Meet Kevin. He is the man who made the scales fall from my eyes with his from-scratch brown sugar. Kevin, along with his wife Melissa, owns and operates Five Points Bakery. If you haven't heard about Five Points, I am surprised. Though only a year old, its all-local all-the-time ethos and delicious baked goods have put it on the regional culinary map in a big way. While others may speak about the local food movement, Kevin and Melissa have taken the concept to heart by seeking out local grain farmers, milling all of their own grain, seeking out rare, heirloom and ancient grains from the U.S. and Canada and crafting delicious, healthy and infinitely nutritious breads and baked goods. What many of you may not realize is that, despite our region being home to over 7,500 farms, grain farmers typically sell their harvest for animal feed or other industrial uses. If you ask, Kevin and Melissa can tell you the stories of how excited these farmers were by the idea that people would actually eat their efforts.
But let's get back to the sugar. When I realized that Five Points was making their own brown sugar, I felt as if I had discovered someone who was making their own air. How did he do it, and what made him decide to try? I had to know, so I asked. "Originally, we could not find organic brown sugar in bulk and felt stuck. But I went to a wheat conference in NYC and took the same train as Eli, who is from the Small World Bakery out of Rochester. They also get grains from some of the same farmers, mill them and bake bread, so we shared secrets, and one of the things he shared with me was his recipe for brown sugar."
"So I got home and bought 60 lbs of organic blackstrap molasses (which is made in Dayton OH). I personally love blackstrap molasses, and drank it mixed with hot water for years, but that is another story. The brown sugar it made was unbelievable. I mean when you open a jar of our brown sugar, you get punched in the face with the smell of it. After that I just tweeked the recipe a little to get the flavor we like the best."
Kevin's reaction to the recipe, was exactly the same as mine, "When he said, '...mix one tablespoon molasses with one cup sugar', I nearly lost it laughing. I mean really? That's it? And this is one of my favorite parts of making your own brown sugar. If you are making dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar...add more molasses!"
Homemade brown sugar can be sprinkled on oatmeal or cereal, and works well in the many cookie and bread recipes that call for it. Five Points Bakery offers shoppers freshly milled flours and grains from local farmers in bulk, in addition an assortment of local, groceries like fresh eggs, butter, lard, cheese, yogurt, molasses, meats and, of course, brown sugar. Additionally, delicious baked goods, wholesome breads, coffee and tea are available. I find that the shop feels a little like a turn-of-the-century general store; I love it and my kids do too. Stop in soon.
Homemade Brown Sugar
1 cup sugar
1 - 2 tbsp black strap molasses
Combine; adjust ratio to match your personal preference. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.
Five Points Bakery
426 Rhode Island Street
Buffalo, NY 14213