Meet Jessica & Graham
We met a decade ago, while attending university in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Both of us earned a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts, which we both agree were some of our favourite years.
We have been inseparable ever since. Married on Stoney Lake in 2006, we have been blessed to have been able to travel the world and this beautiful country together.
Jess started and completed a Master’s Degree in Counselling and Art Therapy in Montreal while Graham worked producing some of the most beautiful handmade paper in North America. We loved Montreal and we love Montreal bagels!
After a year travelling, eating and learning in Australia and New Zealand we settled down in the picturesque ski town of Smithers in Northern British Columbia.
After a number of years in the West we decided we yearned for Ontario again. Armed with some new baking skills and a clearer idea of how we envisioned our lives we packed up our small dog and moved to Lakefield. Our forever home.
Always searching for ways to continue creating and working with our hands we officially opened Hard Winter Bread Company in May 2014.
We welcomed our son Remy into our family in August 2015. He is the light of our lives and there is never a dull moment when Remy is around helping out. Much of what we do and who we have become is because of and for him.
Our Wood-Fired Oven
Our hand built wood-fired oven is the foundation of our little bakery. It is an Allan Scott oven design, a favourite of wood-fired bakers all over the world. Permits and plans were purchased in the early spring of 2014 and the oven was built over four months during the summer with LOTS of help from family and friends.
The oven footprint is approximately 8 x 10 feet and is clad with red brick on the outside. The hearth (or interior) of the oven is 4 x 6 feet and can hold about 32-38 loaves of bread at a time.
During a firing cycle, internal temperatures of the oven reach upwards of 1000 degrees fahrenheit. However, we don’t bake at that temperature! Once the wood has been burned and reduced to coals, the burnt coals are raked out and the oven is mopped and cleared of ash. The loaves of bread are baked at approximately 550 degrees fahrenheit, or on the ‘down cycle’ of the firing. We bake for as long as we can as the oven slowly continues to cool.
Our oven has impressive heat retention. We often bake granola and lower temperature items many days after a large wood firing. Granola is baked approximately 3-4 days after a big firing and is slow roasted to golden perfection.
Our bakery is physically located just on the outskirts of the beautiful village of Lakefield, Ontario, right in the heart of cottage country.
We are a home based business and truly enjoy the flexibility of working from home.
We have a large kitchen for the bakery which is separate from our primary home kitchen. Our kitchen is inspected twice yearly by the Peterborough County Health Unit health inspector.
We do not sell our breads and treats out of our home bakery but instead at two local farmers markets (Peterborough and Lakefield) and a host of other restaurants and shops.
Filled with sunlight and surrounded by lavender and herb gardens, it is one of our favourite places to be.