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Dear Grain sells loaves of fresh-made sourdough along with a selection of sourdough pastries and sandwiches out of a shop on Lower Ossington.
The bakery started in 2016, perfecting its slow-made bread out of the back of Detour Coffee in the town of Dundas before upgrading to the Hamilton commissary about a year and a half ago.
Head baker Adri Greenspan leads the nine-person team in Hamilton where all of the loaves are prepared with a slow fermentation process (12 to 36 hours) and a careful combination of flours and heirloom grains.
Greenspan tells me that the bread is also made with higher ratios of water to flour (83 per cent plus) in order to master a soft texture, crispy crust and good digestibility before being delivered here every morning.
Five different options can be found in-store at any time including the classic country, super seeded, multigrain porridge, or silhouette pan loaf, and a featured cheese loaf that changes up every week. There might also be a seasonal offering when you stop by.
They come by the loaf ($7.95 to $8.50 each) and unsliced as cutting it while fresh would only destroy the loaf due to the high hydration.
In the spirit of celebrating bread, a selection of products to pair with bread like jams, spreads, dips and canned fish, as well as ingredients and tools to make your own bread, is kept toward the back of the store.
Flours made with a range of seasonal and regional kinds of wheat, bread baskets, cutting knives and handcrafted cutting boards are available to purchase for anyone looking to pick up bread making from home.
Sandwiches are made here on the sourdough. This week's offerings include a meat option with prosciutto and salami ($16), roasted veg ($14) and a wild haddock with dukkah crust ($16).
There's also a tall breakfast sandwich ($8) with egg, pungent portobellini mushrooms, spinach and aged white cheddar.
From-scratch sweet and savoury pastries are mostly all made with sourdough as well. This goes for the brioche morning bun ($4.50) that's covered in crystallized brown sugar with an unexpected taste of orange.
The savoury brioche ($7) oozes with egg and a creamy, dijon Mornay when bitten into or cut in half. Ham and Emmental (a type of swiss cheese) make it filling enough to stand in for a breaky sandwich.
Bostock ($6) is a classic French pastry that is made here with day-old brioche spread with apricot jam. Almonds and cranberries go on the crispy top while the middle remains soft and chewy.
The raspberry and pear sweet galette ($8) is one of the few pastries that doesn't feature sourdough. Instead, a flaky puff pastry made with butter instead of margarine just like you'd find in France is thanks to Toronto-based Butter Boys.
Espresso-based drinks are poured with coffee from Detour where the bakery got its roots and comes as a perfect complement to a takeaway pastry or sandwich.
But a visit to the store just north of Queen on Ossington wouldn't be complete without a purchase of sourdough, the literal bread and butter of the entire place.