Photo by Will Rigg.

Baking

Davis Street Espresso Offers Natural Levain Sourdough

Rise and shine! Candor Bread is the sourdough Oak Cliff has been waiting for.

Davis Street Espresso began roasting its own coffee, then launched their bean-to-bar line, Five Mile Chocolate, and is now venturing into the business of bread with Candor Bread. (What more, one wonders, can we fit into this neighborhood anchor on Davis Street?)

At first, the natural levain starter given to them three years ago undergirded toasts that crossed the counter alongside lattes and espresso shots and house baker Laura Blomstedt’s cinnamon rolls and scones. The next logical step for this one-woman bakery in a natural levain bread desert was to develop her old-world-style recipe—refined from her own studies and staging briefly at the seminal Tartine—into a whole-loaf subscription service, with weekly subscription and pick-up at the shop.

Blomstedt, who took over from the first natural-levain whisperer, greets me in a flour-dusted apron. A corner of the shop, once reserved for seating and storage, is now a glassed-in demonstration space, where you can see Blomstedt at work, mixing and shaping, and the loaves resting near the round baskets that leave their floury marks on each burnished crest.

The white sourdough, Candor Bread’s foundational loaf, is everything a rustic, natural-levain round should be—domes with a pearly interior whose natural, mouth-filling creaminess is brought back into order by the crackling crust. The developed flavor is the result of a 6-to-7-hour fermentation. (Blomberg would love to push it to an overnight 16-to-18-hour period, to augment the sour tang.)

Simple, high-quality ingredients create a product with integrity. Hence the name Candor Bread, to communicate the idea of an honest product, owner Shannon Neffendorf says. And a sly wink to Wonder Bread.

August last year, the massive, steam-injection deck oven took up residence. In December, they completed did their first official bake. And now they’ve launched the website with a link to sign up for weekly loaves of sourdough white, whole wheat (still in development), and a baker’s choice, which could flirt with olive, lemon-rosemary, or fruit and spice, or the chocolate sourdough using their Five Mile Chocolate that has become, from that first December bake, a sensation and likely signature.

According to Neffendorf they’d like to mill their own flour, eventually, bringing the artisanry full loop, as they have with their other products, coffee and chocolate. Meanwhile, each loaf holds nothing but organic King Arthur flour, water, salt, wild yeast, time, and the one pair of Bishop-Arts hands. As Neffendorf wraps a loaf in butcher paper for me, he’s reminded of the childhood bakery in Fredericksburg, now closed, where old-world bread was wrapped in butcher paper and eaten later with deer sausage. If these shots don’t make you salivate for fresh bread, I don’t know what will.

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