Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clay Oven Bread at Enfin Farms near Cape May Point, AKA The Bread Line

Who would have predicted that forty to fifty people would show up every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning in record-breaking heat and humidity to buy bread? Well they do. Elizabeth Degener bakes an assortment of breads, muffins, and biscuits in her wood-fired clay oven and sells them at her roadside stand just down the street from Sunset Beach near Cape May Point. She has lived in different places around the globe and assimilated exotic techniques into her bread recipes and techniques. Locals and visitors alike have gone crazy for this bread and start lining up by 9:30 on each morning that bread is scheduled.

The front of the line approaches the bread stand.
The first time I visited the Bread Line, I felt a little silly getting there a half hour before the bread was scheduled to arrive, but I was third in line. The people in front and immediately behind were a mix of locals and visitors, bread veterans and rookies. The nice bread vet behind me explained the protocol to me: at 10:00 sharp, a pick-up truck backs down the driveway with the bread in baskets in the back. arrives, Elizabeth would sets up the various baskets and their little net tents. There are brown loaf-shaped signs announcing the bread varieties available. Small loaves are $3.50 and large are $6.00. Each customer gets their own time with Elizabeth: tell her what you want and she will bag it up or tell you where to grab it from if it's closer to the customer side. (The loaves look very similar to the naked eye.)

Arriving early and securing a place at the front of the line ensures that you will get your first choices. I chose Rosemary & Thyme, Black Pepper and Olive Oil, and Roasted Garlic loaves on my first visit, and I tried one of the muffins with all sorts of stuff including chocolate chips. I was keeping a count on that first visit. When it was my turn to approach the stand, there were 22 people and three dogs in line. After I purchased my bread and turned around, there were at least 35 souls waiting. There were bikes everywhere. On my last visit, the line stretched all the way back to the street and over to the lighthouse sign, and I estimate about fifty people. It attracts attention: people riding by in cars or on bicycles call out to learn what is going on and how the bread is. Everyday by noon there is a sign announcing the bread is sold out. It's a phenomenon!

The end of the Bread Line
The bread is very good, especially in the first few hours. I've eaten mine on the beach, in the car driving home, with meals, and just as a snack. It's a treat.

My last Rosemary & Thyme loaf: Hurry, it's almost gone!

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