Jason Raducha and Claudio Urciuoli of Noble Bread: "We're Making It the Hardest Way Possible"
Jason Raducha and Claudio Urciuoli
Lauren Saria Claudio Urciuoli (left) and Jason Raducha of Noble Bread.
Artisan bread is hot right now. But for the guys behind Noble Bread, it's not about the trend. It's about reconnecting to the way things used to be done, using a stone hearth and stone-ground heritage grains to make naturally leavened bread of a quality that's rarely seen today.
Read part two of this interview here.
The two halves of this small-scale baking operation are Jason Raducha and Claudio Urciuoli, who have been friends for more than half a decade. They went into the baking business together about a year ago, after Urciuoli stepped down from his role as executive chef of Noca in Phoenix. Before the duo joined forces Raducha had already launched Noble Bread after running a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for a wood fired mobile bread oven.
Courtesy of Noble Bread A loaf of Noble Bread.
It was ovens that originally got Raducha into the baking business. Though he used to be an IT guy, he says he always had a passion for the culinary arts and used to buy wood burning ovens and sell them to friends and acquaintances. That passion project led to his involvement in importing Italian food products, which is how he met Urciuoli, who was working at Prado at the time.
Back then it was all about pizza, at least for Raducha, who was using the wood burning ovens to cook at home. And though the focus has now switched to bread, Rachucha and Urciuoli -- who added pizza to the menu at Noca while he was executive chef there -- still keep their hands in the pizza game from time to time. Just last week Noble hosted a pizza party at Maya's Farm in Phoenix. They do catering gigs, too, when there's a demand.
These days Raducha and Urciuoli are making between 700 and 800 loaves of Noble Bread every week. They sell artisan breads at local farmers markets, as well directly to local restaurants including Scottsdale's FnB. And believe it or not, they're still baking out of Raducha's 600-square-foot garage, which houses the massive French deck oven they use now.
Each time Raducha and Urciuoli bake they make three different types of bread. The selection always includes their Country Loaf, the bread for which the bakery is most well-known (though Urciuoli likes to point out that it's a very traditional style of loaf that's been made for generations). The other loaves will change just about every bake but tend to be made from alternative grains.
There are several things that set a loaf of Noble Bread -- be it Country Loaf or one of their more specialty varieties -- apart from what you'll find everywhere else.
"We're making it the hardest way possible," says Raducha.