Stephen's Breads
stephen blanchard and christine burke

Our Story

Hi there, thanks for visiting! My name is Stephen Blanchard – I’m the owner/master bread maker at Stephen’s Breads. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I started making bread to learn the process and to be able to make my own bread several years ago. I made my own starter which is now about 7 years old. At the beginning I didn’t understand what was all required to end up with the loaves of bread people see in books and in bakeries. It took a lot of time, research and trial and error to get to the breads you see today. Now, I’ve turned my learning and enjoyment of bread making into a business serving the Milwaukee, WI area!

Keeping It Local

I locally source all the grain that goes into the bread from farms in Wisconsin and Illinois, specifically Anarchy Acres, Janie’s Mill and Meadowlark Organics. All my breads are naturally leavened which means they are considered Sourdough. Every loaf of bread has a mix of Heritage Grains and Ancient Grains and they are all whole grains, every part of the wheat berry is used. Some of the flour is sifted to help lighten the bread to give it a nice rise.

Stay up to date on our bakery, farmers markets, specials, coupons, giveaways and more!

Farmers Markets

See below for the list of farmers markets we are attending this season! We will be bringing a different variety of bread each week to the markets.

Be sure to pre order on our site ahead of time for fast pick up and to ensure your bread! When checking out you can choose which market you would like to pick up. You can pre order anything on our site two days before the market, after that you can still pre order the breads we will be bringing.

Here is what we are bringing this week of 10/5:

Country Wheat
Apple Caramel
Pumpkin Spice with Sunflower Seeds
Spicy Hot Pepper with Asiago

South Milwaukee Downtown Market
Thursday, 3:00pm -7:00pm
1101 Milwaukee Ave,
South Milwaukee, WI 53172

Tosa Farmers Market
Saturday, 8:00am – 12:00pm
7720 Harwood Ave,
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Fondy Farmers Market
Saturday, 9:00am – 2:00pm
2200 W Fond Du Lac Ave,
Milwaukee, WI 53206
(Fondy Market technically starts at 7am, however we will be there at 9am)

The Process of Bread

Making bread has always been a process. It isn’t something that can be done in 30 minutes or even in an hour, when the goal is to allow the bread to ferment over the period of at least a day to develop a depth of flavor.

Bottom Left – Initial Mix, Top Right 1st Rise, Middle Right – 2nd Rise, Bottom Right – Before Scoring, Top Right – Finished

When you attempt to speed up the process all you get is underwhelming and bland bread. Bread relies on the baker to be patient and accepting of the environment that the dough is rising in. The dough will rise once and then it will be shaped and will rise a second time before it gets put into a piping hot oven. Each rise requires hours of patience, if the dough doesn’t rise long enough the end result will be flat and dense.

I started making bread to learn the process and to be able to make my own bread. At the beginning I didn’t understand what was all required to end up the loaves of bread people see in books and in bakeries. Breads that are sold at most bakeries and grocery stores have commercial yeast in them to help speed up the process and to make all the bread consistent in look and rise. It also will have the least amount of flavor because of the quick rise times. Naturally Fermented Bread(Sourdough) uses a Sourdough Starter which is wild yeast that gathered when flour and water is mixed and allows to sit out to ferment. It takes upwards of 3 weeks to have an active starter to be strong enough to allow a loaf of bread to rise. Wild Yeast also requires a lot of time to rise. It doesn’t move as fast as commercial yeast but it develops way more flavor and it lasts longer before mold forms and ruins the bread.

Left – Wheat Berries in Grain Mill, Top Right – Flour before sifting, Bottom Right – Flour after sifting

All the bread I make is with my Sourdough Starter that I have been using for over 5 years. I get my Wheat from Local Farms like Anarchy Acres, Janie’s Mill and Meadowlark Organics. Sometimes I will purchase already stone milled flour from them, other times I will purchase wheat berries, which I then mill myself to get the flour for the breads and baked goods. Flour that is milled at a local farm or at home will always be more healthy than the flour that is sold in stores. All that is removed is some of the bran of the wheat berry to help facilitate the bread to rise without being dense.

It has taken a lot of practice to have good consistent results but it is always worth it in the end. Every time a new batch of dough is started, the end result will always be a surprise. The goal is to be able to make something that others will enjoy and then all the time spent will never be disappointing.