AUGUSTA — Artisan baker Jim Amaral said he’s made millions of loaves of bread in his career, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that he made bread with an ingredient he had never used before.

“I wanted a bread unique to Maine,” Amaral said of his creation that uses Maine-harvested seaweed and locally grown grains. “I’m sure a baker in Iowa or Kansas City isn’t going to think of making a bread with seaweed.”

Amaral showed more than two dozen people how to make his potato dulse bread Wednesday afternoon during a Maine Agricultural Trades Show demonstration at the Augusta Civic Center. He cautioned everyone that he was using a convection oven, which he said was the worst possible oven for making bread, but it didn’t seem to affect the finished product.

“It was delicious,” said Monica Tofield, of Chelsea. “I love the combination of Maine products that support our local economy, and (Jim) has such innovative ideas. It’s all Maine and it’s great.”

Amaral owns Borealis Breads, known for its sourdough and pumpkin raisin breads, among many others. The company has two production facilities — one in Waldoboro and one in Wells — and a retail location in Portland. Amaral started the business 23 years ago and employs about 45 people.

Most of the people watching Amaral’s presentation said they make bread at home and have tried Borealis Breads in the past, so the guests were engaged and asked questions throughout the hourlong presentation.

Jim Rogers, of Chelsea, said he makes quite a bit of bread at home but never considered using seaweed. He loved Amaral’s offering and said he “never met a sourdough bread I didn’t like.”

The recipe uses a sourdough starter and dough that incorporates 6.5 ounces of boiled potatoes, which Amaral said is a bit tricky. He recommends using a process called autolyze to strengthen the bread without having to knead it, and then cooking it at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

“People eat with their eyes, so I want to make the bread look good,” Amaral said.

Amaral said he typically makes 6 to 20 batches of a specific recipe before getting it the way he wants it, and this one started to develop a couple of years ago.

“We took it to some farmers’ markets to get feedback, but our original recipe didn’t use potatoes,” Amaral said. “Working with potatoes is tricky, and you have to use just the right amount of seaweed. We probably sold our first batch two years ago.”

Before ending the demonstration and after passing out samples of the bread, Amaral gave the audience a sure-fire way to impress guests over the summer.

“Use this for a lobster roll and you’ll really wow everyone,” he said. “You’ve got the taste of the sea right in the dough, so it’ll go really well with the fresh Maine lobster.”

Amaral will have a chance to show off more than just this recipe to people around the world. He announced that he has an agreement with Down East Books to release “The Borealis Breads Baking Book” in the spring of 2017.

With help from chef and author Cynthia Finnemore Simonds, Amaral will share 80 to 120 recipes with readers. He said the first manuscript is due to be delivered to the publisher at the end of May.

Simonds has written several cookbooks on salads, soups and desserts and has known Amaral for more than 20 years.

“It’s really fun being inside his brain,” she said.

The Agricultural Trades Show continues Thursday at the civic center. Simonds is scheduled to participate in a Maine sea salt caramel demonstration with chocolatier Andy Wilbur at 2 p.m.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

 

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