Baking great bread takes time
We were greeted by the whiff of sourdough starter into Josh’s house and bakery. We got to see and interview Josh, owner of Slow Rise Artisan Bakery, as he baked his next batch of orders. Surrounded by the smell of baking bread, Josh shared how he started the bakery and how it is thriving in this rushed world.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Josh. I’m a father to a beautiful 3-year-old daughter, and married to my amazing wife for almost 4 years. Officially, I work as a marketing & sales lead for one of the biggest media & localization companies. In my spare time, when not with my family, I bake bread.
What made you start baking bread and opening up Slow Rise Artisan Bakery?
I’ve always had an interest in working with my hands. Sourdough baking was something I discovered at the start of the pandemic, and [working with your hands] is heavily involved, so naturally, it caught my attention.. Baking for family and friends turned into them sharing my bread with others, which turned into regular orders. Our operation is still very small, but we’re very proud to say we have a following of regular customers.
Can you share your inspiration and journey into opening up the bakery?
Opening our bakery business came naturally after we started getting regular orders. It wasn’t planned at all, we were baking one day, getting orders the following week, started getting more orders weeks after, before we finally decided to actually put a name and logo on it and make it official. I started baking because I enjoyed it. Before I knew it, it had turned into something more.
What is your baking process? What are your baked goods?
It starts with feeding my sourdough starter. After that I double-check my recipe. Doesn’t matter if I’m baking something for the first time or the hundredth. It takes two minutes to review my recipes and make sure everything is right.
We bake mostly sourdough, artisan breads. There’s a big misconception where people think sourdough is a type of bread, when in actuality it’s the process of making bread by using a sourdough starter or levain. So a baguette, croissant, or any loaf of bread for that matter can be baked using sourdough.
The best part of baking is the process. You need to pay attention to the process and how your dough reacts, which is always different. Temperature plays a big factor. Observing and reacting to how the dough feels, what it smells like, and what it looks like, and getting an amazing loaf of bread at the end is very rewarding.
What’s a usual day at work as a baker?
I still work at my full-time job, so a regular bake day is me going back and forth between the bakery and my laptop. If it gets super busy then my laptop goes into the bakery with me.
What’s the best thing about baking?
Whether that’s 3 hours or 24 hours, the best part is that bread baking allows me to slow things down, to give the dough enough time to develop flavor and turn into very delicious bread. It also gives me time to slow down and focus on something else. The business sort of turns into therapy at times.
It still amazes me how flour, water, salt and a sourdough starter can turn into delicious bread. You can literally see the dough change and react to how you handle it. It’s like magic.
“We rush so many things in life. Great bread takes time. “
How about the most challenging?
At the moment, time management —Juggling both jobs and family. Good thing I can make bread baking work around my schedule. Otherwise, this would never work.
Where can your artisan bread be purchased?
New customers normally reach out through our Instagram and Facebook: @slowriseartisanbakery. All our other contact info is on those platforms such as mobile number and email, which our more regular customers use.
We are a small-batch bakery, which means we bake upon request. Depending on the type of bread you order, contacting us three to five days ahead of time is ideal so we can make sure your bread gets to you as fresh as possible.
Any advice you would like to share about baking?
Just get started, and get ready to do a lot of research. There’s no shortcut to sourdough baking. You need to get to know your starter, get a few (or more in my case) breads wrong before you actually get in tune with it and understand when to feed it and use it to make bread. After that, experiment with your recipes and see what works for you.
As the sun set and we began packing up, the dough that was slowly rising at the beginning of our conversation was now ready to come out of the oven. We ended the day with a slab of butter on freshly baked bread.