The cold and dark makes it a little bit of a challenge for many Alaskans to rise and shine this time of the year.
Thankfully, the folks that run Rise & Shine Bakery aren't too chilly to fire up their ovens for bread-loving Alaskans. Rise & Shine loaves are a fixture at the South Anchorage Farmers Market throughout much of the summer, but the bakery runs a little different during the cold months.
"We are baking once or twice a month during the winter this year," says co-owner Alison Arians. "We bake as much bread as we can for most weeks during the summertime to sell at the South Anchorage Farmers Market. But during the wintertime, the demand decreases a bit. It seems to work well to combine our winter bakes to one or two weeks during each month, since people know that the bread freezes and thaws really well, and they don't mind stocking up.
"In December, we're baking on December 12 and December 19 to give people a chance to order bread for gifts and for their holiday tables."
Rise & Shine doesn't have a storefront, so winter shoppers need to visit riseandshinebread.com to pre-order bread for delivery on Wednesdays. Orders must be placed by Sunday night before the bread is delivered. Bread can be picked up in either downtown or South Anchorage.
The early deadline is needed to get the right number of loaves ready for delivery.
"All of our bread is sourdough, and we don't use any commercial yeast," Arians says. "Our loaves are leavened only with sourdough, so the process of building up the bread dough is a slow, careful three-day process. This long fermenting process gives the dough great flavor and great keeping quality, without the need for adding a lot of extra oil or sugars or dairy."
Available December 12 are two pan loaves (levain and spent grain) and three hearth loaves (kalamata olive, fruited almond and dark chocolate and cherry).
The bread schedule for the following week includes baked potato and spent grain pan loaves and fresh rosemary, fruited almond and dark chocolate and cherry hearth loaves.
"The fruited almond and the dark chocolate and cherry loaves are certainly popular this time of year," Arians says. "People love to give them -- and I hope to receive them -- as gifts. The kalamata olive and rosemary loaves are also big sellers -- they both make delicious dinner breads to go with holiday meals and are our favorites of the specialty loaves for making sandwiches."
After the New Year, the bread schedule includes delivery Jan. 16, Feb. 27, March 27, April 24 and May 15.
"We are committed to baking healthy, delicious whole-grain sourdough bread," Arians says. "We really load up our specialty breads with great ingredients, like nuts, fruits, herbs and olives. We use whole grains in all our bread: at least 60 percent of the flour in every loaf is whole grain. Many of our breads contain 100 percent whole grains. All the wheat and rye in our bread is organic.
"Our signature loaf, the levain -- this just means naturally-leavened bread in French -- has only four ingredients: organic whole wheat flour, water, salt, and sourdough. The three-day fermentation process gives the bread its great taste and texture without any oil or sugar."
The indoor Center Market will have many of its regular vendors back again this week, including A.D. Farm, Country Health Foods, Alaska Sprouts, Matanuska Creamery, Rempel Family Farm and Northern Lights Mushrooms. The market is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday inside The Mall at Sears.
This week, Rempel Family farm will have stripetti squash, sugar pumpkins carrots, beets, turnips, daikon radish, parsnips, green cabbage, and 12 varieties of potatoes.
Country Health Foods will feature frozen grass-fed beef and free-range chicken, duck and turkey, along with locally produced honey and goat cheese.
A.D. Farm will have several pork cuts and sausage options, along with fall vegetables: four varieties of carrots, beets, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and parsnips. He also will have fresh chicken and duck eggs and Alaska barley flour and cereal.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By STEVE EDWARDS
Daily News correspondent