frequently asked questions
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH BREAD AND WHY IS “BREAD AND FLOURS” DIFFERENT?
Currently, in the USA there is no legal classification for "sourdough" bread. It is then up to everyone's own interpretation, be it bakers baking your sourdough or customers purchasing sourdough loaves. At Bread and Flours, our sourdough process models the most natural and historic way of creating “true” sourdough that has been used for centuries. We start by taking natural yeast that is found in the air with bacteria; and cultivate these yeast cells by capturing them in a mixture of flour and water, creating a colony of wild yeast. This is called a “starter” or sourdough culture. These yeast cells are used to leaven all of our sourdough at Bread and Flours, “naturally” with the benefit of time. For Bread and Flours, the use of the word “naturally” means we do not intervene in the process on a cellular level with our sourdough. Each sourdough culture is similar to our fingerprints, different and unique; as the bacteria on each bakers hands is different, this in part is the reason why each sourdough taste different at different bakeries or at home. This culture of active yeast cells feed off of the fresh ground flour creating lactobacilli bacteria. When these yeast cells meet and begin to feed with our fresh ground flour, fermentation begins spontaneously, and it is the start of the fermentation process. When these yeast cells feed, they create carbon dioxide, lactic acids, acetic acids and ethanol. It is these acids which help to create the “sour” in the sourdough process. To share “sourdough” is not only a flavor profile that occurs in the bread, it is also a process of bread making that includes fermentation and time. This is very important to understand. Not all bakeries choose to do this. For Bread and Flours one of our standards is that we do not intervene with this process on the cellular level with these yeast cells by adding any commercial yeast, instant yeast, rapid rise dry active yeast, or anything to our dough. Fleischmann’s is the company after World War II who placed yeast into granules, then distributed their product to supermarkets to make bread that evening for your family. Bakers add yeast for many reasons. Some bakers choose to add just a little yeast to “help” their dough rise, this is called “micro-dosing”. We choose never to add yeast, preservatives, softeners or anything to our dough, no “micro-dosing”. Instead, we choose time, the most natural process used in the past. Speaking of additions, a second standard for Bread and Flours is that we are preservative-free; as we never add anything into our sourdough. No citric acid, no vinegar, no dough conditioners, or enzymes, ( these are preservatives to keep your loaf of bread soft for days) enriched flour, ( flour with vitamins added) bleached or bromated flour ( flour with added potassium bromate) which is a banned substance substances in some countries, but not in the USA. These are added to create greater rise to the dough and to make it more pliable. Some bakeries do. Additions also into dough are used by bakers to create more bread, very quickly, and for your bread to remain "squeezable" for days. For us, we would never handcraft anything we would not eat ourselves. Only whole ingredients, with no additions. We want our community to have access to the healthiest sourdough bread you can consume. A long term professional goal of Bread and Flours is to help create a standard for the “definition” of sourdough bread in the state of California. Lastly, at Bread and Flours, we need a minimum of 35 hours to produce our loaves. In order to respect our commitment to slow fermentation, we cannot produce "bread on demand". Being able to plan for our "bakes" also affords us the luxury of providing you with the freshest bread delivered to your door. When you receive your bread from Bread and Flours, more than likely it will be baked and wrapped hours ago. Fresh bread delivered to you. Fresh, preservative-free with your nutritional health top of mind. Respectfully, our artisan sourdough and bread selections are highly perishable, based on storage methods your sourdough should last anywhere from two to five days in your bread box.
WHY IS MY BREAD DARK, IT LOOKS BURNT?
At Bread and Flours, we bake "bold". This is a term in the baking community to say that there is a crust on the exterior of your loaf which will be crunchy, potentially charred and look darker than other loaves you might have experienced. Furthermore, certain grains ( be it rye and others) darken on the outside more than other grains. What? Char...dark...? Should I be scarred? Not at all. The char and darkness are a baking preference that generates aromatic compounds and creates flavors from the starches that caramelize to deliciousness called a “Maillard Reaction”. The darkness on the outside of our loaves will reveal a beautiful interior, you will notice that the interior is not overcooked at all. The interior portion of a loaf of bread is called the "crumb". Rather revealing the perfect balance of tangy crustiness on the outside and a moist crumb on the interior, as we work toward that perfect balance of encapsulating moisture in all our loaves. That outer shell also adds nuttiness and flavor with crispy textures that we find irresistible. So please... to all the good folks, your bread is not burnt. It has a char to bring out the character and flavors of your loaf. Trust us, it should taste absolutely delicious both inside and out.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO STORE MY LOAF OF BREAD?
At Bread and Flours, we store our loaves of bread cut side down on a cutting board and slice throughout the day. If this doesn't feel right for you, check out getting a bread box, or wrapping your loaf in a linen cloth or a cotton dishtowel, and then place it in the bread box. By keeping your loaf away from sunlight, heat, and moisture, you can extend the natural process of staling. During the storage of bread the process of staling occurs. Staling is the changing level of moisture in a loaf of bread from moist too dry, simply stated. Your bread actually becomes hard and dry, because of the lack of moisture, because it has been exposed to the natural elements, air, heat, and time. However, even an uncut loaf has to "breathe"after it is baked. This is important and we will talk to about this further in a little bit. At Bread and Flours we wrap all of our loaves in biodegradable paper packaging by hand. Our loaves are preservative-free! We do not add any dough conditioners, softeners ( sorry this is also called preservatives), or anything else. Simply, less is more. We want the purity of the grain to express its full flavor through this process. This is the part about letting bread "breathe"; bread stored in plastic does not allow for exchange of air between the loaf and its environment. According to Susan Reid, bread stored in a refrigerator, can cause your bread to recrystallize the starches in the bread. In other words, shortening the loaves' life, causing it to degrade faster. You can, however, freeze your bread. Yes, it is true. Freezing is a wonderful way to store your sourdough bread. If you know you are not going to eat it all in the next two to three days, then pre-slice it and store it in a freezer bag and place it in your freezer. The flavors should remain equal to the day it was placed into the freezer. Then you can take out and portion out as needed and toast when you need a slice.
