They share their Bread Obsession

Durum levain loaves from Bread Obsession.
Durum levain loaves from Bread Obsession.handout

The expression “when one door closes, another door opens” could be Varda Haimo’s motto. When the Lexington resident lost her job in the financial industry in 2008, she turned to her passion: bread baking. Reading books and websites, she honed her skills and in 2013 started selling her breads out of her home and at farmers’ markets. Now she runs the wholesale company Bread Obsession with business partner Joan Forman, also from Lexington. They bake out of a Waltham kitchen and weekly turn out 500 deeply flavored, artisanal baguettes and hearth loaves, plus hundreds of rolls and bagels, and sell them to retailers and restaurants and at farmers’ markets. Rustic baguettes have a thin, crackly crust and are light and fluffy inside; the deep mahogany durum levain, made with the flour used for pasta, has a rich yellow crumb and a creamy flavor; sunflower seeds are generously scattered over a thick-crusted multigrain bread; tangy sourdough is studded with Kalamata olives. Haimo and Forman also bake traditional darkly crusted, hearty German-style rye breads they ferment for hours, fruit breads, and challah. “I spent years thinking about what makes good bread,” says Haimo. These breads are truly the staff of life. Available for $4.50 to $8 at Pemberton Farms Marketplace, 2225 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-491-2244; Dave’s Fresh Pasta, 81 Holland St., Somerville, 617-623-0867; Bermans Fine Wines & Spirits, 55 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, 781-862-0515; Apex Wine & Spirits, 46 Bedford St., Lexington, 781-860-9463; or go to www.bread-obsession.com.

Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at atrieger@comcast.net.