Some breads don't fit the normal mode: Cases in point are the yeast-free, low-sodium and even flourless loaves baked and sold in North County.
THE PACIFIC BAKERY
514 S. Hill St.
If a yeast-free Blueberry Thrill or onion bagel strikes your fancy, head for Pacific Bakery in Oceanside, an island of serenity in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Hill Street.
Pacific Bakery is one of five in the United States specializing solely in yeast-free goods. The breads, bagels and muffins are baked daily and shipped as far away as Oklahoma.
The organic products and cookbooks on display, as well as the material specializing in vegetarian and macrobiotic foods, reflect the particular interest of Sylvia Lowery, who owns the bakery along with her husband, Chuck. The Lowerys grind their own flour for their 12 different breads.
Sylvia Lowery, a registered nurse who is well-versed on the subject of macrobiotic cookery, serves daily lunches at the cafe and offers regular cooking demonstrations. She presents monthly classes for those who want to learn to bake their own yeast free, low fat and cholesterol-free products.
Pacific Bakery recently added a new line of sandwiches, salads and sushi rolls to its deli case. On Easter Sunday, Sylvia will prepare a special vegetarian feast for $15 a person. Reservations are required.
Pacific Bakery hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday, except for special events. Average price of a 1 1/2-pound loaf of yeast-free bread is $2.99. Ships nationwide via UPS.
MAHLER'S MEISTER BAKERY
1943 Plaza Real
"From the Alps to the USA" proclaims the label from Mahler's Bakery in Oceanside.
Fred Mahler, a native of Cologne, Germany, comes from a long line of bakers. Mahler opened his original St. Moritz bakery in Los Angeles in the early '60s, and recently moved to North County.
"I came here to grow," he says, citing increasing customer demand for his hearty, whole grain breads, all made according to traditional German methods. Even the flour is imported from Germany. "We specialize in whole grain breads for health-conscious people," he says.
In addition to the whole grain breads, Mahler produces an unusual line of whole wheat pastries, such as a whole wheat pecan, almond nut, and poppy seed rolls.
Mahler's Meister Bakery primarily sells wholesale. Walk-in trade, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Ships nationwide via UPS.
440 Venture St.
One baker intent upon producing a bread as delicious as it is healthful is Patricia Turner, owner of Oasis Breads in Escondido.
The bakery specializes in flourless breads, made from ground sprouted wheat. The loaves contain no refined sugar, shortening, dairy product, eggs, oil or preservatives.
The dense Sprouted Wheat bread is made from wheat sprouts, sprouted and ground on the premises, and mixed with water, locally produced honey, yeast and salt. Oasis's flourless California Fruit Loaf, a best-seller according to Turner, contains wheat sprouts as well as sunflower seeds, "and is so loaded with fruit it's almost like a cake," she says.
"Our bakers have to feel the loaf to make sure it's right," said Turner, adding that everything except the slicing is done by hand at Oasis Breads.
One of the bakery's prized products is the sprouted bread made from a grain called Kamut (the ancient Egyptian word for wheat), and said to have been discovered in an ancient tomb in Egypt's Nile Valley.
The distinctive elongated kernel caught the attention of two Montana farmers, Mac and Bob Quinn, who established its extraordinary nutritional value and began producing it commercially in the early 1980s. Oasis Breads was one of the first to use the unusual product in the area and Kamut bread is now widely available.
Oasis supplies a number of local stores with a dozen varieties of organic breads and ships more than 15,000 pounds of bread each week to 20 states. "If you eat our bread, you'll get hooked" says the Midwestern-born Turner, who is particularly excited about her newest specialty, a bread made from Kashi cereal.
Oasis Breads primarily sells wholesale. Walk-in hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday. Breads cost from $1.89 to $2.59 a loaf. Also available at most health food stores. Ships nationwide via UPS.
LA PROVENCE BAKERY
2131 Las Palmas
French-born Philip Dardaine, the young owner of La Provence Bakery in Carlsbad, came upon his recipe for organic, yeast-free bread while visiting his sister, a nun who lives in a convent in Southern France.
"I saw her make it," says the scholarly looking baker, "and I found the flavor quite unique, so I decided to make an old-fashioned version of French bread." The young University of San Diego business school graduate returned to France to research the business for three years before deciding to settle with his family in San Diego.
He started out marketing his flaky croissants and oversized Danish pastries to upscale cafes in the county. Le Moulin, the label Dardaine uses to identify his organic French sourdough bread made from 10 different grains, is also making inroads among North County consumers.
The young entrepreneur, in business barely a year, rises at the crack of dawn to bake an assortment of French specialty breads for restaurants and hotels in the area. For that, Dardaine imported several electric brick ovens from France. The scent of freshly baked bread wafting through the plant attests to the fact that these days, Dardaine's ovens are rarely turned off.
La Provence Bakery primarily sells wholesale. Also available at local health food stores. Walk-in hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-noon Saturday Special orders filled with 24 hours notice.