CAN I PURCHASE MY LOAF OF BREAD PRE-SLICED?
At this time we do not offer that service. We recommend all our customers to purchase a "new" serrated scalloped bread knife. A dedicated bread knife is key. Additionally, it must be sharp, and please watch your fingers as not to cut yourself. From Japan to Germany or American there is a knife that works for everyone's budget. Early in our endeavors, friends gifted us an "Off-set" serrated edge bread knife, which allows your knuckles not to come in contact with the cutting surface. ( Game-changer!) If you have an interest in purchasing an off-set serrated edge bread knife, visit your local kitchen retailer or your favorite online dealer. Notable performance brands are Ergo Chef, Dalstrong Gladiator Series, Shun, Wustoff, Miyabi, or Dexter.
WHY DOES MY BREAD GET HARD AFTER A COUPLE OF DAYS?
All of our loaves are “Preservative-free". Our bread will naturally start to harden over time. To best maintain your loaf, keep it out of the elements of sunlight, heat, and moisture. The longer you have your loaf, naturally the harder your loaf will get. What is occurring is that the moisture is leaving your loaf, naturally. Respectfully, our artisan sourdough is highly perishable, based on storage methods your sourdough should last anywhere from two to five days in your pantry.
WHAT DOES "HOUSE-MILLED STONE GROUND FLOUR" MEAN?
Most folks understand that wheat grows in a field, and that, somehow, we buy it in the form of flour. What they might not know is that in order to make flour shelf-stable, often times the ‘bran” and “germ” ( two major parts of the wheat seed) are separated off in the milling process with a roller mill. The bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of the wheat seed. We are fortunate to have a commercial stone mill at our home bakery, we mill fresh for our all sourdough loaves. Grinding fresh in this manner allows us to keep the the essential nutrient parts of the wheat seed of bran and germ to remain n our flour. This creates“whole grain" flour, with nothing ever taken out. The refined flour we purchase in our grocery stores - white flour, is only the fluffy endosperm of the wheat seed, only one part of the wheat seed that is not nutritively complete. Using a stone mill is the way the generations before us would grind their grain on a stone mill. We would argue this is not only more nutrient-rich but the most flavorful flour for all loaves. When you purchase your fresh-milled flour from us, we recommend you keep it refrigerated, as it will last up to six months refrigerated.
WHY CAN’T I PURCHASE BREAD ALL THE TIME ON YOUR WEBSITE?
Bread and Flours process for our loaves takes 35+ hours. This is our standard. We deliver our loaves on Saturdays to our customers. Our "Shop" tab is open for you to purchase other pantry items throughout the week as we will deliver it to you that Saturday. If a purchase for sourdough was made after Wednesday, our customers might think we will have a loaf ready for them and out for delivery that coming Saturday. Our process takes time. We choose to slowly ferment our bread for the greatest bio-availability for your health and for the maximum flavor of each loaf. You may place your order for sourdough loaves between Sunday and Wednesday up until 5 pm. We begin readying those loaves for orders placed by 5 pm Wednesday immediately after this cut off time, as we need to get to work to start the whole process. Grinding the correct amount of flour, and portioning out all the flour to be mixed. It is very important that we that get that right for you. You may still place orders for pantry items for same week delivery until 12 noon Friday morning, as we still need more time to bake, cool, wrap the sourdough, have a quick espresso, and then keep on working to then bag the loaves for our customers. This gives us time to prepare and organize your order.
WHY DOES YOUR LABEL SAY, "MADE IN A HOME KITCHEN?"
Think of it this way, everything is literally "homemade", which is baked in our home. We consider ourselves lucky and proud to call California our home. We are able to take advantage of the "California Cottage Food Industry Act" which allows small artisan food producers to create goods in their home kitchens. The home-based businesses are certified and inspected by local jurisdictions and monitored for food safety compliance. Instead of everyone visiting the bakery, we deliver directly to your door. We also sell to local restaurants and chefs in the Coachella Valley. If your favorite restaurant doesn't carry our bread, ask them to check us out!
DO YOU SELL GLUTEN-FREE BREAD?
We do not.
DO YOU SELL YOUR STARTER OR YOUR SOURDOUGH CULTURE?
We do not. Our starter is part of our family, and it is not for sale.
Click here to learn how to on the link to build your own starter.
CAN YOU BAKE BREAD FOR MY WEDDING/PARTY/BUSINESS MEETING?
Thank you for thinking of us as part of your special day! Yes! We can work with you.
Shoot us an email or give us a call ( yes we accept phone calls just like in the olden days).
We love parties, and any excuse to be involved!
CAN YOU GRIND FRESH FLOUR FOR ME?
Absolutely. Shoot us an email or call, as we are glad to discuss how we can help.
We are supporters of fresh milled flour.