La Brea Bakery debuts ‘founders’ line of sprouted and seeded sourdough breads

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

La Brea Bakery started selling its artisan breads across the US in 1998. / Pic: Getty Images/Chris Weeks
La Brea Bakery started selling its artisan breads across the US in 1998. / Pic: Getty Images/Chris Weeks

Related tags Bread sourdough Bakery California Ancient grains seeds wholegrain anniversary artisanal breads artisan

The US artisan wholesale bakery has enlisted founder Nancy Silverton, who sold the company in 2001, to create a range of sourdough breads to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

The Founders range – which includes a Country Wheat Batard, a classic slow-fermented Pain Levain, and a Sprouted Multigrain and Seed loaf – will roll out to retailers nationwide later this year.

La Brea founders range
La Brea's Founders range / Pic: La Brea Bakery

Each will feature Silverton’s original sourdough starter.

To develop the recipes, Silverton paired up with her original baking partner, Jonathan Davis, who now serves as La Brea’s VP of innovation.

“I’m proud of how far La Brea Bakery has come over these 30 ​years; we’ve really raised the bar when it comes to baking high-quality, delicious breads and have adapted to consumer needs relatively seamlessly,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.

“It only feels right that we celebrate this milestone with Nancy Silverton herself to honor the unique and bold flavors she is so well known for in the bread community, while also commemorating and thanking our customers by incorporating the clean, elevated ingredients they want.”

In with the old

Sprouted grains are being promoted as the next frontier of whole grains, being high in protein content, as well as Omega 3’s, vitamins and antioxidants. They are also sustainably sourced from North America and many are naturally gluten-free.

It is believed that grain sprouting accidentally occurred in storage centuries ago, and Medieval consumers likely ate breads baked from sprouted grains. The style fell out of favor upon the arrival of manufactured yeast early in the 20th​ century.

The demand for low-carb diets in the 1980s, however, played an unexpected role in reinvigorating the joy of whole grains and continued into the early 2000s.

NancySilverton-LaBrea-GettyImages-567378887_Iris Schneider
Nancy Silverton in 1996 / Pic: Getty Images/Iris Schneider

Today, whole grains have made such a comeback that nearly two-thirds of consumers believe they benefit digestive health, according to the Whole Grains Council. In fact, a 2017 USDA survey revealed that wholegrain consumption increased 50% from 2004 to 2014, while refined grains fell by 10%.

As a company, La Brea attributes the success of wholegrain breads on a mass scale to the advancements in research and education.

“When opening La Brea Bakery, my goal was simple,”​ Silverton said. “I wanted to make beautiful and delicious breads, which was something of a novelty in Los Angeles in 1989. That same guiding principal has been the driving force behind the creation of La Brea Bakery Founders breads, 30 years later. These new breads pay homage to our past, while looking ahead to our future."

La Brea Bakery history

LaBreaBakery-GettyImages-524120644_Markus Cuff
The original La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles / Pic: Getty Images/Markus Cuff

1989   ​ Silverton opened La Brea with her then-husband, Mark Peel, as an adjunct to their American trattoria in Los Angeles called Campanile, which closed in 2012. Her breads amassed local adoration.

1992   ​ La Brea opened a larger bakery in Los Angeles to accommodate wholesale orders.

1998   ​ The bakery developed a par-bake process to distribute its breads across the US and moved its commercial operation to Van Nuys, California.

2001   ​ La Brea opened its New Jersey manufacturing site.

2006   ​ The company’s footprint expands internationally to a total of 10 countries, including China and Japan.

2009   ​ La Brea introduced a ‘Take & Bake’ frozen bread line in the US.

2011   ​ New Jersey site expanded to include a state-of-the-art R&D center, and La Brea partners with Aryzta North America to operate alongside Maidstone Bakery. Today, Aryzta owns a dozen bakeries, including Otis Spunkmeyer, Pennant and Oakrun Farm.

2016   ​ La Brea introduced its Reserve line, made from heirloom wheat grown in Big Sky, Montana.

2019   ​ The company turns 30, and founder Nancy Silverton returns to develop the Founders range of sourdough breads.

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