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Enjoy Delicious Bread Made the Old-Fashioned Way at Gulf Coast Sourdough

By Marina I. Jokic

A true mom and pop bakery based in Tampa Bay, Gulf Coast Sourdough & Wild Yeast Breads is a traditional bread shop in every sense of the word. Owners Brett Wiewiora and Christina Cann revel in the temperate pace of the traditional bread-making process.

"We specialize in making the most flavorful bread in America," Cann said. "We do this by combining old-fashioned techniques with modern tastes and sensibilities to produce loaves with flavor, texture, and character, things decidedly absent from nearly all commercial baked goods."

Using old-fashioned methods and ingredients such as unbleached and unbromated flour, they mix each batch by hand and allow it to rise for 24 to 36 hours. The breads are then molded, allowed to rise, and summarily placed into the ovens. Producing some of the freshest and tastiest sweet and savory breads in the area, Gulf Coast has become a household name.

Rolling, folding, and twisting dough is an everyday exercise for Wiewiora. It's a slow and painstaking process, but it's also a labor of love. Slow food is good food for Wiewiora and his wife. In preparing their breads, they experiment with complex flavors, crackling crusts, and different textures and densities.

"Brett has always been interested in baking bread, and during grad school, he started baking up a storm as a form of stress relief," Cann said. "Soon, we found ourselves with a freezer full of bread and only two people to eat it, so we started selling it to our friends and neighbors."

At that time, Wiewiora and Cann were living in Pittsburgh, but soon after in 2015, they decided to move to Florida and open their own business and successfully turned a hobby into a serious business.

Some of the flavors on Gulf Coast's menu include asiago, turmeric and black pepper, roasted red pepper, and olive and herb. On the sweeter side, you'll find cinnamon swirl loaf and rolls as well as chocolate Babka.

The abundance of flavorful ingredients such as Sriracha sauce and turmeric as well as leavening the bread with sourdough starter make for a truly unique product. Not using store-bought instant yeast and unnecessary additives, Gulf Coast Sourdough also mixes every recipe at least 24 hours before baking. This bulk fermentation method really brings out the deep flavor that bread is supposed to have. For those enthusiastic to take bread-making into their own hands, Gulf Coast offers classes and teaches people how to make their own yeast starter.

"Humans evolved to eat sourdough bread; until the Industrial Revolution, all bread was leavened with sourdough starter," Cann said. "So by getting back to basics technique-wise and combining that with bold ingredients, we make breads that blow the sandwich bread aisle out of the water."

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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