Using methods hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, Jud and Genevieve Smith bake European-inspired breads and pastries in their handmade wood-fired brick oven at Brimfield Bread Oven. Heated with scrap wood from Ohio sawmills, the oven churns out options such as country sourdough, a German-style rye, and olive and herb focaccia.
Rolling Win: While at Kent State University, Jud got a job working the counter at Great Lakes Baking Co. in Hudson. When one of the bakers called in sick, he jumped in to help. “I was awful. I really sucked at it,” Jud confesses. “But the passion was there for sure.”
Some Like it Hot: The Smiths bake on a curve — which means they start with items that can withstand higher temperatures first and work through others as the wood-fired oven cools. So customers know to come at 9:30 a.m. if they want a crusty French baguette fresh out of the oven. But if they want the light and fluffy cranberry walnut sourdough, it’s not going to be ready until 11:30 a.m. “We still have people come and not understand why everything isn’t ready first thing in the morning,” says Jud.
Prep Work: Each morning around 6 a.m., Jud examines the readings of six thermocouples that measure the temperature of the oven. “Bread baking in general is a lot of artistry, but we still worry about the times and temperatures being correct,” he says. He also places sheet pans covered in wet towels to help create the right amount of moisture in the oven. “It’s a delicate environment,” he says. 3956 state Route 43, Suite 2, Brimfield Township, 330-474-7800, brimfieldbreadoven.com