Vanessa is a friend that I’ve known from the almost start of our business. Vanessa and I went to WEV (women’s economic venture) together and took a basic beginner business coarse. We were instantly friends. We were both very passionate about real food, the local restaurant scene and we had many mutual friends. Vanessa and I were taking WEV to learn about two different businesses that we both decided to put on hold… I was about to start an organic baby clothing line (YIKES) and Vanessa had a small online, boutique California Pantry Goods store. Fast forward to four years later and we are both doing completely different things, yet working on the same goal. To bring wholesome real food to our community.
Vanessa started Riviera Bread Company a little over a year ago. She bakes sourdough made from just four ingredients (flour, water, salt, & wild yeast) in her home in Santa Barbara. She values good ingredients which is why she sources certified organic flours that are stone milled. The fermentation to create sourdough bread is long and slow, between 18-36 hours. Time developers unique flavor characteristics, allowing for easier digestion and the release of more readily available micronutrients.
We’ve been selling Vanessa’s bread for about a year now as an add on product and at The Farm Cart on Tuesdays. Her bread is beyond words and it’s no wonder why we sell out at The Farm Cart in about 12 minutes. But until recently I had no idea how much work it was to make sourdough. So I was super stoked to come over to Vanessa’s house yesterday and see at least a part of the process. I got to Vanessa’s house at 11 am she was about halfway thru the process of creating the bread for our farm boxes. Now just for a full disclosure here, I don’t know sh&t about bread making, I wish it did, but I don’t. So pardon of my language is off. Vanessa was in the middle of pouring her big crates of partially fermented dough and dividing them into separate loaves. I think that is called leavened ;) She cut the dough up into loaves, they got weighed, and properly formed them by flipping, stretching folding, adding magic and finally putting them into baskets. She then literally cleared out her entire fridge to put all of the baskets inside of it to let them cool and ferment over night. She then wakes up at 1 am on a Tuesday morning to get us all the bread we need for our boxes. She only is able to bake 4 loaves at a time since she only has a home sized oven. She then rotates the bread until they’re all baked. That’s when she delivers us warm, aromatic, bread where our team then goes into a bread frenzy. I don’t think ONE week has gone by when one of us says “Gosh that bread smells INSANE!”
Vanessa is holding her very first sourdough making class Thursday night at Muni Wines! EEkkk and it’s completely sold out! But we are hoping to have more classes where we can all meet, learn some tips about bread, sip some wine and relax. And if you haven’t tried her sourdough yet you’re completely missing out! Have a wonderful week!