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You Can Finally Go Inside Publican Quality Bread ... But Only For a Day

By Janet Rausa Fuller | June 22, 2015 6:17am

Snag samples of Publican Quality Bread's sourdough during an open house June 27. [Publican Quality Bread]

WEST LOOP — You can stand on the sidewalk and stare into the window of Publican Quality Bread at 808 W. Lake St. all you want. You just can't go in, because the bakery isn't open for retail business.

That'll change — for one day. On June 27, the bake house, which provides bread for all of One Off Hospitality's restaurants and more than 20 others, will be open for free public tours as part of the Bread Bakers Guild of America's annual Bakery Open House event.

Publican Bread's open house runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Floriole Cafe and Bakery, 1220 W. Webster Ave., will take in visitors from 2-4 p.m. (Bennison's Bakery in Evanston also is participating.)

Janet Rausa Fuller talks about the open house:

You don't have to be a baker to attend, though you might find yourself alongside guild members, who include professional bakers, bakery owners and students.

Floriole, which has taken part for the last three years, will offer samples of its seeded sourdough, oat porridge and brioche loaves, owner Sandra Holl said. Visitors will get a crash course in leavened and hybrid breads.

Past tours at Floriole have drawn fewer than 10 people.

"We're pushing hard this year and not requiring RSVPs with the hope of getting more people on board," Holl said.

Floriole's seeded sourdough will be among the breads sampled and discussed at the bakery's open house. [Facebook/Floriole]

Publican Quality Bread isn't asking for RSVPs either. It's the first time anyone other than the baking crew will get to see the bakery since it opened in December, head baker Greg Wade said.

Wade will talk through the Publican's bread-baking process and its focus on heritage grains from Spence Farm in Fairbury, Ill. Guests will tour the bakery, which will be in regular production, and will taste sourdough and multigrain breads as well as sprouted grain "power bars," Wade said.

"I think one of the main reasons we want to do this is because most people don't really know the whole process of making a loaf of bread like ours, so just to see the amount of care and time we're taking to make each loaf," Wade said.

And how much time is that? Sixty hours, start to finish, for one loaf of sourdough, he said.

Here are a few more Publican Quality Bread facts to chew on:

• There are eight bakers on staff.

• Each week, the bakery makes 500 loaves of sourdough, 200 loaves of multigrain and 700 baguettes.

• The bakery makes 4,000 loaves each week for One Off's various restaurants, which include Blackbird, Dove's Luncheonette and Nico Osteria.

• One loaf of its multigrain bread weighs three pounds.

Bread geeks will get a rare behind-the-scenes look at Publican Quality Bread, 808 W. Lake St., on June 27. [DNAinfo Chicago/Janet Rausa Fuller]

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