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Local High School Guidance Counselor Is a New Face at the Monty and Hopewell Markets

By Lea Florentine l June 14, 2021

New to the Montgomery and Hopewell markets this year is Hillsborough resident Paulo Velasco, a guidance counselor at Princeton High School. He is offering naturally leavened breads and pastries made with organic grains. “I have had two passions in life: food and helping those around me,” Velasco says. He has been helping high school students in Princeton since 2007.

Bread and Culture loaves for sale at Hopewell Farmers Market

He began his Bread and Culture bakery one year ago, selling his products at the Stangl Factory Farmers’ Market in Flemington. “Customers would line up early in the morning to buy our croissants and muffins,” he says.

The Rutgers University graduate, who also earned a master’s degree in counseling from Kean University, says he has always loved to cook savory dishes. “Becoming a dad really made me pay attention to the food my children were consuming,” he says. “Baking really wasn’t my thing ... until I experimented with making sourdough bread.” “Just before a winter break from school three years ago, we were asked to share something we were looking forward to doing during break. I vividly recall saying, ‘I am finally going to make sourdough bread.’”

He found “starter” from a local baker, using all of it for that first loaf. Realizing his mistake, he made his own starter from fermented grapes, and still uses it today. “I love the idea behind sourdough bread,” he says. “I remain fascinated by the reality of tiny little microbes that come together to give you sustenance and just really good bread.”

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Bread and Culture will offer four to five different items every week at the Montgomery and Hopewell markets. Breads will include Teo’s bread, named after Velasco’s son, Matteo; country loaf; olive and polenta; and fruit and nut. Croissants to be offered are almond – which Velasco says is “filled with a delicious almond cream;” chocolate; and ham and cheese. Muffins include Morning Glory; blueberry; pumpkin; and carrot. “You can use our bread to make savory and sweet treats, such as French toast,” he says. “I am happily embracing the opportunity to offer bread to the community.”

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