venture. The first was a home bakery and catering service we started in 1976 to help pay the mortgage on our farm (see History). In that, it was quite successful, as we lived there for 20 years!
The Delights Home Bakery Micro-farm is about 1/4 acre of non-certified organic, terraced gardens, raised beds, & fruit trees owned and operated by the Dave & Denise Knight in Radford, Virginia, a university town located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Our bakery products feature real San Francisco Sourdough bread, "the standard by which all other sourdough breads are judged", made with only five ingredients: unbleached flour, water, raw honey (from our own bees), salt, and true San Francisco Sourdough culture (c. milleri and l. sanfrancisco) originally purchased from Sourdoughs International), and nurtured here since 2005. We make several kinds of SF Sourdough, including: Original (white), Honey Whole Wheat, Deli Rye, Cornmeal Whole Wheat and Cranberry Walnut.
We also bake some favorite "artisan bread" recipes developed for our family and customers over the past 40 years, including: Tomato Cheese bread, Greek Olive bread (my grandmother's maiden name was Catherine Achilles), Whole Grain Sprouted Wheat bread, Savory Herb bread, and Roseanne's Bananadama, our unique version of traditional Anadama bread.
For the Radford Farmer's Market, we always bake our Original and Honey Whole-wheat San Francisco Sourdough, as well as a couple varieties of artisan bread. We are happy to take special orders for any of the breads we offer - two loaf minimum please, and at least one day in advance for the artisan breads, two days for sourdough.
To complement our home-made breads, we offer our small batch preserves, made just like (my) grandma used to make them ... well, almost: we have invested in some modern scientific equipment, like digital pH meters and a digital refractometer, to ensure the quality and safety of every batch.
In addition to some traditional family recipes like strawberry-rhubarb jam and tomato marmalade, we produce a number of original recipes like mango-peach marmalade, rhubarb chutney and mixed berry jams. For a special treat, try our slow-cooked fruit butters. They are lower in sugar than jams and bursting with flavors of fruit and spices. We call them Sun Butters because they are made using electricity from our solar electric system - so, even though they look brown, they are really "green"!
From our "micro-farm", we harvest farm-fresh cage-free brown eggs from our two small flocks of hens, raw honey from our modest apiary, and fresh-picked seasonal produce from our (non-certified) organic raised bed gardens, mini-orchard, and berry patches.
On November 21, 2011, we opened Delights Home Bakery Store, in Radford. Products include our cage-free eggs, raw wildflower honey, and San Francisco Sourdough breads. Fresh-baked breads will be available on Sundays, and frozen loaves (with detailed thawing & serving instructions) are for sale, as available.
In December, we expand to include more of the items we sold
at the Blacksburg and Radford Farmers' Markets, including our
artisan breads and "convenience" items like frozen entrees,
hearty soups and stews, side dishes, stuffing/dressings, pies,
cakes and sweets. In 2012, we plan to add some some home-made
beeswax items like candles, lip balm and sealing wax.
During our store hours, if we are not too busy, we may encourage interested customers to take "the nickle tour" of our "micro-farm", to encourage them to start growing some of their own food using some of the tried and true sustainable agricultural practices that have contributed to our health and success over the years. If nothing else, they will learn how much work it really is, and may appreciate our products all the more.
Special orders for baked goods, sides & entrees, for Holidays, parties, or just to have home-made "comfort food" in your freezer, are welcome any time.
Although our main focus is on sustainable agriculture, natural food production, and energy efficiency, technical innovation has been key to our success.
Our solar electric system, for example, provides all the energy to slow-cook our fruit butters (which we call "Sun Butters"), and to run most other circuits in our home "off-grid".
We use thermal switches and programmable timers extensively to control hen-house and greenhouse lighting & ventilation, and to automate garden irrigation.