Why Sourdough?



Mr. Andre Kempton and Dr. Jessica Foumena Kempton, owners of Wild Leaven Bakery posing at the Taos Farmers Market last October 2021. (Photo copyright © Wild Leaven Bakery)


Hi there! Thank you for stopping by our website.

Let's me start by saying that I am very happy and grateful to be running my small family business Wild Leaven Bakery along with my beautiful wife Jessica, who is our Director of Communications.

Dr. Kempton's administrative and management duties include updating the business social media pages (Instagram, Google, LinkedIn), designing communication and marketing materials such as our e-newsletter, maintaining and updating the content of our website. In addition, she is responsible for the development and execution of our bakery plans and policies, and overseeing the overall recruitement, coordination and evaluation of our team in manner that creates harmony within the workforce. When she is not working at her family business, Dr. Kempton enjoys being a Higher Ed teacher who teaches communications courses remotely at various schools and universities. 

Now, I would like to briefly share my baking journey with you. I felt called to become a baker after a year of apprenticing at Cloud Cliff Bakery located in Santa Fe, NM. For almost five years, I apprenticed there with Mr. Willem Malten, a master baker and local food visionary. I learned the fundamentals of fermentation with doughs and fell in love with this magical but learnable science and art of breadmaking. Here the true champions of the breadmaking process are the micro-organisms that give flavor, structure, volume, and shelf life to the sourdough bread. 

After completing the apprenticeship, I started Wild Leaven Bakery in 2012. Our approach to baking is very simple, balanced, and patient. We ferment our shaped loaves for 24 hours to achieve full flavor, long shelf life, and nutritional benefits. After 24 hours of a slow room temperature ferment, the sourdough cultures start eating a lot of the gluten, carbohydrates, and sugars, releasing beneficial byproducts and actually predigesting the bread for you so your gut microbes and body don't become overworked and out of balance. That is why so many customers are able to eat our bread but have trouble with most breads. 

Studies show that a 24-hour fermentation is needed to break down the anti-nutrients so we can absorb the nutrients in the grain; anti-nutrients are compounds in the grain which inhibit the absorption of minerals in our bodies. Also, organic grain is packed with essential nutrients and micro-nutrients which our bodies need to fight off disease and stay healthy. At Wild Leaven Bakery, we take pride in using local and organic ingredients and prioritizing local and heirloom grains.

I enjoy the whole process of making bread which often involves visiting the local farmers and finding out what works and what doesn't out here in the fields of the high mountain, desert climate. The art of breadmaking often leads me to milling flour myself or buying it from a local mill. Then, after hand mixing small batches of sourdough bread and letting it rise for a whole day, I delight in pulling the loaves out of the oven and serving them to our loyal customers.


Husband and wife team Andre and Jessica Kempton are holding freshly baked loaves of their sourdough bread. (Photo copyright © Wild Leaven Bakery)


My wife Jessica and I appreciate creating something of value for the community using raw materials. We believe food security is a very important issue we are facing now in our bioregion and the world. We hope to be a link in the chain that is connecting our local food economy. 

We thank all our loyal customers and business partners who have supported us over the years and the new ones who have recently joined us in our journey!

Written by Mr. Andre Kempton, Head Baker & Co-Owner of Wild Leaven Bakery.