If you get a chance, try the Reuben at Bat 17 (1709 Benson Ave.
Evanston, IL, 847-733-7117) on Bennison's Rye bread. Their Reuben was recently voted Best in Chicago by WGN!
Our breads are the culmination of nature’s elements: Grain, water and fire. They are made from unbleached, unbromated wheat flour, sea salt, water and yeast, and matched up with a variety of other natural grains, cheeses, fruits, nuts and seeds. They do not contain any fats or refined sugars. The true secret is the fermentation time given to each loaf. Lionel Poilane, the most noted bread baker in Paris once said “What many bakers don’t realizes is that good wheat can make bad bread. The magic of bread baking is in the manipulation and fermentation. What has been lost, is this method.”
Our breads each receive up to 36 hours of fermentation on floured linens or in willow baskets. They are then loaded by hand onto the hearth where they sit basking in steam until they reach the proper bake. The denser, heavier breads are fermented in “final dough form”, while the lighter more textured loaves might be aged using a sponge and dough process. These methods create the overwhelming flavors and well textured crusts that are relatively unique to Bennison’s bread.
The bread is handled from start to finish by artisan bakers. The fragile dough is divided and shaped by hand. If you look closely, most of our breads express some type of “shred” in the crust. This is caused by dormant yeast cells that explode when they move from a 45 degree fermentation room to a 450 degree oven.
Baking bread as delicious as this is as satisfying to the baker’s heart as it is to your palette. Handsome golden loaves with a darker bottom than top and crusts with a bit of “glisten” around the base are the mark of a true artisan baker. Compare our breads to others and we’re sure you will agree that our efforts are an excellent example of “The ends justify the means.”
We bake a variety of breads every day, from crusty French baguettes and chewy Italian ciabatta to all natural whole wheat and white loaves for sandwiches and toast. Our unique artisan loaves include:
California: A sourdough with raisins, dates, apricots, cranberries and walnuts.
Olive: A sourdough baked with black and green olives.
Raisin Rye: A dark, dense, heavy rye loaf filled with raisins.
Seven Grain Sourdough: A crusty, hearty sourdough with seven grains baked in, shaped into a ring.
Onion Walnut: A savory round loaf packed with onions and walnuts.
Miche: A large round loaf, sold by the quarter. A thick dark crust and a dense interior, 100% natural.