frequently asked questions
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH BREAD AND WHY IS YOUR BREAD 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 sourdough or customers purchasing the sourdough loaves. The Bread and Flours 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 found in the air and bacteria; and cultivating these yeast cells by capturing them in a mixture of flour and water, creating a colony of wild yeast. These yeast cells are used to leaven our at Bread and Flours. 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. This culture of active yeast cells feed off of flour creating lactobacilli bacteria. When these yeast cells feed, and create carbon dioxide, lactic acids, acetic acids and ethanol. It is these acids that create the “sour” in sourdough naturally. With the help of time, more of these flavors are created. At Bread and Flours, one of our standards is clarity and transparency in our ingredients and our process. We clearly state on our website our ingredients, and on the side of our paper packaging for you to see. We are also transparent on our percentages of whole grain used in each loaf on our website. Not all bakers or bakeries do this. A second standard for Bread and Flours in our sourdough process is that we never use commercial yeast or instant yeast that comes in a packet or in a container. Some bakers like to add a "pinch" of commercial yeast to help their dough rise. At Bread and Flours, our definition of Sourdough Bread and our process never uses any commercial yeast, not even a pinch. Instead, we choose time, the most natural process used in the past for centuries. Speaking of additions, the third standard for Bread and Flours is we are preservative-free, as we never add anything unnatural 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, bleached or bromated flour. Some bakeries do. Additions 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 produce 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. One of our long term professional goals 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. 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, and preservative-free is vital, and for Bread and Flours, it doesn't get any better than fresh sourdough bread.
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 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 evening, and so the process begins. You may still place orders for pantry items for same week delivery until 12 noonFriday morning. This gives us time to prepare and organize your order.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO STORE MY LOAF OF BREAD?
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, and wrapping your loaf in a linen cloth or a dishtowel, and then place it in the bread box. By keeping your loaf away from sunlight, heat, and moisture, you can extend out further the length of time it takes for your loaf before it starts to harden. It is important for your loaf to breathe, hence the hand wrapped biodegradable paper packaging by Bread and Flours. You may also wrap your loaf or cotton.
Our loaves are preservative-free! We do not add any dough conditioners, softeners ( sorry this is bread-speak for preservatives), or anything else. Simply put, less is more. Bread stored in plastic does not allow for air to escape, and could potentially mold. Lastly, 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. 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. Portion out as needed and toast.
CAN I PURCHASE MY LOAF OF BREAD PRE-SLICED?
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 Japanese to German or American steel 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, Wusthof, Miyabi, or Dexter. ( Bread and Flours is not financially compensated for their recommendations )
WHY IS MY BREAD SO DARK?
We bake dark, with intention, baking bold. The char and darkness are a baking preference that generates aromatic compounds and creates flavors from the starches that caramelize to deliciousness. We realize this looks very different from grocery bought bread, and we are okay with that. The darkness on the outside of our loaves will reveal a beautiful interior, you will notice the inside is not overcooked at all. Rather revealing the perfect balance of tangy crustiness, as we work toward that perfect balance of encapsulating moisture in all our loaves. That outer shell also adds nutty and flavors and crispy textures that we find irresistible.
WHAT DOES "HOUSE-MILLED 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” ( these are parts of the wheat seed, along with the endosperm - these are the three major parts) 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 in our home bakery, and we mill almost all of our flour fresh before we bake into our loaves. This allows us to keep the bran and germ in the flour, in essence creating "whole grain" flour, with nothing ever taken out. No sifting either. This 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 more flavorful as well.
DO YOU SELL GLUTEN-FREE BREAD?
Respectfully, we do not sell gluten-free bread. We have gluten in our bakery with a variety of multiple different flours in our bakery. We are not a certified gluten-free bakery and could not make the claim that we produce gluten-free bread if that was of interest to us.
WHY DOES YOUR LABEL SAY, "MADE IN A HOME KITCHEN?"
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!
WHY IS MY BREAD MORE TANGY/CRUSTY AND CHANGED FROM LAST WEEK?
We are stewards of our sourdough culture (Her name is Lupita). Yeast is a living organism that is found wild in the air, vegetation, and soil. It is this wild yeast that has become our natural starter called Lupita. She is greatly influenced by heat, humidity, and a myriad of factors that can only be described as "forces of nature". She is wild and prone to changing moods on the turn of a dime. Lupita can be active and fast-moving one day, and shy and reluctant the next day. It is a constant review to make sure all is going well based on the environmental conditions of each day. We work with Lupita for consistency every week. This is key, as this is one of the key components of a baker, which is to understand all environmental conditions in order to bring out the best in each loaf.
DO YOU SELL YOUR STARTER OR YOUR SOURDOUGH CULTURE?
Our starter is part of our family, and I am sorry Lupita is not for sale. Click on the link to build your own starter.
WHY DOES MY LOAF OF 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. Concerned about how you will get through that whole loaf before it changes? Reference storage suggestions (What’s the best way to store my loaf of bread). Or don't be concerned at all, and eat it straight away with your favorite farmers market tomato, cucumber, hummus, and a pinch of salt.
CAN YOU BAKE BREAD FOR MY WEDDING/PARTY/BUSINESS MEETING?
Thank you for thinking of us as part of your special day! Yes! With enough notice, 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 all about fresh milled flour.