For the 10th year, bread fiends from all over the country will gather in Skowhegan this month for the annual Kneading Conference, sponsored by the Maine Grain Alliance.

The Maine Grain Alliance works to preserve “grain traditions,” from milling to artisanal bread-baking. The conference brings together farmers, bakers, chefs, researchers and others interested in growing, milling and baking local grains.

This year’s conference will be held July 28-29 at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds and features more than 50 workshops. Food, including several farm-to-table meals, is included in the $325 cost. Preregistration and prepayment are required.

The keynote speaker will be Amy Halloran, author of “The New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf” (Chelsea Green, 2015). Workshops include “Building an Earthen Oven,” “Beginner Techniques for the Home Baker” and “Artisan Techniques for Wood-fired Baking.”

Speakers include food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who will talk about pasta, and representatives from Allagash Brewing, Rising Tide Brewing, Bigelow Brewing and Blue Ox Malthouse, who will discuss “The Rise of Local Grains in Maine’s Craft Beer. For a complete schedule, go to

The conference will be followed on July 30 by the annual Artisan Bread Fair, which is free and open to the public, and also at the fairgrounds. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., attendees can buy artisan bread and related products from more than 60 vendors, watch wood-fired oven demonstrations and speak with professional bakers.

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