This story originally appeared on Fork in the Road.
John Melngailis, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland (and the father of Sarma Melngailis of Pure Food & Wine), missed the dense, dark, sourdough rye bread he ate growing up in Latvia.
When he discovered he could order loaves online directly from the Latvian capital of Riga, he reconnected with the bread of his childhood. Four years ago, he began importing loaves and selling them to his local Whole Foods, yet when grain costs spiked and the dollar slumped, this became cost-prohibitive. Melngailis knew he needed to find a baker who could undertake the arduous, 36-hour baking process Stateside. A search led him to Brooklyn, where he located a small baker (whose identity Melngailis would rather not reveal) willing to learn the authentic method, which involves leavening the dough in wooden troughs and baking the loaves in a wood-fired oven.
Read the rest of the story on Fork in the Road.