Great bread comes to Fort Worth via Icon Bread, a new startup that sells its loaves every Thursday from 4-7 pm at the West Seventh Farmers Market. Icon operates under the wing of Bravo Catering, the company launched in 2015 by Dena Peterson, former chef at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Peterson's husband, Trent Shaskan, grew up in the Bay Area, giving him an appreciation for sourdough bread with lots of tangy flavor; moist, dense crumb; and thick crust.
"I'm a bread lover and grew up eating great bread every day," he says. "When you grow up with it, you have an appreciation for that taste and even the weight of how the bread feels."
He experimented with bread recipes, and after they started the catering company, he decided to launch Icon.
"I was inspired by Tartine Bakery, the San Francisco bakery from Chad Alexander," Shaskan says. "He came out with a book, and I started playing with dough. Bread is unpredictable, and that's probably what attracts me to it, the level of risk."
Tartine's recipe has some similarities to the famed "no-knead" recipe by New York baker Jim Lahey, in that it's hands-off, rises slowly, and is a very wet dough. Like the no-knead recipe, it's also baked in a cast-iron kettle with a lid, which helps create the steam necessary for the irresistible contrast between the moist crumb and crunchy, browned crust.
"But this requires a starter," Shaskan says. "I'm getting it to work for me."
He aspires to the sourdough loaves made at Pain Poilane in Paris, viewed by many as the best in the world. He uses a flour mix of 90 percent white and 10 percent wheat. And rather than doing a bunch of flavors or fillings, he's taking the purist approach, offering what he calls plain, perfect bread, and maybe some cultured butter on the side.
"For now, we're selling it on Thursdays at the West Seventh Farmers Market," he says. "But we ultimately hope to open a restaurant and possibly a storefront, and I can see the bread being part of that."
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