The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I just bought a sourdough bakery

Alpine's picture
Alpine

I just bought a sourdough bakery

I lived in the S.F. Bay area and my hobby for the last ten years was making sourdough bread. I previously owned a print/copy company. I sold the printing business and spent the last 8 years doing graphics for the new home industry. The mortgage debacle effectively ended this occupation.


So, I got on Craig's List and looked for business' for sale. The owners of a sourdough bakery in Oregon had just posted their business for sale on the S.F. Bay C.L. area board only. I called, my wife and I drove up and saw a very healthy business, and we decided to buy. We sold our house, bought the bakery outright, and started makng bread with an 80 year old sourdough starter.


Unlike bakers yeast bread, the sourdough process starts three days before the bake day. Much of the starter for the bake is prepared Friday for a Monday bake, the rest prepared the Sunday before it's used. Where you want a real sour taste (like white or rye), you use a combination of "old" starter and "new" starter. If you want less sour for certain breads (like raisin/walnut or spinach/onion), you use "new" starter only.


I also discovered "fresh baked sourdough bread" is something of a misnomer, sourdough breads don't reach their full flavor potential until the following day at the earliest. So the breads are delivered to restaurants and supermarkets the morning after an afternoon bake. All bread is "guaranteed sale" so any unsold bread is picked up by the delivery driver and credited to the retail outlet. Restaurants tend to underorder and run out (we freeze part of each bake to bail them out with, they never have returns), the amount that comes back from markets is negligible. Returned regular breads become croutons that always sell out quickly; older ryes, mulitgrains, specialty breads, etc. are sold out of the front of the bakery at wholesale prices, and it's a contest among the regulars to grab their favorites before the shelves are bare.


You wouldn't believe how satisfying it is to have a hugh room with racks full of hundreds of cooling loaves of sourdough, if you love making bread, it's like heaven. Best of all, I can go in on weekends and experiment with different recipes (I'm going to try a 20 pound batch of blue cheese and walnut soon, I just haven't decided on whether to use a whole wheat or light rye base dough, extra sour or mild sour; probably a mildly sour rye with extra whole wheat flour added, won't overpower the walnuts too badly), If I'm happy with the results, I can sell them out of the front to see how they do, if well received, I can make up a label with UPC code and sell them everywhere. This is really fun.

m2scq's picture
m2scq

Wow, an 80-yr old starter.  I'm just about to start to make my first starter from the lesson posted on this site.   Good luck on your new business.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

The probability of capturing a wild yeast/lactobacillus combo in your back yard is somewhere between slim and none. Trying to make a sourdough starter from fruit or bakers yeast is an excercise in futility. Go to www.sourdo.com, buy their Italian culture package, and use the Ischia Island culture.


If I lost my commercial culture through some catastrophe, I would replace it with that one.


 

mcs's picture
mcs

I'd venture to guess that most of the people on this site with sourdough cultures have begun their starters 'from scratch' and not with a bought culture.  Even if you buy an Ischia Island culture, after a few feedings, it's a 'Corvallis Culture'.


-Mark

davec's picture
davec

I agree that sourdough cultures are actually quite simple to make.  If that were not true, novices like myself would not be successful at it.  But, as for whether an Ischia Island culture will become a Corvallis Culture over time, that seems to be a very controversial quesiton, from what I've read here and elsewhere.  I hope some knowledgeable scientist will weigh in on the question.


I'd bet that people were making bread successfully for hundreds, if not thousands of years, before someone figured out that the process could be speeded up and made more reliable by saving a bit of dough for the next bake.  I believe there are still leavened breads made completely with wild yeast from scratch, i.e. without a starter.  Injera comes to mind.


Dave

Alpine's picture
Alpine

While I agree a culture 'acclimates' to it's environment, it doesn't necessarily follow that the strains of yeast and lactobacillus mutate into something identical to the local strains. If this was true, all mushrooms in a given locale would naturally become the same genetic mushroom (yeast is a fungus in the mushroom family).


Please explain how feeding a culture in a given locale alters it's DNA, and therefore it's characteristics; this is new microbiological ground for me...and I've used several cultures, all different, in the same locale, over the years.

mcs's picture
mcs

My intent wasn't to turn your celebratory post into a scientific discussion, so for that I apologize.  I was just pointing out:
A person can certainly start their own sourdough culture on their own.  Whether or not this is of the same 'quality' as a purchased one I believe is more a matter of opinion, rather than a matter of fact. 
Since a person is going to be refreshing their culture with flour, water, and air that is unique to their particular area, their culture will be different than yours and different than the one they purchase.  Not completely different, but definitely unique to their area based on the ingredients they introduce, and the care they give it.
I'm not talking about altering DNA, I'm a baker, not a scientist. 

