Page 41 - WCM Summer 2022
P. 41

with them for years - and I was intrigued.”
Nichole and her husband Michael relocated from Washington D.C. to the Eustis area to start a bison ranch. Nichole was already well familiar with the long Maine winters, but roughly six years ago, and shortly after their first child was born, Nichole craved a creative outlet to break the monotony of the dark, cold days. And that’s when the baking began.
“I was interested in the slow fermentation process, which results in breads that are much healthier than conventional yeast breads, and more easily digestible for those with certain food sensitivities. I became obsessive,” says Nichole. From there she dove into innumerable trials, tribulations, testing, tastings, and trying again, until eventually she began creating the kinds of loaves that had inspired her to start baking.
Soon enough, Nichole was making weekly deliveries to nearby restaurants and regularly selling out at local farmers markets. Then, in late 2019, she and Michael were on the verge of signing a lease for an in-town bakery location when the pandemic hit, and every- thing came to halt.
But not for long.
Demand for Nichole’s bread barely slowed, and during those first unsure months of the pandemic, people
craved the comfort of wholesome, made-with-love bread. She began selling her products from the end
of the driveway where folks could make contact-
less transactions and bring home beautiful loaves
of artisanal sourdough bread. Most days the line stretched down the long country road, but she sold out no matter how much she baked. The people kept coming for their bread, and that’s when Nichole knew she was on to something.
The Hutch at Bigelow Fields officially opened just about a year ago and sits at the top of the driveway, just up from the main house overlooking the open fields where the bison graze. Inside the small red building you’ll find not only Nichole’s “flagship” loaf – The Langtown Sourdough – but other delec- table treats such as sourdough rye salted chocolate brownies, and cookies n’ coffee sourdough cookies. Whatever you end up leaving with, rest assured: You won’t be disappointed, and you should probably just do yourself a favor and make the drive north. You won’t regret it.
Hungry Hollow Country Store, West Paris
The making of bread is steeped in history, and there are very few in Maine who have been making bread – specifically pan loaves – longer than Shirley Damm of Hungry Hollow Country Store.
Shirley, about to step into the kitchen, looking over some of her many baked goods.
 Johanna Sorrell

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