Why Sourdough?

Andre Kempton, Owner & Head Baker, Wild Leaven BakeryMr.Andre Kempton, Wild Leaven Bakery Head Baker & Co-Owner, is pulling out freshly baked loaves of sourdough bread from the oven (Photo copyright © Wild Leaven Bakery)

I am very excited to run my small family business Wild Leaven Bakery along with my wife Jessica. After a year of apprenticing at Cloud Cliff Bakery in Santa Fe, I felt called to become a baker. For almost five years, I apprenticed there with 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 use organic ingredients and prioritize 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.

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

My wife Jessica and I thank all our loyal customers who have supported us over the years and the new ones who have recently joined us in our journey.

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