Edgar Cuarezma started making bread as a hobby 10 years ago when he lived in San Francisco. It became a side appearance where he delivered bread by bike. A winding road led him and his young family to Milwaukee, where baking is now his main job. It’s still his side appearance too.
Amano, its pop-up selling Wisconsin grain bread, will be available on Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Zócalo Food Park, 636 S. Sixth St. Pre-orders will be accepted until Friday evening at cashdrop.biz/amanopan or at cashdrop.biz / zocalo, but he plans to have extra sandwiches on hand for impromptu buyers.
Amano will be in the annex at the back of the food park that houses Ruby’s Bagels.
Cuarezma, who has been selling his sandwiches for pick-up through his website amanopan.com for some time, hopes to return to Zócalo regularly after the event this weekend.
The ground flours he uses are sourced from Wisconsin growers including Meadowlark Organics and Meuer Farm, and Amano’s dough is leavened with a wild yeast starter instead of commercial yeast.
“It’s a slower, more natural way of fermenting your bread,” said Cuarezma. The long rise, or fermentation, of 20 hours of sourdough is known to make bread more digestible and develop flavor – taste that isn’t necessarily that sour, he noted.
It takes him three days in total to prepare the loaves, from the time he mixes the levain or fortified appetizer until they are baked.
The breads are handmade, which is what the name of the bakery refers to – a mano in Spanish means by hand, and Cuarezma, whose family is from Nicaragua, grew up in Miami and speaks Spanish. (Cuarezma loves Japanese culture, and Amano also happens to be the name of his favorite Japanese artist, and the word means sky field in Japanese, a reminder of grain fields.)
Amano will be selling at least four types of bread for $ 5 to $ 6 on Sunday. This is a lower price than usual when handcrafting breads with local or organically ground stone grains. But Cuarezma said it was important to him to make bread more accessible.
One of the breads consists of 50% rye and wheat. Cuarezma doesn’t add caraway seeds or fillers to the dough.
“I’m just really trying to bring out the real taste of the grain,” he said of the rye bread. “It’s actually one of my favorite breads. The way it caramelizes, the smells out there.”
Another bread in the pop-up is made with 30% spelled, the ancient grain related to wheat that has a nutty flavor, and the third is made with 30% einkorn, another ancient wheat ratio.
The fourth bread is a country-style all-wheat sourdough that sold out quickly when pre-ordered.
After Cuarezma made his first self-taught breads in San Francisco – sharing the ones he couldn’t eat and then selling the extra breads – he decided to pursue a career.
His first back job was at Arizmendi, the San Francisco bakery cooperative. He also worked for six months in a small, high-end bakery in Seattle and in the Spanish Basque Country, where he helped set up a baking cooperative at Arizmendi’s request.
He next worked at a modern bakery in Miami, where he and his wife’s family are from. However, when he and his wife wanted cheaper housing, a family member mentioned Milwaukee. Cuarezma got a job at Troubadour Bakery in spring 2018 and has been there ever since. He made croissants and pastries first, then bread during the pandemic.
Baking bread at work led him to make his own breads for pleasure and then for sale. Although he hopes to open his own bakery one day, he is now taking one step at a time, Cuarezma said.
Amano posts updates at instagram.com/amano_pan.
Contact restaurant reviewer Carol Deptolla at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 224-2841 or through the Journal Sentinel Food & Home page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @mkediner or Instagram @mke_diner.
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