A Baker’s Craft: The Rise of ORIGIN Breads

By Candice Wagener

Living around the world and experiencing different types of breads—and countries where bread was scarce—inspired Kirk Smock to start baking his own. After nearly two years in business, he’s still reluctant to call himself a professional baker but his ORIGIN Breads would never be considered amateur.


All the ORIGIN loaves are naturally leavened, sourdough based and stone milled. Their three core loaves—the ORIGINal, a whole grain wheat and rye mix; the Driftless, made from 100 percent whole grain and the Classic, a lighter, country-style base of whole grain wheat and bread flour—can be found at select groceries and restaurants in town.


Smock learned baking techniques from his wife, while they were living overseas. He baked to break up his day while working as a freelance writer. “I fell in love with the simplicity of it, the craft of it.” When they returned in 2016, he connected with Lonesome Stone Milling, and ORIGIN was born.


Smock aims for an educated market and focuses on creating healthy breads. He adds sourdough cultures to break down some gluten content, making the bread easier to digest. And he partners with Wisconsin producers, including Meadowlark Organics in Ridgeway. He also occasionally adds leftover grains from Working Draft Brewery for a distinct flavor.


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