The tantalizing smell of fresh-baked bread wafts through the neighborhood early in the morning at 94213 Unit B, Second Street in Gold Beach.
Leavened Bakery, specializing in naturally leavened sourdough breads, has been baking at its wholesale location since June. But today, Oct. 2, the bakery has opened a retail window at their location where customers can buy directly from the baker herself, Meriah Timm.
The bakery is too small to host an indoor service counter, but a welcoming window with a bright teal-colored awning welcomes visitors to a window and counter where they can select and pay for their baked goods, along with a cup of Nectar of Life organic coffee to go. The bakery window is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Timm reminds people that they are in a residential neighborhood.
Timm says she has the capacity to make up to 80 loaves per day by herself, plus a variety of pastries like her Kouign-Amann (pronounced "queen a-mahn") pastries, sourdough bagels and sourdough donuts. She predicts she will be baking 20 to 30 loaves a day to meet demand, plus other treats.
“Breads and pastries are our backbone,” Timm said. “But I will have some dessert things like lemon bars and chocolate torts. I want to be able to do everything, but I can’t do everything all at once. I’m excited to see what we get and what people buy who are our regulars.”
Her most popular breads to date have been Floyd’s French Batard, Polenta Rosemary and Honey Whole Wheat—a Brookings favorite. But you can expect to find Dark Chocolate Orange Cranberry and Pumpkin loaves made with local ingredients this fall. The pumpkin loaves are shaped like pumpkins with a cinnamon stick for a stem. Although she has discontinued distribution through her other retail outlets, the breads will still be distributed through Otterbee’s Market, with ordering online for home deliveries, so the breads will still be available in Brookings and Smith River.
The breads and pastries use naturally occurring, local Oregon grown and captured yeasts, without adding any commercial yeast, to rise the bread. The process isn’t quick, and takes 24 hours from start to finish. The day starts with making a “leaven” from the mother starter to make a batch of very young starter to begin the rising process. The mother starter is fed daily to replenish it after taking 80% of it for baking each day.
“It’s just been fed, so it’s really active,” she said. The leaven has just flour, water and salt—no sugar is added. The leaven rises for six hours. Following the leaven process, the next processes of mixing the dough, turning it and shaping loaves takes seven hours, plus three hours to proof. The dough goes into the walk-in refrigerator overnight, and then is baked off the following morning.
Even though the bread is called sourdough, she starts with a young yeast with the leaven process, so it actually is much sweeter than commercially produced sourdough, which has had a separate sour-tasting dough added to the batch to make it taste sour.
The breads and pastries are baked off in a multi-deck pizza oven for about an hour. She spends every morning baking for two to three hours.
Timm grew up in Gold Beach, then went to college for almost three years, including one year in Colorado and two years at Oregon Coast Culinary Institute (OCCI) in Coos Bay. After OCCI, she had an internship in the Cannon Beach area where she learned how to do naturally leavened breads. After her husband Conner Timm finished his schooling in Portland, the couple moved to Gold Beach to open their bakery.
Upcoming events at the bakery will be a Harvest Festival on October 31 at the bakery from 5 to 8 p.m. and also a three-hour naturally leavened bread-making class on Oct. 27 at 9 a.m. that is being offered through the Oregon Live Culture Coast event. For more information, call 541-373-9395.