There is a lot of thought being give to the simple idea of a loaf of bread recently, and nowhere is that thought more intense than at Lodge Bread. Bringing life to a nondescript slice of Washington Boulevard, this is a bakery with a belief system. Alex Phaneuf and Or Amsalam both started out as chefs, but got drawn to baking as means of creativity in the kitchen that reflected both simplicity and perfection. “We kept getting more involved with the process as we experimented, ” enthused Amsalam, “and it got more interesting and exciting every step of the way.”
We are not just talking bread here, mind you, but bread. Loaves with a natural fermented rise, baked with wheat sourced from farmers growing specialty grains. You could go in and get an earful from bakery manager Alan Craig, (shown above, slicing) or just go in and order a mouthful – you will be impressed.
The sit-and-eat menu is limited but lovely; toasted brioche with house-made blueberry jam and a touch of sea salt, amazing cinnamon rolls, and avocado toast with sliced radishes are star status plates. The coffee is pretty damn terrific too – De La Paz Coffee out of San Francisco, roasted in small batches. Of course, with food this good, accompaniments need to be up to par. There are also ‘off the menu’ treats, like the savory bread pudding. In this belief system, nothing goes to waste.
Breakfast is great, but what you really want is a loaf to take home; any of the loves on offer. The Country Loaf and the Whole Wheat Loaf both start with hard red winter wheat and a sourdough starter that takes between 14 and 16 hours to raise. This not fast food. When you taste it, you’ll recognize that all the effort these guys put in is there on the plate. (Alex and Or at the oven, pictured right.)
Most fresh breads need to be eaten quickly, as they don’t have much of a shelf life. Not so with Lodge bread. While the crust can be dauntingly crunchy (even on the first day) the bread is still soft and intensely flavorful up to four days later. You’ll want a sharp serrated knife, or if you want to make it really easy, just slice the loaf and pop in the freezer – toast when ready.
Amsalam notes that they close at 5 pm, or when they run out of bread, whichever comes first. But if the doors are closed and you come by, don’t be afraid to knock. If there’s anything left, they will be happy to sell it to you.
Spoiler alert – you will get spoiled really fast. The stuff in the plastic bags from the supermarket may just fall off your grocery list. Why settle for bread when you can have bread ? And coming soon – pizza.
Lodge Bread 7 am to 5 pm
|11918 Washington Blvd.