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Photo by Jimena Peck

Meet Moxie Bread Co’s Andy Clark

The Front Range grain king is feeding his community and helping Colorado farmers grow more heirloom grains.

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Sit still? Andy Clark rarely sits down.

Clark is the owner of five-year-old Moxie Bread Co, a bakery and coffee-shop in Louisville, and proprietor of the Mill Site, a new wholesale and retail grain mill in north Boulder. Before March 16, when Colorado culinary outlets were closed to in-house dining, Clark’s days were full enough. He would begin by baking farmhouse loaves, croissants, and cookies (see recipe, below)—all made with organic heirloom wheat—with his crew at Moxie. Then he’d run over to the Mill Site to meet with partners like Richard Pecoraro of Boulder’s Abbondanza Organic Seeds & Produce to plan out which flours, grains, and beans he would sell to home cooks from the Mill Site’s retail shop. Next, he might visit a local farm to discuss planting heirloom wheat on unused land. All before helping his three boys (ages seven, 10, and 12) with their homework.

Photo by Jimena Peck

By late April, the Mill Site’s wholesale operations had fully launched and Clark was grinding blue tinge emmer, Rouge de Bordeaux winter wheat, and Tibetan hulless barley—using a 1917 grain mill he found on Craigslist—to make flour for local restaurants (including Denver’s Dio Mio and Stowaway Kitchen). “People want flour and bread now more than ever,” Clark says, “so we trained our baristas to bake and have increased daily production from 250 to 400 loaves.”

Other new allies include Boulder’s Shambhala Publications and Roost Books. Use the code “MOXIE30” to buy The Tassajara Bread Book through Shambhala’s website at a 30 percent discount, or order your copy directly from Moxie and Clark will add it to your pickup order. “It’s exciting to see the best in people come out,” Clark says, “as we make do with what we’ve got.”

Clark’s wife, Phillippa, is fulfilling online orders from Louisville residents herself, delivering Moxie’s breads and pastries, whole bean coffee, flours, yeast, and newly introduced prepared meals such as chicken pot pie. (Ask nicely and Clark will throw in a free sourdough starter, too.)

Clark’s work with the Colorado Grain Chain, a nonprofit intent on expanding and promoting locally grown heirloom grains, is also reaping results. In mid-March, Clark bought 9,000 pounds of organic wheat and barley. What he’s not planning to mill himself he gave to area farmers: 2,000 pounds went to chef-farmer Eric Skokan (Black Cat Farm Table Bistro, Bramble & Hare) to cook and plant. Clark is also looking for a partner to grow some of the grain at Longmont’s Sunflower Farm on 40 acres that previously were dormant. Clark doesn’t like to let much sit still.

Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies from Moxie Bread Co. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

Moxie Bread Co’s Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Moxie’s baked goods are always made using heirloom-grain flours, so consider getting your hands on some to make these chewy cookies. For the best results and flavor, owner Andy Clark also refrigerates his cookie dough overnight, which fully hydrates the dough. Use whatever type of chocolate chips or chunks you like best.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

14 Tbs. (7 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (130 g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups chocolate chips

  1. Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. If you are baking the cookies right away, heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held electric mixer), beat the butter and sugars, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes after reaching medium-high. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl and beaters as necessary.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low until combined, then beat on medium-high until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer bowl and beat on low speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low until evenly dispersed.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 2 hours or up to 2 days; you can also scoop the dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
  6. When ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 300 degrees. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough at least 2 inches apart onto two parchment-lined sheet pans. Bake, rotating and swapping the pans halfway through, until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let sit on racks for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely. To keep the cookies chewy, store them in an airtight container with a slice of bread.

 

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