The Winston-Salem, N.C. club’s comprehensive bread program caters to members’ tastes and preferences.
Bread is the staff of life, and more clubs are paying closer attention to the breads they serve to their members. Such is the case at Forsyth Country Club (Winston-Salem, N.C.), where the newly appointed Pastry Chef, Cody Middleton, is in the process of creating a bread program for the club’s 975 members based on quality and freshness.
“We currently offer an eclectic combination of fresh-baked breads,” says Middleton, who was previously a teaching assistant with Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, N.C. “One of our most cross-utilized and versatile breads is a focaccia that we ferment overnight. We serve it as part of our a la carte bread basket, for select banquet events and with some of our artisanal sandwiches and paninis.”
In addition to the focaccia, Forsyth CC’s bread basket includes a traditional soft roll, mini-muffins, a lavash-style cracker, and a signature babka.
“Our herb-parmesan lavash is rolled paper-thin by hand—so I get my workout in whenever I make it,” laughs Middleton, whose two assistants work alongside him in the club’s 50-sq.-ft. pastry shop. “Our signature pimento cheese babka starts with a bacon-fat enriched dough that is swirled with roasted red pepper and sharp cheddar cheese.”
Forsyth CC also produces pretzel rolls for sliders, as well as pain au chocolat for certain events.
“There are so many different types of breads with possible variations that it can be mind-boggling deciding what to include and where to start,” says Middleton. “A bread that is successful at one club might be a complete dud at another. So it truly takes knowing your members and hearing their feedback to narrow down the selection.”
Ingredients are also important.
“We spent a lot of time looking for a flour that would provide superior flavor and consistent baking qualities,” says Middleton. “Once we found one we liked, we began using a combination of preferments and slow fermentations to extract the wheat’s full potential.”
Consistency is key. “It doesn’t matter how great a bread is one day if it’s not up to par the next,” says Middleton. “Establishing and maintaining a dependable system is really important.”
Four months in, Forsyth CC’s breads are already a hit with members.
“We want to offer a bread selection our members can’t get anywhere else,” says Middleton, who plans to introduce classic European holiday breads like panettone at Christmas and colomba di pasqua at Easter. “By making these breads from scratch, we have the ability to customize the recipe or method of preparation to align with our members’ tastes and desires.”
Moving forward, Forsyth CC plans to elevate the program by incorporating compound butters and infused oils that harmonize with the different flavor profiles within the breads.
“Some breads are meant to stand on their own,” says Middleton. “In those cases, proper attention to the production of the bread is all that is needed to fully withstand the most skilled palate. Other breads pair beautifully with an accompanying butter or oil—and we plan to capitalize on that as well.”