Written & Photographed by Felicia Friesema
“It started as a joke,” said David. “We were both like, if we couldn’t sell bread in this economy—it’s the staple of civilization— then what can we sell?”
That was over a year ago. The joke bloomed into heavy research, each diving into the nuts and bolts of American food distribution, the local food movement, civilization and of course, the economy. The adage, “With all jokes, there is some truth,” manifested into something they both wanted, for themselves and their community.
They centered in on slow-fermented, wild yeast raised, hand-kneaded sourdough for nutritional quality and philosophical reasons, crafting a hyper-local and sustainable business model.
Seeing Rose bent over, elbow deep in heavy, thick proto-sourdough goop, it’s easy to wonder if maybe there’s an easier way. The quick answer is sure—use commercial yeasts and mix and knead with machines while setting a timer and moving to the next batch. It works for production bakers the world over and it was Rose’s first introduction to baking.
“I did commercially yeasted bread for a long time, and machines made it textureless,” said Rose. “I think what really won me over was more abstract. You can’t speed up good sourdough. There are these chemical rules you have to follow that will naturally slow you down. I had to slow down to watch this process happen. So much of this bread baking is the faith that it will work. You can do everything right from start to finish, but if you don’t believe it will rise, it won’t. I love that magical quality of it. Respecting the process is so important. It just seemed like this miracle that I could allow it to happen if I could go along with it. And so much of what I had been taught before was about forcing something to happen.”