Bread may be the cornerstone of civilization, but Angelenos are only just waking up to the aroma of good, fresh bread. We're talking about loaves that incorporate whole grains and wild yeast, beginning with a long fermentation and ending in a hot oven. There are a few artisanal bakers out there who bake without restaurants or bakeries and sell at select daily and weekly pop-ups throughout the city. But for brick and mortars, there's now Lodge Bread, a new bakery in Culver City.
Visit the bakery and you are likely to see one of the partners, Or Amsalam and Alexander Phaneuf, rotating loaves in the oven with a long peele, or rapping their knuckles against the bottom of a loaf, checking if it's ready to cool. To the untrained eye, Lodge's dark loaves look almost burnt. The exterior is hard and chestnut-colored, showcasing roasted nutty aromas and protecting the moist dough inside. Sometimes customers ask about why the bread is so darkly colored but Phaneuf assures them: “This is how we do things.”
Amsalam and Phaneuf work closely with their flour supplier, Central Milling in Utah, to determine appropriate moisture levels and fermentation times. Most loaves see between 13-23 hours of proofing and fermentation, depending on the activity of the yeast. With the growing movement of California heritage grains, they are eager to get involved with other regional growers and producers, and will sell specialty loaves in house.