Tim Giuffi, “the neighborhood bread guy,” can be found peddling his bread bike throughout South Oak Park every week — he has spent the last four years building his micro bakery business by selling sourdough subscriptions and delivering his product by bike. Now Lyman Ave. Bread is approved to become a first-time vendor at the Oak Park Farmers Market.
“The weekly delivery slots are limited to South Oak Park because I deliver by bike,” said Giuffi. “The farmers market will be the only place you can get my bread products outside of that area and those products are completely unique to Oak Park.”
Though he was reluctant to apply in the past Giuffi said courage to apply this year came from experience, product variety and increased oven capacity. Relying on a home kitchen license issued by the Village of Oak Park and cottage laws, Giuffi’s small batch bakery, Lyman Ave. Bread, has been able to expand its reach because of semi-professional bread oven with the capacity to bake two dozen sourdough loaves at a time. In addition to sourdough loaves, he is also confidently producing naturally leavened croissants, English muffins, Fougasse and baguettes.
Giuffi is the only person behind Lyman Ave. Bread; he is solely responsible for making every product. He uses locally sourced, freshly milled whole grains like Einkorn and Kamut and products are leaved using a 10 year old sourdough starter.
For the weekly market Giuffi plans to bring 150 items to start. He aims to offer standard country sourdough loaf and a second option with a rotating add-in like walnuts or sesame seeds. He will also craft sandwich loaves made in pullman pans and offer one small novelty item each week like bialys, stuffed buns or twice-baked croissants made with local butter, milk and flour.
“I plan to use the market as much as possible,” said Giuffi who was clear he cannot use cheese in his baked goods because of cottage law limitations but will experiment with fruit and nut fillings.
Eco-conscious market shoppers will appreciate that Giuffi, who does not drive, plans to bring his breads to market by bike. He will attach a trailer to his specially built bread bike and strap a table, chair and tent across the top of the bread compartment. He has been taking practice runs to the Pilgrim Church parking lot on Lake Street carrying 200 pounds of flour. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes.
Giuffi, a Brooklyn, NY native, spent years working in the Philadelphia restaurant scene before finding his way to Southeast Oak Park. He embraces his role as stay-at-home dad to eight-year-old, Nora. Nearly six years ago Giuffi started making pizza dough as a hobby to make mealtime more fun. Over time his passion for pizza making morphed into a focus on crafting artisan sourdough bread. After learning to bake the bread through 15-second Instagram videos and 18 months of trial-and-error experimentation, Giuffi, was confident he was producing a reliable sourdough round.
Today Lyman Ave. Bread boasts 26.7K Instagram followers who enjoy Giuffi’s bread photos and technique reels accompanied by musical selections by The Grateful Dead, The Flaming Lips, Phish and David Bowie. He is also working with Massachusetts based, Page Street Publications, on a book about freshly milled flour.
“When I started Lyman Ave. Bread it was all about building community for me and getting to the farmers market means I get to push that community a little farther,” said Giuffi. “Before I was hoping people would find me — now I have a place to sell every week and just want people to get some good bread.”
The Oak Park Farmers Market opens on Saturday, May 21. Please note, Lyman Ave. Bread will make its first appearance at the market on Saturday May 28. Giuffi and his bread will be at What’s Blooming on Harrison on Saturday, May 21 (11a.m. to 7 p.m.) in the Harrison Street Arts District.
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