In the rear of Black Coffee Roasting, in what used to be a storage space, there’s now a fully operational bakery.
Named Grist Milling and Bakery, for the whole grains the bakery uses to mill into flour, they’re using a partnership with the coffee company on East Spruce Street to start slinging a new kind of loaf in Missoula.
“We feel like breads have sort of gotten a bad rap,” co-founder Selden Daume said. “We really want to showcase whole grains.”
Whole-grain, fresh-milled flours are healthier, easier to digest, and keep longer than processed loaves, he explained.
“You get the whole kernel in there, and you get all the nutrients,” Daume continued.
Daume and Co-founder Dan Venturella are both veterans of Le Petit Outre, where Daume worked for 18 years and Venturella for eight. Eventually, the two became enamored of the idea of a smaller bakery, rather than the around-50-person team that bakes for Le Petit.
“We were really excited to do something small,” Daume said. “We wanted to fill a niche in Missoula for organic breads.”
All of their loaves are vegan, and all of their ingredients are organic, Daume said. They buy as much of their grain as possible within Montana, mainly through Montana Flour and Grain, a co-op of organic farmers out of Fort Benton.
The co-op provides hard red spring wheat and rye, which are milled in Grist’s shop. The rest of their pre-milled organic flour comes from Utah, Venturella said.
The mill, which is brand-new from a company in Vermont, has two 26-inch granite millstones and can grind about 70 pounds of grain per hour, Venturella said. So far, the bakery is going through anywhere from 50-100 pounds of grain a day, but is likely to scale up.
Making all-organic whole-grain breads is both more expensive and also presents some cost savings, the bakers said.
While organic flour and grain can cost up to three times as much as non-organic flours, the whole grains are much cheaper to store and last longer, Venturella said.
Daume admitted they’re coming in at a bit higher price point with their loaves — around $8-$12. He said they do make very large loaves — weighing around 2 pounds to 2 1/2 pounds — and the bread is heartier and longer lasting than other breads.
And the bakery’s pastries, available behind the glass case at Black Coffee, are at standard Missoula prices, if you want to try some Grist product at a lower cost.
So far, Grist has three regular loaves, a whole-grain Campagne French bread, a rye, and the Sechskornbrot (pronounced sex-corn-brat), a traditional German bread with six grains, flax, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and oats.
There are also rotating varieties of porridge loaves, made with whole grain and oat porridges mixed into the bread dough.
Their pastry lineup includes muffins, scones, cookies, cardamom knots and the bialy, a bagel-like roll with salt, poppy seeds and caramelized onions on top.
All of their products are available at Black Coffee Roasters’ shop, as well as their stand at the Clark Fork Market.
Eventually, the two hope to move into partnerships with local restaurants or breweries to serve their breads and soft pretzels. They’d also like to have their pastries available in more spots, without shortchanging their partners at Black Coffee, fellow patrons of organic farms.
It’s “a shared space between two like-minded companies,” Daume said. “It benefits us to have a place where, day one we have 200 people coming through.”
Daume and Venturella began serving their product on July 10, after about two months spent tweaking recipes and putting together the bakery, with its mill, triple-stack ovens, and industrial mixers and cooling racks.
Venturella said they both have small mills at home, which allowed them to experiment with fresh milling on a small scale, before investing in the full-sized version.
Once they opened up shop, the two began baking in a slower, more traditional process, where milled grain has to cool for several hours, bread dough rises for several more, and some loaves have to rest for a full day after coming out of the oven.
“We’re stretching out the process,” Daume said.
Black Coffee co-owner Jim Chapman said in just a few days it’s looking like a great partnership between the two organic producers.
“We have more variety now, and quicker turnover,” he said. “Response has been really good and we’re not even a week in.”
Combining their coffee roasters with the bakery in the back makes the shop smell even better in the morning, he added.
The thick, hearty breads have revamped Black Coffee’s toast offerings, making them basically a full meal, Chapman said.
“Their baking style is really good. Very classic, traditional, delicious,” Chapman said. “Their breads are my favorite.”