Bread with Soul
Tusk started out in 2016 as a small bakery and cafe on a corner in the Badawi neighbourhood in Beirut. From the beginning, we have made bread the traditional, slow way: natural sourdough culture and long fermentation, aiming for great flavour and high nutritional value. After a year in business, the bakery moved and grew into its current premises in Mar Mikhael. Above the basement bakery is our small shop where you can find our bread, pastries and sweet treats as well as freshly ground coffee, sandwiches and cold drinks.
From the beginning we have focused on two goals. The first is to give people well made bread that is easily digestible and nutritionally enriching. For us this means relying on natural sourdough fermentation. This long process - it takes us two days to make each batch of bread - unlocks the full nutritional potential of wheat and begins to break down those elements in bread (most famously the protein compound gluten) prior to digestion.
The second goal is to use our bakery as a means to support the work of farmers and producers in Lebanon. We try as much as possible to source our ingredients locally – fruit, vegetables, eggs, sweeteners, dairy, meat, seeds and grains. Our lemon poppyseed cake is a great example, combining the delicious organic lemons of our friend and supplier Ghassan Salman in Adloun with organic butter from Nabatiyeh and organic eggs from Jrebta. Because of a lack of quality bread wheat in Lebanon, we currently use mostly imported wheat, but are encouraging several farmers to grow ancient, ‘peasant’ varieties of wheat by guaranteeing them a market for their harvest.
All the different breads and pastries we make start with a small piece of what we call the ‘mother’ – a mix of water and freshly milled whole flour that carries all the organisms that bring our doughs to life: a few different strains of wild yeast as well as bacteria that produce lactic acid and acetic acid. These three are the main elements responsible for driving the fermentation process, giving bread its fantastic flavour and texture and making it much easier to digest than conventional bread. A hugely important part of the baker’s job is managing this fermentation process, putting to use all of their skill and experience to attain optimum taste, texture, nutrition and digestibility.
Our sweet baking focuses on classics as well as modern twist. Plenty of wholegrain wheat flour as well as alternative flours (barley, rice, buckwheat etc.) find their way into our cakes and pastries, and we favour local ingredients as much as we can.
At the bakery shop you can find big rustic country breads, Italian-style focaccia, crusty baguettes, and Northern European-style rye breads. Try our sourdough wholewheat croissants, unique (so far) in Lebanon, and try not to get addicted to our signature Tusk Cookie.