Adams County Technical Institute Director Jeremy Schaffner was on hand Saturday morning as a four-ton portable wood-fired bread oven was donated to the institute by Adams County non-profit Bakewell Farm.
Bakewell Farm was founded as a way to demonstrate to students and their families how to make nutritious breads, and how baking could bring families and communities together.
Bakewell Farm founder Marc Jalbert said the mobile bread oven was purchased as part of the organization’s goal of “baking bread and building community.”
“When the Covid pandemic hit, our educational mission floundered, and we looked to support local organizations with similar missions,” said Bakewell Farm spokespersons Sarah and Paul Stokely. “The Adams County Technical Institute has a fine culinary program. With the donation of the wood-fired oven, students will have the opportunity to add to the existing bread unit of the curriculum. They will be able to bake artisan loaves and pizza, adding use of a wood-fired oven to their list of skills.”
Schaffner said the oven would be housed in an outdoor lean-to and used as part of the institute’s unit on yeast breads. “We hope Marc will be a guest instructor,” he said.
The Stokelys said the donation of additional baking equipment – including pans, proofing baskets, and baking peels – will allow more students to work in the kitchen at the same time. “We also understand that, in the future, students may be able to bake and sell artisan pizza slices at football games, with funds then going towards student scholarships,” they said.
The oven was constructed by Jon Santiago of Hearth and Timber and can bake pizza and other breads at temperatures of up to 650 degrees F.
The oven was made possible by a generous donation from fellow baker and friend of Bakewell Farm, Trale Broudy of Sebastopol, California. Jalbert provided the additional funds for the design and construction of the oven’s custom trailer that was built in Farmington, Maine, and then transported to Massachusetts where the oven was completed.
ACTI accepted Bakewell Farm’s donation of the mobile bread oven as well as a number of other items to support their effort to bring live-fire cooking and baking to their culinary arts students and programs.
Featured image caption: (l. to r.) Transport providers Ben and Doug Smith, Jalbert, Paul Stokely, and Schaffner [Gettysburg Connection]