Pioneer Valley Bread House Welcomes Autumn with Community Baking

Pioneer Valley Bread House Connects Community

Bread House gatherings are centered around, but not limited to bread-making. While the bread rises and bakes, bread-makers enjoy conversations, story-telling, and other creative activities. One of the goals of the PVBH is to stimulate community engagement with issues vital to our towns – issues of food, health, local resources, sustainability, and intercultural dialogue.

The Pioneer Valley Bread House brings the transformative experience of communal bread-baking to Northampton, MA. On Tuesday, September 24th, from 4-6pm, bread-lovers of all ages are invited to make and share bread with others at the generously donated kitchen space of the B’nai Israel Temple (253 Prospect Street in Northampton). The event is free and open to everyone. Gluten free breads are also made.  Then on Monday, October 14th from 4-6pm, the PVBH will celebrating World Bread Day, also at the B’nai Israel Kitchens in Northampton.

The Pioneer Valley Bread House (PVBH) organizes bread-making events as fun and creative community activities. “We need joy and we knead joy,” says Nadezhda Savova, founder of the global Bread Houses Network, in a recent interview for National Geographic.

“The Breadhouse can be a vital connecting point for all members of our community. We all have something to contribute: a recipe, a story, a song, a smile, and knowledge of how to better use our local resources. You don’t have to be a baker or a talented artist. Just show up and enjoy the company of others and the creation of bread,” says Dr. Leda Cooks who is one of the co- founders of the PVBH and a University of Massachusetts Professor of Communication…

“Bread House around the world show that this is a viable model for community development and dialogue. It is both simple and revolutionary, because it relies plainly on people being together, on differences brought in and around the material and fun practices of baking and sharing bread. We hope for a similar development in the Valley,” says Lily Herakova, a co-founder of PVBH.

The PVBH is only the second Bread House in the U.S. and offers unique opportunities for local and global connections to anyone in the community. The PVBH is part of the Global Bread Houses Network and the International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C), both of which were established by Dr. Nadezhda Savova as ways and physical spaces to bring people together around the art and nourishment of something most everyone shares – bread. The organizations are also part of the larger BREAD Movement (Bridging Resources for Ecological and Art Development). The BREAD Movement has received recognition from and is connected to key world organizations, such as UNESCO, the EU, and the Slow Food Movement.

For more information visit blogs.umass.edu/breadhouse.

- Submitted by Liliana Herakova

3 Comments

  1. Tony Stavely said,

    September 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks, Lily. I have work in Keene, NH, that day and may not make it down, but I’ll follow the site for future meetings.

  2. Lily said,

    September 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Hello Tony,

    This is Lily, one of the PVBH organizers. On Tuesday, we’ll be making challah dough to leave for B’Nai Israel. We will also be making a number of quick breads – sweet ones, as well as a traditional baking soda bread from Bulgaria (it’s my mom’s recipe actually). The bread methodology is based on a simple idea – we need a few simple ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water) and each other to create a meaningful and nourishing experience. We’ve made plain yeast bread before, as well as a number of other yeast-based breads. You can see blogs.umass.edu/breadhouse for photos and recipes. A Bread House meeting lasts 2 hours (it will be from 4 to 6 pm this time around), which is enough to mix, let rise, and bake a simple yeast bread, and is, of course, plenty of time for soda-based breads. Bread-making for us is about bringing people together, sharing stories and experiences as we share bread, it’s a different vision of artisanal altogether… Hope that helps.

  3. Tony Stavely said,

    September 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    A batch of bread takes about 18 hours the way I do it. Other durations are possible of course. How long will this meeting be and what sort of bread-making is envisioned?


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