Alpine's picture
Alpine

In my defense, I had just sat down for the first time in 12 hours and I was less than my charming self.


Over the years I purchased several "sourdough"cultures off ebay that weren't sourdough at all. One notable yeast only culture some lady made from grapes, and she called it a sourdough culture, this culture died when fed flour only (the instructions said it needed to be fed fruit juice, a bread culture that can't survive on flour???) Another was a truly excellent Alaskan yeast only culture; again advertised as sourdough, but not sourdough.


I tried for several years to capture a sourdough culture. I captured some awesome yeast cultures, one in particular (I still have dried packets so I can recreate the strarter) was the best I've ever used...but not sourdough. I left this awesome culture sitting on my kitchen counter for months covered with cheesecloth (with regular feedings, of course), hoping it would become 'infected' with compatible lactobacillus; it never happened.


I've read so much abject nonsense about sourdough cultures, I find myself defending them. A real, excellent, stable, sourdough culture is like a pet, it's something you hope will be handed down through generations. The 80 year old culture I use is said to come from Denmark. The story has it, this same culture is being used at a Disneyland exhibit demonstrating 'How Sourdough Bread is Made'. It's probably been stolen many times over the years and is being used commercially all over the place (for all I know, I might be one of those using a stolen culture).


The point is: www.sourdo.com is a place to get REAL starters. It's a resource that should be guarded by the sourdough community like a public trust or bank. Beginners should start with a known base before trying to 'create their own' in my opinion.


JUST A NOTE: My doughman (a retired Oregon State University Professor), who mixes about 1000 lbs of sourdough a week, including 6 different recipes, all using the same starter, and I (I do rollout and baking); are going to take an all-day 'beginners' sourdough class this Saturday. We're hoping to pick up sourdough information relative to this area. If this teacher starts out with 'sourdough from bakers yeast', we're out of there.

crunchy's picture
crunchy

It was nice of you. Now, forgive my persistence, but I'm just trying to understand: when you say that the culture is great, but it's not sourdough, what do you mean and how do you know it? If it's been fed nothing but flour and water, is active, leavens dough well, and tastes good, why can I not assume that I have both Saccharomyces exiguus and Lactobacillus in my starter? Neither of those organisms is endemic to any particular region (but different strains of each may be prevalent in different areas). So what makes a starter I buy from somebody special, unless they culture it in a lab? Again, I'm not being combative, just inquisitive. I'm not a microbiologist but do have a scientific background.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'd walk, too, if told to add baker's yeast to flour and water to create "sourdough."


That said, I don't understand the rationale in claiming that those who have mixed flour and water to produce a sourdough starter which consistently raises their bread and creates an enjoyable tangy taste haven't created a "real" starter.  By whose standards?


Perhaps it's just a matter of semantics or misunderstanding. 


I do hope that your sourdough class is all that you wish it to be, and that you'll share photos of the crust and crumb of the breads you bake and sell.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Consistently raising bread is the job of yeast...lactobacillus doesn't raise bread, it only creates lactic and acidic acids.


I can tell you this, when you have apprenticed with real sourdough starters, you KNOW when a lactobacillus is or isn't present.


I can also tell you the mello sour taste in yogurt and sour cream is the result of lactic acid, the sour of acidic acid is the 'in your face' taste of vinegar. If both are not present in your bread, no matter how good, it isn't sourdough.


When it comes to getting serious about sourdough cultures, I can lead you to water, but I can't make you drink. In my opinion, if you brewed your own sourdough culture, you've almost certainly never worked with a real sourdough culture. If by some highly improbable quirk of fate, you actually produced a good sourdough culture, it's criminal to not prove it out and share this unbelievably rare creation with the rest of us.


 

crunchy's picture
crunchy

I've made several starters myself, using nothing but flour and water, and had absolutely no trouble. I'm nothing but an amateur, yet my sourdough breads are good. So why exactly are those chances slim to none?

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Capturing a yeast only culture using flour and water is fairly simple. A wild yeast culture is not a sourdough culture. I've captured some yeast only cultures that made some of the best non-sourdough bread I've ever tasted...but these were not sourdough cultures. My inclination is to stop this post right here, but for the die-hards, I'll go on:


A good sourdough starter is strain(s) of yeast and strain(s) of lactobacillus living in symbiotic harmony.


