The breaking of bread symbolizes peace and partnership, whereas the piecing back together of bread symbolizes a baker regretting an earlier feat of strength. Forgo grand gestures with today's Groupon: for $40, you get a starter dough-development or bread-making workshop from Sour Flour (an $80 value), held at La Victoria Bakery.
The experienced leaveners at Sour Flour supply the community with fresh sourdough loaves and educate bread lovers in the science and craft behind baking. Dough-development seminars incorporate starter cultures and a variety of dough hydrations to teach the essential techniques of cultivating rich, flavorful victuals by hand. Students learn how to knead, stretch, fold, and recognize when to let dough relax and catch its breath in order to foster gluten production. To complete the transformation from loose parts into toasty bread, each baker performs a final shaping in the workshop before taking newborn bundles of rising dough home to meet older crumpet siblings.
The starter workshop, which lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours, teaches small groups of 8–12 baking visionaries how to properly ferment flour and water to cultivate cadres of yeast that serve as a sturdy foundation for a bustling sourdough-tropolis. Students learn how to continually care for their yeast starter, studying how time, temperature, moisture, and impromptu poetry slams affect the culture’s growth.
Danny Gabriner's first business model was a little odd: he wanted to bake 1,000 loaves of bread, and give them all away. It turned out to be a winning proposition, though, charming friends, neighbors, and strangers into supporting his newly proposed bakery, Sour Flour. In addition to crafting artisanal breads, Danny saw Sour Flour's mission incorporating education, whether it came through teaching people to appreciate good bread with a free loaf or instructing them in the process of baking some of their very own.
While he still doesn't operate out of a formal brick and mortar location, Danny shares the fruits of his labor in breadbaskets across the city. He sticks to his philanthropic roots, too, spearheading Bagel Monday at La Victoria Bakery, in which bakers gift fresh, free bagels to all comers. Classes at La Victoria are taught by Sour Flour Breaducator Cat Shimizu, who teaches students how to care for their wild yeast starter, bake rustic loaves, and figure out when a crust is ready to molt.