If you have followed our blog, you know that we are fond of finding and sampling local food dishes. A few days ago we moved up from Lone Pine to Bishop. A couple whose blog we follow, the Kruses (http://www.mytripjournal.com/thekruses) and who are also our 2011 full timing classmates sent us an email when they saw we were in the Owens Valley saying that they were both from the town of Bishop and that if we had the opportunity we should visit a bakery in Bishop.
With that kind of a recommendation, we had to give it a try. The name of the place is Eric Schat’s Bakkery and their specialty is sheepherder’s bread. This bread is believed to have its origins in the Basque region of Spain and France. Basques emigrated to the US, some to become sheepherders and brought the recipe for this bread with them. Schat’s has been making sheepherder bread since 1907 and trademarked it 1938. The bakery currently produces over 25,000 loaves of all kinds of bread a day and is a favorite of both locals and those Southern Californians who come to play in the mountains above the Owens Valley.
Sheepherder bread is a fairly simple bread that has a bit of the texture and consistency of sourdough. If you want to give it a try, we found the following recipe: http://www.buber.net/Basque/Food/Recipes/bread.html
We are camped at the fairgrounds in Bishop. They are making preparations for their upcoming Mule Days, their annual festival celebrating the mule. We read, “Among mule days, Bishop Mule Days has been described as the Granddaddy of them all.” They expect more than 700 mules and as many as 30,000 people to participate. We likely will be gone from this area when the festival begins, but it looks like it would be a lot of fun.