August 8, 2018
My family recently took a little road trip to Chilliwack, and learned SO much about the difference an artisan bakery makes to the taste and health benefits of its bread and desserts. We enjoyed meeting the owner, Baker Ben, and seeing first-hand how their real sourdough bread and desserts are made. I don’t think I’ll EVER look at white big-box bread the same way again!
Tues- Sat. 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
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Baker Ben was trained in Holland, where he learned the importance of whole, simple and real ingredients. These are the building blocks for the best bread and baked goods.
He traveled across Canada to meet with millers to understand their products and process and is proud of the fact that all of his flour is Canadian Grown, Organic and Non-GMO.
“Bleached flour is a dirty word around here”, Ben chuckled.
He also tries to keep things simple, by using only REAL butter, milk, eggs, and olive oils. Ben told us, “We use no additives, EVER”.
You know the saying, “Nothing good comes easy”? Well it takes time to make good food. Baker Ben started work at 2 am that morning, and would be there until the afternoon. It’s clear that baking in the European way is close to Ben’s heart and something he’s unwilling to compromise on. He’s hands-on for every step of the process.
Ben said, “In modern times we’ve forgotten, as we process our food, to give it time. Time gives flavour, but it also creates chemical reactions that change its components, breaks down its gluten, and make it more digestible”.
He told us about a big, mainstream bakery that makes its hamburger buns in 2 hours, start to finish. And with (gasp) bleached flour.
Ultimately, we vote with our dollars and choosing to buy into the local slow food movement ensures that we know what we’re feeding ourselves and our families.
OK, so I’ve been eating sourdough for years because I like the taste of it. But I had no idea that there’s a science behind it– one that’s both historic and trendy. Like the Ancient Egyptians, Baker Ben is very passionate about the health benefits of eating real sourdough, mainly due to its fermented nature.
I’m familiar with the benefits of eating fermented foods (HELLO kombucha, apple cider vinegar, saurkraut and kimchi!) but hadn’t thought about sourdough in the way before. It’s often more digestible for people with gluten intolerance or sensitivities.
Baker Ben explained to us that it’s a natural preservative, is good for digestive health and lasts a longer time as it does not mold.
Ben had a twinkle in his eye as he introduced us to his mother. His sourdough mother, that is. It’s several years old, and he feeds it regularly and adds pieces of it to all of his sourdough bread.
After hand-kneeding his sourdough, he lets it sit and ferment in optimal conditions for several days before baking on a traditional stone. (See what I told you about slow food?)
We were so fascinated with this process, and couldn’t wait to try some of Ben’s famous sourdough for ourselves!
I’m usually not big on sweets, but I couldn’t resist sampling the many cakes, cookies, pastries + other treats. Fan favourites include the real Black Forest Cake, mini Meringue Pies and the Vanilla Slice! I mean, who could resist these freshly made goodies, knowing they have all real ingredients?
I loved everything, but the Vanilla Slice was ALL of my dessert dreams come true.
I admit, we were surprised by the small footprint of Benanna Bakery when we first drove up to it. Its neat, freshly painted and landscaped location is not much bigger than a postage stamp.
Our family enjoyed meeting several of Ben’s family members, who work at the store and help out with the baking. We were warmly greeted and made to feel very welcome amidst the bustling business day and store full of customers.
I also appreciate their dedication to sustainability, with all of their day-old leftovers going to a local pig farm. Lucky pigs!
Stay tuned for a giveaway with Benanna Bakery coming soon!
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