Now Open: Brimfield Bread Oven

We first told you about Brimfield Bread Oven (3956 Rt. 43, 330-790-1887), the region’s first wood-fired bakery, back in October of this year when owners Jud and Genevieve Smith were knee-deep into the design-build phase of their new European-style bakery and café.

Hard at work since they got the keys last spring, the owners officially will cross the finish line tomorrow at 7 a.m., at which time the doors will swing open to welcome the first paying customers.

"It’s hard to believe how much this space has transformed since we started working on it last summer,” says Jud. “It seems appropriate though, like it was meant to be a bakery all along. My memory of what it looked like before doesn't even feel real somehow. It took a long time, and the hard work of many people, but we're finally ready to open the doors!"

Located just outside of Kent, Brimfield Bread Oven specializes in naturally leavened breads featuring locally sourced grains baked using heat generated exclusively from wood. Unlike a wood-fired pizza oven that is continually fed to maintain high temperatures, bread ovens take advantage of the temperature swings that come from infrequent fuelings.

“We’ll be baking on the curves, which means baking everything that loves hot first and then, as the oven gradually cools, getting into the bigger, slower breads,” Genevieve explains. “For example, baguettes, pretzels, focaccia and flatbreads love the heat and they bake real fast.”

Setting this bakeshop apart from all the rest is the wood-fired masonry oven that was hand built onsite. The 20-ton beast features 54 square feet of deck space on which to bake breads, pastries, and, Wednesdays through Saturdays evenings, pizzas. In addition to breads, pastries, pizzas and coffee, the 2,600-square-foot shop eventually will offer sandwiches. There is seating for about 16.

Both Jud and Genevieve have been baking for years. Jud began his career at Great Lakes Baking Company in Hudson before heading off to the well-regarded King Arthur Flour Bakery in Vermont, where he worked as a bread baker for two and a half years. Genevieve soon joined him, working for more than a year as a pastry chef. After returning back to Northeast Ohio, Jud worked at Blackbird Baking Company in Lakewood.

After relocating to Brimfield, which is 10 minutes from downtown Akron, the couple launched a cottage bakery business from their home. Using a small mobile wood-fired oven, they produced breads for sale at farm markets and through the Kent Natural Foods Coop.

Some of the products that will fill Brimfield's baking displays include Baguettes, Country Sourdough, German Sourdough Rye, Olive and Herb Focaccia, Pullman Bread, Pepperoni Rolls, Blueberry Lemon Scones, and Cherry Almond Scones.

Brimfield is open Wednesdays to Fridays 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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