Tucked away in the wooded Keller Bend community of Knox County, Patra Rule makes her home at a place she calls Hillside Bakery. "A baker keeps really weird hours so I'm out here day and night," said Rule.
The process to making naturally leavened breads is a lengthy one. It all begins with a machine that mixes the flour and water.
"Bread is, it's got a lot of different properties, textures, tastes and good bread is hard to find," Rule explained.
Her passion for baking bread began in graduate school. "I became very fascinated with sour dough or natural leavened because it's very different than yeasted bread."
She studied books and learned all she could about bread before attending San Francisco Baking Institute. Since then she's become a member of the Bread Maker's Guild and making bread has become more than just a hobby, but a business.
"I love bread and I love watching people when they eat good bread," Rule said.
For Rule, good bread begins with certified organic ingredients. "Everything we do is scratch, we're a scratch bakery which means we don't buy anything pre made or mixed."
The grains used for the breads are stone milled right at the bakery. "Our specialty is natural leavened or sour dough breads and whole grains." "All of our breads are what you would call slow breads," she says. "They take time."
Hillside Bakery breads usually keep four to seven days and can even be frozen.
"We prefer to eat them fresh of course," Rule stated.
Like any good bakery, Rule says you have to have more than just one good product. Her five varieties of granola are made with oats, seeds, olive oil and barley malt, and then are slow roasted in their masonry oven.
"We've made granola really from the beginning, it's been wildly popular."
It looks like Rule's love for baking and bread is a recipe for success.
Hillside Bakery is at Laurel Church of Christ, 3457 Kingston Pike at Cherokee Blvd. every Friday and Tuesday 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and at Jackson Square in Oak Ridge every first and third Saturday at 8 a.m. until sell out. For more information on Hillside Bakery visit their website at www.hillside-bakery.com