First, this means they don't compete for the same nutrients in the flour (for example: bakers yeast is intended to utilize ALL nutrients in flour, and is therefore incompatible with any lactobacillus and cannot be used for sourdough).


Since the lactobacillus that provides the lactic and acidic acids that give sourdough it's sour taste are very slow acting, they need to be combined with either a slow acting yeast or the baker needs to determine the correct salt/temp combination to retard the yeast enough to allow the lactobacillus time to do it's thing.


The lactobacillis must be a strain tolerant of the alcohol yeast produces; the yeast must be tolarant of the high acidity the lactobacillus produces.


Real sourdough cultures are few and far between, many are very old.

foolishpoolish's picture
foolishpoolish

First, my congratulations on your new venture. Not a light undertaking, to be sure! It's reassuring to know that with all the economic chaos of recent months, there are still people like yourself championing true artisan values and passion for their craft.


Reading through your comments above, I am intrigued to learn what your definition of 'real sourdough culture' is. I'm surprised by the implication that it is such a rare phenomenon. Correct me if I've misunderstood, but the perceived problem with 'real sourdough' seems to be based on the notion that cultivation of lactobacilli in a flour/water environment is extremely difficult/uncommon.


Strangely, I would argue the exact opposite. It is highly unlikely (nigh on impossible) to sustain a culture of pure yeast from 'spontaneous'/natural sources through a simple flour/water feeding process. I agree that commercially available brewer/baker's yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an organism supremely adapted to fermenting sugars derived from wheat starches and, all other conditions being equal, will rapidly 'win out' over any other yeasts/bacteria present. However, there are 100s (probably 1000s) of different yeasts and lactobacillus naturally present in most environments  (and most importantly in good (untreated) flour)- the key with sourdough culture is knowing how to tap into this resource and discovering which micro-organisms fare best under the right conditions - in other words establishing a balance.


In the short time I have been culturing sourdough, I have used 3 different grains over at least 5 different cultures. All of them ended up very healthy and yielded an unmistakable lactic acid flavour (as well as acetic). Temperature, hydration, timing, food source and (very rarely) pH control rather than 'luck of the draw' are used to achieve the desired 'acid profile'. One of the main reasons why a starter from San Francisco will likely end up tasting different if nurtured in, say, Japan is not necessarily because of local flora/fauna and certainly not because of transmutation of micro-organisms. Rather, when the starter finds a new home, the balance between the organisms present in the starter shifts to favour the new conditions they find themselves under (flour, water, climate etc.)


As a side note: it's worth considering the brewing process for lambic beers  which relies on lactobacillus growth as a common and natural process occuring  from spontaneous fermentation.  (Lambic beers do not rely on any brewers yeast or any added culture in order to achieve fermentation. Its characteristic flavour owes much to the lactic acid produced by lactobacilli).


I'll be quiet now...

cdnDough's picture
cdnDough

@foolishpoolish


No need to be quiet, it was a great reply.


 


@Apine



I've read so much abject nonsense about sourdough cultures, I find myself defending them. A real, excellent, stable, sourdough culture is like a pet, it's something you hope will be handed down through generations. The 80 year old culture I use is said to come from Denmark. The story has it, this same culture is being used at a Disneyland exhibit demonstrating 'How Sourdough Bread is Made'. It's probably been stolen many times over the years and is being used commercially all over the place (for all I know, I might be one of those using a stolen culture).



Best of luck with your bakery, but your thoughts on real sourdough starter are inconsistent with most modern texts and research on the subject. There is surprisingly little/no magic involved in creating a culture and many folks on this board have done so. To suggest these are not real sourdoughs or that yours is somehow better through its Danish and Disneyland heritage is rather goofy.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

I just took a sourdough class last Saturday, the people teaching the class didn't have a clue what microorganisms were in their excellent starter. I've also read books explaining such nonsense as how to make sourdough culture from bakers yeast. Publishing information in a book doesn't automatically make it true...garbage in -- garbage out.


I didn't say my culture was "better" than any other sourdough culture, I said a really good sourdough culture is something special. The remarks about the provenance of the starter I use were anecdotal; I guess you took that part a bit too seriously.


I think it's time to drop the starter subject. The amount of misinformation about sourdough cultures circulating the internet (and in "texts") is mind-boggling. The last time I checked, two out of three eBay cultures  were yeast only. If you're not sure how to identify a sourdough culture, buy a good sourdough culture and work with it. If YOUR pet culture measures up; great.

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi, this was a delightful read! Thank you for sharing your story.... and for just up and buying a new bakery! Congrads and do please keep us all posted.... you are living the dream for a few folks here, I am sure...>g<


 


Ivy B


ny

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Alpine.


Welcome to TFL!


I gather you have a retail bakery but do most of your volume for restaurants? Where in Oregon are you located?


Did you have any real shocks going from home to commercial baking?


Looking forward to your contributions.


David

Alpine's picture
Alpine

The bakery is located in Corvallis Oregon and is 98% wholesale. Most of our sales are through supermarket chains and co-ops. My favorite customers are still restaurants, they really appreciate the quality.


The main shock was the size of the mixers and ovens, using several 50-lb bags of flour in one day takes a little getting used to (a 5-lb bag used to last me a couple of weeks).

LindyD's picture
LindyD

It's great to hear about individuals who reinvent themselves and move on to further success, and wonderful to be passionate about what you do.


Welcome!

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Your introduction was so low-key I did a double-take.  That's momentous and wonderful!  I wish you all the best, and hope you report back often.


Rosalie

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Wow! I could pay you for painting such a beautiful picture. :-)

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Congratulations, what a great adventure.  I loved reading your word picture as it is filled with enthusiasm.  Hope to hear from you regularly.


Regards,


Gavin

Alpine's picture
Alpine

We were going under due to circumstances beyond our control in the S.F. Bay area, now if we go under, it won't be without a fight. We've been informed there are many (large) stores willing to give us shelf space for our bread; the question is how far extended do I want to get in the present economy. Right now production is at 25% of capacity and generating a comfortable profit...so we'll see.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Great to hear the spirit is alive in Oregon. I appreciate hearing your enthusiastic story of taking over this business.


It would be great if you could post some photos of your products and bakery. I'm sure we would all like to see your work.


I look forward to seeing your success.


Eric

Adelphos24's picture
Adelphos24

Congratulations on taking the leap and making it work.


Looking forward to hearing and seeing a lot more from you, Alpine.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I live in Corvallis, and have been on this board for years, though I've been rather inactive for the last 8 months or so, due to work, mainly. I moved to Corvallis in Aug. 2007, and visited Alipine early last summer. It seemed that the bakery was having a tough time of it, so I'm glad the owners found an enthusiastic new owner!


 


I'll drop by sometime soon and pick up a loaf! If you'd like to have coffee and talk Corvallis, feel free to email -- jfrankmillerNOSPAM at gmail.com


(just eliminate the "nospam")


--


JMonkey (Jeff Miller)

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Their baker was letting them down, so they took control of the product. A bake day is a lot of hard work. Today, I worked from 6am to 6:30pm, non-stop without a break...I loved it.


Stop hy any time...we even serve coffee.


 

leemid's picture
leemid

nice to hear you're still alive.


Lee

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Welcome to TFL, Alpine!


That's about the coolest thing I've heard in a long time, buying your own sourdough bakery. I wish I could do that!


I love all the smells of my kitchen when I'm fermenting and baking bread, it's intoxicating to think of dough for hundreds of loaves, and the wonderful wheaty aroma of the finished product * hundreds!


I wish you awesome good luck in this adventure. Show us some pix?


Soundman (David)

countryschool's picture
countryschool

This is a great area to live and work.  I am the director of a local school (k-12).  I love to bake bread so I have stopped buying....


 


I do have some ideas for joint marketing of your products as fundraisers for the school.  When you are ready,  you can find me at the Kings Valley Charter School.


 


If you have school age kids you should find me earlier.


 


Mark

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Here in Santa Fe, one of the specialty loaves that gets a lot of play is green chile and cheddar (sometimes with pine nuts or corn kernels). Don't know how it would go in Oregon; green chile may be hard to come by (frozen, perhaps?) but you could always try jalpenos instead.


 


Good luck!


Pat

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Today we made cheddar/jalapeño loaves. I was told these small loaves, at a 50% higher price than any other bread...AND CONTAINING DAIRY PRODUCTS (Oh yucck), is a non-seller. We'll be delivering a loaf or two to both Corvallis CO-OPs just to see what happens Tuesday. I've been told they make the best tuna salad sandwiches, but I intend to try them with potato soup.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Just call the Alpine Sourdough Bakery and ask for Steve, mentioning "the Fresh Loaf" might help to jog my memory. I'm open to suggestions.

hardrockbaker's picture
hardrockbaker

sourdoughs and sourdoughs. dough.


the yeast in the alps is clearly not the same as it is in - say - florida.

kumitedad's picture
kumitedad

And when all those loaves are cooling on the rack you get to hear them "sing"  Excellent.  Sounds like the tyep of bakery my wife always envisoned for me!  where you can experiment and push the limits.  Nothing more satisfying!

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi again,


So, the bakery is going well now, I take it? I am so glad for you!  It's something I would love to do, but.........


About the sourdough, if someone can please explain something that I am getting rather confused about. I have 2 starters, one is the Amish, I use for cakes, the other a levian that I've had for a while.  Both are delightful in their own way.  The levian starter is the one that is ONLY flour and water.  I gave some to a parent (I work in a school) today, and it smelled like beer!  A good beer, I might add, and I don't even drink the stuff.  My question is, how is this not a "real" starter?  The breads I make with it are dense, wonderful crust, chewy and of a pleasing color.  Reading the above, I get the impression that I don't really have a "true" s.d. starter, but, if it walks like, sounds like and smells like, what's not "real" about it?  It is not old, as I usually let these go when the weather turns too hot, and just start a new starter in the fall. But I have never had any problems starting up a new chef/starter.  Any comments? :-D


Peace.


Ivy


 


 

Alpine's picture
Alpine

There are MANY different strains of yeast that will thrive on nothing but flour and water. The slower acting yeasts make the best tasting bread, faster acting yeasts (like Fleischmann's or Red Star) generally require either a pre-fermented poolish or the addition of sugar, dairy products, etc. to give the bread flavor.

Any starter that will produce bread is "real", the best starters require only flour, water and salt to produce good bread. Your levian starter sounds like a true bread starter, and probably a good one. If your Amish starter really wants sugar to work, it's more of a pastry starter than a bread starter; but it's still a "real" starter.

The primary byproducts of yeast are alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, the gas captured in the kneaded dough causes the bread to rise, the alcohol evaporates during baking. Yeast is a plant, yeast can't 'sour' bread.

A "real" sourdough starter must also contain bacteria, specificly, a lactobacillus. My posts argue that all starters are not sourdough starters; not that only sourdough starters are "real" starters. Roses and poppys are both "real" flowers, but the names are not interchangeable (a rose by any other name is still a rose).

The only reason I brought this subject up at all, was in response to people wondering why their sourdough bread wasn't getting sour. The answer is: by definition, sourdough bread is sour; if your bread isn't sour, it isn't sourdough bread. This would lead one to the logical conclusion that the starter used to produce the bread is not a sourdough starter. Why this upsets so many people is a mystery to me, if you like the bread your starter produces, that's all that matters.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

There are so many tricks to learn. Like when you add sulphered raisins or sundried tomatoes to the dough, the sulpher attacks the yeast and requires a much longer rise time. I could go on all day about variables that make every bake different, but I will simply say, I've learned more in a month than in ten years of baking bread at home.

ivy b's picture
ivy b

Thank you for such a wonderful reply! (Two, actually!)  Yes, the Amish is strictly for cakes, specifically carrot bundt cakes this past month between the holidays and birthdays, this being a favorite cake around here. 


As for the raisins, my grandma would always soak them (in water,wine or grape juice) before adding; not sure if that would help you, but, I do this for our challah on Rosh Hashana, just b/c that's how I was taught.  You may or may not decide to try this; can't vouch for tomatoes, but I put those in after the first rising; they don't seem to bother my rise times. Actually, the calamari olives tend to bleed into the dough a LOT.  Of course, I realize that a bakery is waaaay different then baking up to 6 loaves at home! :-D


I'd love it, and I am sure I'm not the only one, if you did go on all day about the variables, so, if you ever want to - know that you have the audience. 


Again, thank you for such a wonderful reply to both my questions, and - for anyone watching the superbowl games.... have fun!


 


Peace,


ivy in ny

Alpine's picture
Alpine

Temperatures are the main variable, but even the high-gluten white flour from the same lot will vary from bake to bake. I suspect this is because the bags of flour in the main warehouse are aging and absorbing moisture constantly.

We do wash the raisins, but not soak them. Since raisins are a dried fruit, soaking them for any length of time would seem to me as a greater risk if they turned to mush. I'll try soaking a handful to see how they hold up. We do two 50 to 75 lb batches of raisin-walnut a week and screwing one up would be expensive.

