Sourdough Breads from the Store

La Brea's French Baguette

La Brea's French Baguette

I couln’t believe it but I found some La Brea Bakery bread in a Hilo store! Not only that , but I found some San Francisco Sourdough bread as well from Raymond’s Bakery. So I bought them and brought them home to see how they compared ( In the last post there was a a contest for a free sourdough. The fourth responder, Patty, is the winner of the Hawaiian Sourdough Starter, please email me with your contact info Patty).

When I got home, I popped the La Brea French Baguette into the oven to crisp. I served it with a salad and pasta dish. The baguette was beautiful, it had a terrific crust and very pretty slashes all down the crust. It weighed 10.5 ounces. I cut the loaf into several chunks and we had them with lots of butter. The interior was holey and light, a very nice crumb.

Baguette Crumb

Baguette Crumb


I have to admit though, that I taste the commercial yeast flavor in the bread and was just a bit disappointed. I wish I could call Nancy and tell her to cut back to the barest pinch of commercial yeast, as it is coming through a bit strong. It is probably my fault. I am pretty much a sourdough purist (It is very rare that I use any commercial yeast) and I can taste the commercial  yeast in sourdough when other people can’t seem to. The ingredients listed are:

Unbleached Flour, water, sour culture, salt, yeast, semolina and some vitamins.

Just a tad too much commercial yeast

Just a tad too much commercial yeast

All around the baguette was a pretty good loaf, I especially liked the crust.


For the Raymond’s Sourdough bread, I popped it into the oven for ten minutes and served it for lunch the next day.

Raymond's Sourdough Bread

Raymond's Sourdough Bread

The crust looked beautiful even before I crisped it in the oven:

Bread before crisping

Bread before crisping

Here is a loaf crisped and warm from the oven:
Hot and crispy

Hot and crispy

The two loaves together weighed one pound, but they were surprising large for only being one half pound each. They were almost ten inches in diameter and had great oven spring. This bread was surprisingly good. The crust was crunchy crispy, with lovely blisters. The interior didn’t have large holes, but was very fluffy and feather light. What surprised me most was how  tangy this bread was. The flavor wasn’t the deep rich complex flavor you get when you bake with sourdough/motherdough at home, but it was very good and satisfying. I also could taste a very small trace of commercial yeast, but the flavor wasn’t ruined by too much commercial yeast. I am guessing they use a very small amount in the breads they bake, not enough to overwhelm the sour flavors.
The ingredients are:
Enriched Flour, Doh Tone, water, salt and yeast.
The Doh Tone may be the source of the sour flavor as  a-amylase helps contribute to the sour flavor. I feel this bread was a great treat, but I still prefer the chewy holey crumb and crisp crunch of homemade sourdogh with it’s subtle complet flavors. I don’t understand how high yield commercial bakeries lose this flavor, but they sure do.
Raymond Sourdough crumb

Raymond Sourdough crumb

Bottom line, if you don’t have time to bake sourdough this week and you want to get some at the local store, go for it, there are some pretty good sourdough’s out there when you need a break from baking. 

10 Responses

  1. Hi Teresa,

    Thanks for the Hawaiian Sourdough Starter! I feel bad, though, since I won the macadamia nuts (which went into my “Meteoric Pina Colada Macadamia Nut Bars” for a cookie potluck at church!). Given that info, I’d be happy if you want to pick another winner. If not, my address is: deleted(I got your address Patty).

    Thanks again…


  2. Hi Patty,you are just a winning kind of lady. I am happy to send you the Hawaiian starter. I will send out your starter out next week. Enjoy! Teresa

  3. Great site! I’ve been experimenting with bread baking a lot in the last few weeks and can’t seem to get enough of it. Then I ran across your blog and saw that you were able to move to da Big Island! Yay!
    I used to live in Hilo on Ohia St. and also in the jungle around Kalapana some 30 years ago, but moved back to Bakersfield CA to start a family and a career in live musical theatre (in Bakersfield, no less!). Owned two dinner theatres and two family theatres in that time and wrote over forty shows. I guess working in the papaya fields just wasn’t my idea of a lifelong career…
    I was also wondering how you like the Big Island, and how your macadamia adventure has turned out. We always met the greatest people and as an unrepentant haole hippie at heart, I always liked the communal nature of meals with my friends and neighbors there.
    I’m sure some things have changed since then, but I’ll bet not nearly as quickly (or as negatively) as things seemed to have gone in the rest of the country (although there are fewer giant cane spiders and flying cucaraches in Bakersfield than Hilo).
    I’m seriously considering moving back to Hilo or Pahoa and living in a thirty foot diameter yurt . There’s actually a yurt company right in Hilo, but I’ve taught myself how to make one as well. I’ve also learned a lot of ways to go off-grid and there seems no shortage of rainwater for house and garden…heh heh heh. Some days I looked for Noah’s ark. My first trip to the Kona side was a revelation.
    Since I’m not overly fond of hot kitchens, I’ve taught myself how to make my own clay and chopped straw bread ovens for the backyard, which are small and can be built in a day or two with very little expense, so I’m sure I’ll build a few when I get to the Big Island. In any case, feel free to drop me a line and give me your honest assessment of life in Paradise these days. Aloha, and thanks for a very pleasant blog. All the best to you and your family.

  4. You don’t know me, but I enjoyed your blog, so much this morning when I was researching sour dough. I hope you don’t mind, but I posted your blog on my blog. You are one talented baker. I will be making some of your recipes as soon as my sourdough starter is ready. I am originally from Alaska and was raised on sourdough!

    Thank you for taking me back to some special memories. Love your pic’s.

    Blessings, Linda

  5. Hi Dave, since I don’t know what Hawaii was like before I came three months ago, I can’t let you know if it has changed or is better or worse. It does take some getting used to. Being warm all of the time was foreign to me, but it sure feels great. I once lived in a situation where we had no water or electricity for three years so I understand remote living, but it still has it’s challenges. I do like how kick back people are about many things. You can get away with just about anything without even raising eyebrows. I love the diversity of cultures here. There are some negagtives as well, but they would be different for each person, except maybe how incredibly HIGH the food prices….all prices …are. It makes sense to bake your own bread here! Most of all the incredible beauty of Hawaii is really unbelievable, I often feel like I am living in a fairy story (or maybe a jungle story). You would have to tour the island to see how many various types of climate there is. Desertd and mountains, with snow! Lava beds, jungle, grasslands, beaches, etc. In a six hour drive around the island you will see all of them. The best to you and your family as well, Teresa

  6. Hi Linda, thankyou for your kind words. I am happy for you to link to my blog, post again and leave us the link to your blog as well. Happy baking, Teresa

  7. I believe Nancy Silverton has sold La Brea Bread which is why it probably tastes of commercial yeast..

  8. Hi Betty, that would explain the loss of flavor. I noticed it last year when I bought some La Brea bread while I was in California, but I hesitated to mention it, as I was disappointed and hoped it was a temporary glitch.. Thanks Betty, Teresa

  9. […] sourdough baguette slices, […]

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