Cafe Society

Steve Scott, owner-baker of Babettes: "Our bread is not burnt; it's well caramelized"

Page 3 of 4

After four years of intense volume and production at CU, Scott was hired as the bread production supervisor for Udi's Artisan Bakery in Louisville. "That bakery is the equivalent of a finishing school for bakers, and it was a great opportunity," explains Scott, who also headed up the wholesale bread department at the Mediterranean, increasing the Boulder restaurant's accounts from three to 25 in four months.

And he might still be there were it not for a call from Andra Zeppelin, editor of Eater Denver and wife of Source developer Kyle Zeppelin. "Andra had tasted my bread, and in the fall of 2012, she reached out and encouraged me to take a look at the space and open a bakery," he recalls. It didn't take much coaxing on the part of the Zeppelins to convince Scott to commit. "The bakery is all mine, I make all the decisions, I'm not making anyone else's formulas, and there's no compromise in quality. Our breads are 100 percent artisan, handmade products made by me, and I'm baking breads that I truly want to make," says Scott, who in the following interview responds to critics who describe his bread as "burnt," admits that he'd like to sell bread to Anthony Bourdain, and insists that Alex Figura, chef of Lower 48, could very well be the best chef in the United States.

Lori Midson: What's your earliest food memory? Steve Scott: Julia Child's beef Bourguignon. As a child, I spent many hours watching PBS, and when I was about ten, I was so intrigued by Julia's beef Bourguignon that I asked my mom to buy all of the ingredients. I followed Julia's instructions exactly, and that's when I had my first truly enjoyable meal.

Ten words to describe you: Intense, passionate, driven, uncompromising, dedicated, married, silly, exhausted, opinionated and passionately angry. You have to be angry to do this at a high level; you have to have the raw emotions. You're working with three simple ingredients, so you can't fucking hide behind anything.

Five words to describe your breads: Complicated, well-hydrated, well-fermented, handmade and transparent.

What are your ingredient obsessions? Whole wheat is super-important to me. It has to be grown by a farmer who is actually concerned with sustainable practices. It has to be stone-milled, manufactured properly, aged appropriately and delivered in a sustainable manner.

Favorite piece of kitchen equipment: My hands. I can touch the flour, mix the dough, react to fermentation as it's progressing and judge when the mix is ready to be divided and mixed.

Favorite smell in the kitchen: Fermented flour. The flavor of well-fermented grain is sweet, creamy and earthy, and can only truly be enjoyed through the natural leavening process of long fermentation with minimal mechanical mixing.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson