Frequently Asked Questions
No, it is not gluten free. To make a loaf of traditional sourdough, gluten is required to create strength in the dough and crumb.
There are a few gluten free items in the deli case (olives, hummus, eggs, cold brews, cheeses and artisan butters). However, we cannot guarantee that the product has not been cross-contaminated with gluten.
Yes! If you pre-order online, leave a note letting us know you’d like it sliced. Or if you come to the Bakehouse and there's a loaf that's completely cool, we we can run it through the slicer.
If the bread is too warm, the crumb is too sticky and won’t run through the slicer. The Pullman is also a great option, as it comes pre-sliced.
Yes! All loaves of bread freeze very well. They will last up to 2-3 months in the freezer. The best way to freeze your loaf is by putting it in a ziplock freezer bag.
When ready to eat, defrost the loaf at room temperature. Once thawed, warm it in the oven at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
About Sourdough Bread
All bread is made with four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. Yeast is a microscopic organism that plays a part in making many of the world’s favorite foods from wine and beer to kimchi through the process of fermentation. What makes bread sourdough is that the yeast used in the fermentation of the dough is wild yeast rather than commercially available yeast known as “baker’s yeast.”
There’s nothing inherently better or worse about using wild yeast or commercial yeast—some of the best breads in the world use a mixture of both! But natural, wild yeast brings an exciting range of flavor, experimentation, and health benefits that are typically not found in breads made with only commercial yeast.
The fascinating transformation of the dough under the influence of wild yeast gives the bread better keeping qualities due to the unique environment wild yeast creates. It also makes sourdough bread much easier to digest than other breads (and contributes to healthy digestion overall) due to the diversity of healthy bacteria present during fermentation.
Diverse, wild yeast also provides a huge range of flavor possibilities not present in commercial yeast fermentation. A common misconception is that sourdough must taste sour! Sourdough often tastes sour, but it doesn’t have to — it can taste anywhere from sweet, floral, and creamy, to bright, sharp, and sour. The skill of the sourdough baker is in managing the fermentation to balance these flavors to achieve the exact flavor profile and texture desired.
Store the bread in a paper or cotton bag, or in the breathable plastic bag it was delivered in at room temperature. If the bread is cut, store it cut side down in the bag to keep the interior from drying out. Do not store the bread in the refrigerator! The refrigerator is a dry environment that will cause the bread to dry out quickly.
Store the bread in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature. If the bread is cut, store it cut side down in the bag. The crust will lose some crispness in a sealed bag, but will stay moist longer. The bread can be warmed up again in the oven (bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes) or sliced and toasted to regain crispiness. Do not store the bread in the refrigerator! The refrigerator is a dry environment that will cause the bread to dry out quickly.
Long term storage
Sourdough bread freezes very well. To freeze, slice the bread or leave loaf whole, then wrap tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in heavy-duty freezer bag and freeze. To refresh, reheat in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes if thawed, or 20-30 minutes if frozen. Properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 3 months, but will remain safe beyond that time.
There are many ways to make sourdough — its versatility and variation are part of the thrill of making it (besides eating it)! Our sourdough takes anywhere from 18-24 hours from start to finish, and typically follows a process like this one:
Preparing the starter
There's more to say about sourdough starters than we have room for here, but essentially the starter is the source of wild yeast that is mixed into all of the dough. A sourdough starter (or leaven) is a mixture of flour, water, and wild yeast. To prepare for a bake day, we feed the starter with fresh flour and water to cultivate and strengthen it. The amount of flour and water we add depends on the number of loaves we're going to make.
Mixing the dough
After 4-6 hours, the starter is ready and we mix the full batch of dough with flour, water, salt, the starter, and any other ingredients we may be using depending on the kind of bread we're making (walnuts, herbs, raisins, maple syrup, etc.)! There are many ways to mix the dough — currently we use a mixer (named Kemper!) for the first step, and after that the dough is folded by hand.
Stretch and fold
After mixing, we do a series of stretches and folds to build tension and strength in the dough. This process is similar to kneading the dough, but it's spread out over several hours to allow time to do most of the work for us! The stretches are alternated with resting periods where the dough relaxes and forms a cohesive whole. Both working the dough and proper rest are essential for building dough strength (just like working out at the gym!).
After the stretches and folds, the dough is allowed to rest for a longer period to fully ferment. At this point, the bakers typically take a break and let the dough do the work! By the time we get back, 6-7 hours after the initial mixing, the dough has doubled in size all on its own.
Dividing and shaping
When the dough has fermented, we divide it into individual loaves which are then shaped to build tension and structure in each loaf.
After shaping, we place the loaves in cold storage overnight to slow down the fermentation. This not only creates a convenient baking schedule, but the long, slow, twelve hour fermentation also deepens the flavor.
Scoring and baking
Twelve hours later, we heat up the ovens, roll out the loaves, score them with a blade (draw the fancy patterns on top) and bake them at a blistering 500°F for 45 minutes.
Baking sourdough is a fascinating skill with endless variations to explore. Let us know if you have questions on any of the details, and we'll be happy to talk about it for hours!