UConn Magazine: Rise Up

Breaking bread is about more than just eating

Jessica Larkin-Wells '19 (CLAS) holds loaves of sourdough bread while standing outdoors at Spring Valley Student Farm on Aug. 16, 2021. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“On Saturday night, we rake the coals in the oven to spread them evenly across the oven floor, and then close the door,” says Jessica Larkin-Wells ’19 (CLAS) of her side hustle baking bread at a pizzeria after it closes. “Because it’s wood fired, and because it’s a very well insulated oven, it maintains its heat the next day, so we don’t have to add any energy; it’s already hot.”

A sociology graduate, Larkin-Wells honed her abilities as a breadmaker through UConn’s Sustainable Community Food Systems minor — a unique and intensive interdisciplinary program that combines theory and practice through service learning and hands-on experience with community partners.

“When I can make a really big loaf of bread for a group of people and know that it’s all going to get eaten that day, it’s all going to get eaten fresh — that’s my favorite kind of bread to make,” she says.

Read on for more.