Chris Boles developed a passion for baking long ago. Coming from a food-focused family, Boles watched as his mother baked constantly growing up. They would tour ethnic neighborhoods and Italian bakeries, learning from these locations and becoming mesmerized by their smells and equipment.
That eventually led to a strong interest in baking breadâ€”over the past 14 years he worked with Turtle Bread and Rustica Bakery and, patiently, learned how to work with naturally leavened bread.
All the while, he dreamed of beginning to bake bread through a wood-fire oven. A year and a half ago, he combined his passion and knowledge for bread making with a piece of his wood-fire dream. He opened up Fire and Flour Community Bread and, through using an oven and a grass roots Instagram campaign for spreading the word, his business has continued to grow steadily and become a fixture of the Twin Cities.
â€œAll my bread is 100 percent naturally leavened and handmade with Sunrise Flour Mill heritage wheat,â€ Boles said. â€œI put my heart and soul into each loaf, and I take my bread very personal.â€
Itâ€™s a passion, a pastime, a profession and a business all rolled into one.
Fire and Flour Bread has become known for its bread drops over the past year and a half, and on Sunday, December 6 at Holidazzle youâ€™ll be able to get acquainted with them as well. Boles will be doing a bread drop from 5-7 p.m. in Loring Park, bringing Daily Bread, City Loaf, Seeded and Holidazzle Special.
Heâ€™ll follow up his December 6 bread drop with another at Holidazzle on Sunday, December 20 from 5-7 p.m.
These bread drops began through posting pictures of his bread on Instagram, when a local individual reached out to him and asked if he was interested in doing a trade of bread for artisan drinking chocolate. They did the trade, and the idea of the bread drops began.
Initially, he would give his bread away to get people interested and familiar with his baking. After developing a following and being able to sell his product, he found that people were interested not only because of the taste but also because the industrialization and hybridization of wheat has left certain people with adverse reactions to commercial wheat products.
His bread, as a result, has developed a bit of a cult following.
â€œMy bread is not an item that can be purchased anywhere and at any time,â€ Boles said. â€œDue to the fact that each loaf is 100 percent hand-made with heritage wheat and is naturally leavened, individuals know they are receiving a one of a kind product. When the bread is gone, itâ€™s gone until the next the drop.Â I feel that people also like that they get to chat face to face with the person who made the bread.â€
That level of success, tradition and authenticity make a perfect match with Holidazzle, a longstanding tradition here in Minneapolis during the holiday season. Those who head to Holidazzle on Sunday will be able to experience one of Bolesâ€™ bread drops and bring a loaf home for themselves.
While Boles is not from Minneapolis, he has experienced how strongly people in the Twin Cities feel about the Holidazzle tradition. Heâ€™s excited to be part of the action this year.
â€œHolidazzle has such a rich Minneapolis tradition and with the focus this year on local people, products and places, Fire and Flour Bread seemed like a perfect fit,â€ Boles said. â€œI enjoy sharing my passion with others, personally handing them something I take great pride in and telling the story of my bread.Â Being a part of Holidazzle will allow me interact with many other wonderful Minnesota brands and to expose many more people to Fire and Flour Bread.â€
Heâ€™s excited to share the true meaning of the holiday seasonâ€”family, happiness, winter, community and warmthâ€”with the downtown Minneapolis community.
What can people take away from Bolesâ€™ Fire and Flour Bread? Itâ€™s simple: Theyâ€™ll be able to experience bread that is made by an individual who truly cares about each loaf he bakes. Heâ€™s got the vision, the history and the passion to make a great product each time he turns on his oven.
â€œA great loaf for me has a deep dark burnished crust, a moist interior crumb and a well-developed yet balanced wheat flavor,â€ Boles said. â€œMy main focus with each loaf is to extract and highlight the flavor of the wheat as much as possible.Â Heritage wheat has so many unique characteristics and flavors and it is my goal to highlight those as much as possible.Â I do like my bread to be aesthetically appealing but my main focus is the flavor of the wheat.â€