I did a sample run of the bakery's Sundried tomato and garlic, and the Kalamata olive and Rosemary bread. (The dried rosemary is mixed with olive oil and added at the beginning of the mix, the olives are added for the last minute.) And both didn't rise very well at all; although the bread tasted great. The former owners said they only make these breads during the summer because they take forever to rise in winter (even in an 80f proofing room).

It seems like the starter goes semi-dorment during the winter in spite of artifical heating. I'm told the starter goes crazy during the warm months and instead of waiting for the breads to proof, you have to work your butt off at double speed to prevent overproofing. I'd like to experiment with getting these 'summer' breads to proof properly in winter, but a minimum batch yields 15 Portuguese Rounds and that's a lot of bread to keep off the shelves if it looks dismal.

As I was writing the above, I had an idea: I buy about 1500 lbs of white and whole wheat flour a week. These 50lb bags are stored on a wheeled cart in the main production area (the cart is loaded from the delivery truck, then wheeled back to it's regular place). This cart will fit in the proofing room. If I could prewarm all the flour, this would surely speed things up! BUT...If putting this large cold mass in the same room as the starter effects the starter, that would be very bad. Maybe I'll just prewarm enough for a batch of raisin walnut and see if it helps that rise, then maybe try it on a summer bread.

My natural tendency to experiment is tempered by the need to stock shelves in Corvallis, Salem and Eugene rather than single-handedly keep the food share program supplied with wholesome, but ugly, unsaleable bread.

Alpine's picture
Alpine

There was no formula being used to compensate for environmental variables, so i introduced the following:

Triple the temperature you want the dough to be at when placed in the proofing room for it's first proof: i.e. for 78f, you start with 234f.

From 234f, you first subtract the room temp.: i.e. 55f; 234f - 55f = 179f

Next subtract the flour temp.: i.e. 55f; 179f - 55f = 124f

Finally, subtract 20f for machine friction: i.e. 124f - 20f = 104f

This makes the required water temp 104f...WAY too hot for starter!

The bread making "rule" is: add 'wet' before 'dry' ingredients; meaning mix the starter with the 104f water before adding the flour and other ingredients. I changed that "rule", now the flour is poured into the 104f water, the starter on top the flour, mix 2 minutes adding salt slowly, continue with the standard kneading schedule.

This has speeded up the rise time and improved the consistency of the bread quite a bit, customers have commented the bread "quality has improved".

The simple fact is, when you're baking 6 to 8 full racks per bake day, at 40 minutes each, with the first going in at around 12:00 or 1:00 p.m., the temptation to load the racks with not quite ready to bake bread is pretty strong. Letting a convection oven the size of a bathroom sit hot and empty while bread finishes proofing for 30 or 40 minutes is bad, knowing that by doing so, you're going to be baking until well into the night makes a strong case for kidding yourself into rushing something that shouldn't be rushed. I put the spinach and onion deli rolls in at least 30 minutes too early on Thursday and the 3/4 size loaves weren't worth getting home 30 minutes earlier.

When you put a substandard type of bread on the shelf, sales will drop for that type of bread for a couple of weeks, then pick back up again when the later bread is done right.

The moral of all this is: if you don't have the patience to make sourdough, go to the supermarket and buy some bakers yeast, you'll be much happier.

NOTE: I went by the bakery and put a couple of hundred pounds of flour in the proofing room, I'll use them for the raisin walnut tomorrow. It can't hurt.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Alpine,


How's the bakery going?

Jw's picture
Jw

I just discovered this part of the website, very interesting conversations.
I understand you deliver to companys (stores), but are you also connecting to home-bakers? I could imagine that getting your own network going would be an advantage, a direct link to your customers.
Cheers, Jw.


 

Alpine's picture
Alpine

We've had a couple of people come in and help with a bake just to learn.

The Corvallis Farmers Market started Saturday 4-18 and I didn't have a clue how much bread to bake for our booth. I did 10 to 15 loaves of 11 different breads and sold every loaf in four hours. We even had a guy who read this blog introduce himself.

One couple came to our booth so the woman could sample some bread; the man said he hated sourdough. She coaxed him into trying a couple of samples and he ended up buying a loaf of kalamata-rosemary and a garilc-cheddar-basil loaf. It was a fun day.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks for the update.  My SD home baking has improved immensely since joining this site.  I bought an olive and rosemary SD at an open air market (farmer's market) during the Easter break which was the genuine authentic article; unusual to find such good quality here.  The artisan baking and appreciation community is growing, alive and well it seems.