Lebkuchen is Coming!

For those of you who have been regular customers of Bakery Normand over the past thirty-plus years, you know that the approaching Holiday Season means one very important thing - soon we will be making Spirtzkuchen. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you have no idea what you have been missing.)

But to make Spitzkuchen, one needs Lebkuchen dough. And not just any gingerbread dough will do. Our Lebkuchen dough is made at least a month in advance of the final product production. First we combine honey, brown sugar, wheat flour, rye flour, and a special blend of spices. This starter dough must then be allowed to age for several week in our cool basement. During that time, a very slight fermentation occurs, which is critical in leavening the dough for various products - among them Spitzkuchen.

For now, that is all I'll say about Lebkuchen or Spitzkuchen. For now the dough has been wrapped up in plastic and placed in a plastic tub for cool storage. I'll be blogging as the dough is used and the various products made from it get baked and packaged, ready for sale in the store.

What I think should be interesting, and perhaps instructive, to our customers is the important role that time plays in producing many of the quality products at Bakery Normand. Most everyone knows that yeasted breads take time. First the dough must be mixed and kneaded; then it must have a first rise and rest; then the dough must be portioned, rounded and put to rest again for a second rise; then each piece of dough must be shaped according to the particular characteristics of each particular bread type; then the dough shapes are put up for their third and final rest and rise, the final proof, after which they are baked to perfection. Unyeasted, sourdough breads, obviously, take even longer to proof.

So when you come into the bakery when we open at 7:30AM, we bakers have been at it for many hours already. This is why customers who don't plan ahead can't always get what they want from us. It's not that we want to be difficult; it's just that the final result has a long production history reaching back hours, days, and sometimes weeks. In baking, nothing worth making or eating appears instantaneously. The same is true of many items we will be making for the holidays in the weeks ahead. Your patience will be rewarded; all things come to those who wait. Amen!

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Bakery Normand
192 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060


Tuesday to Saturday, 7:30am-5:30pm

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