Rediscovering the love of artisan bread, La Brea Bakery brings tradition to the table


Artisan bread deserves a spot on the food table. La Brea Bakery highlights this baking tradition in ways that will have people craving that crusty good deliciousness.

Not all breads are created equal. A true artisan bread is a food to be celebrated by foodies. The care and tradition that goes into that perfectly baked bite comes with years of experience. La Brea Bakery honors that baking tradition with all its exceptional offerings.

La Brea Bakery was founded in 1989. When the first store opened in Los Angeles, the focus was six artisan breads. Started by esteemed chef, Nancy Silverton, the bakery’s purpose was simple. The breads sought to celebrate a passion for food. From the perfect ingredients to the care in baking, the attention to detail comes through in each and every bite.

Through the years, bread has somewhat lost its panache. From low carb choices to diets to substandard products, people have forgotten the pure joy of biting into a perfect piece of artisan bread. When made with thought, care and dedication, a beautiful bread needs to be celebrated.

One of the reasons why La Brea Bakery has become a legend in the baking industry is the brand’s continued dedication to making the best product possible. While the bakery has received numerous accolades over the years, the focus on the product never falters.

Each and every time you enjoy a La Brea Bakery bread, that first memory of bread perfection is recalled. From crunchy exterior to the luscious interior, these breads are always satisfying.

Sourdough Baguette from La Brea Bakery, photo provided by La Brea Bakery

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with La Brea Bakery’s SVP of R&D, Jonathan Davis. He graciously gave his insight on artisan breads, food trends and breaking the bread is bad notion.

Cristine Struble: What is a simple explanation for the difference between bread and artisan bread?

Jonathan Davis: Artisan bread is unique because it’s made through old world baking methods, and frequently incorporates high quality, simple ingredients. At La Brea Bakery, every step of the process is a deliberate choice as we hand-craft each loaf of artisan bread. This attention to detail extends to the flour type, how long the fermentation process lasts, how the loaf is shaped and more.

CS: For many people, the crust on an artisan bread is so very satisfying, why does artisan bread have such a divine crust?

JD: Baking true artisan bread is a time intensive process and requires close attention to detail. La Brea Bakery’s loaves require a full 24 hours of fermentation, which plays a major part in how the finished product tastes and particularly how crunchy the crust is. Most people who enjoy artisan breads are looking for that noticeably crisp yet chewy crust, which is a direct result of using old school baking methods, like using a particular kind of dough, a lengthy fermentation process and the use of high-quality ingredients.

CS: One of La Brea Bakery’s most iconic breads is the sourdough bread, why is it so important to have a “good” starter?

JD: A good starter makes all the difference, as it affects every aspect of bread –texture, crust, crumb and the overall taste. La Brea Bakery has used the same starter for 30 years developed by our founder Nancy Silverton, made up of yeast, flour, water and organic grapes. By using high-quality ingredients, we’re able to incorporate our sourdough starter in all of our breads. Our customers love that it’s not overwhelming, but has a subtle, tasteful flavor that they’ve come to recognize when they enjoy our breads.

CS: More chefs and restaurants are starting to bring back bread courses, is delicious artisan bread seeing a resurgence in popularity?

JD: Bread is definitely experiencing a resurgence right now. Consumers have abandoned the notion that “bread is bad,” particularly when it’s made with the right ingredients. There’s also been sufficient research over the past few years around how certain breads, like sourdough, have health benefits due to the long fermentation process. I think this, along with the fact that bakeries nationwide are introducing more varieties of wholesome, handmade artisan breads is putting bread back in the spotlight.

CS: Are there tricks to pairing a bread with a dinner?

JD: When it comes to pairing bread with dinner, while most of it is a matter of personal preference, there are certain breads that pair nicely with certain foods. La Brea Bakery’s French Dinner Roll is crisp with a mild taste that goes well with most meals, but perfectly complements homemade soup or stew. Our Sourdough baguette pairs nicely with steak and potatoes and offering up the Olive Loaf as a side to a light pasta dish will enhance the Mediterranean flavors of the kalamata olives.

CS: While there are many different breads on La Brea Bakery’s menu, is there a best way to serve certain breads? 

JD: La Brea Bakery prides itself on being able to offer a wide variety of options for every palette when it comes to bread. I’d recommend pairing our traditional French baguette with butter or an Italian olive oil. Our savory breads can be enjoyed as is, like our Jalapeno Cheddar Loaf, Three Cheese Semolina or Toasted Sunflower Honey Loaf; and I’d recommend whipping up some French toast with fresh berries with our sweeter breads, like our Cranberry Walnut Loaf.

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I would like to thank La Brea Bakery and Jonathan Davis for providing great insight on artisan bread.

La Brea Bakery has numerous cafés locations in the United States. The flagship store is located in Los Angeles, California.