Sometimes it takes a village to launch a dream. Ask Noah Orloff and Lauren Silver.
The duo still gaze in awe at the long lines outside the door of their barely 1 month old Wildwood Flour Bakery on the corner of Garnet Avenue and Morrell Street, which was launched through a creative Kickstarter campaign.
According to their bakery’s website, 245 backers have pledged $23,215 to bring their project to life. The amount exceeded their goal of $20,000 which was needed to convert the 1,700 square foot building constructed in the mid-1940s and recently used as a chiropractic office and wellness center into a bakery.
High school friends who both graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (he majored in Native American studies, she focused on food culture and agriculture), Orloff and Silver share a passion and talent for everything. which is baked from scratch, especially using a sourdough-based starter.
They also share a community spirit with a desire to bring together culinary kindred spirits who appreciate the labor of love in baking bread.
The pasta duo started this small, two-person production with the goal of gradually fulfilling their big mission of making their store “a friendly neighborhood bakery, offering customers the best possible product and letting them know where their food comes from. “Silver said. .
Orloff, the designated baker, learned his trade from his mother, then honed his skills at the Companion Bakery in Santa Cruz with tutoring in sourdough techniques and fermentation.
Before the pandemic hit, Orloff opened an artisan food operation in his La Jolla home, selling his breads to local restaurants. Soon after, he recruited Silver, who was born and raised in Pacific Beach, to work with him in his home business, until they discovered their slice of baker’s paradise at 1976 Garnet Ave. to PB.
This is where the magic begins. Orloff and Silver are purists. Everything is meticulously and lovingly created by hand. All of their flour is organic, and even the whole wheat berries are finely ground in-house using an artisan mill. All of their vegetables are sourced from small local farmers. All of their eggs are cage-free and all of their baked goods contain a sourdough starter.
Wildwood’s specialty is sourdough breads, whether classic or accented with kalamata olives, jalapenos, Asiago or American cheddar.
Sourdough bagels, which have received accolades for rivaling authentic New York bagels, come in second.
Orloff said he likes to play with different types of grains, including pumpernickel, rye, barley and others he finds on his travels to incorporate into his creations. He plans to eventually add a gluten-free element to his baking repertoire.
Silver’s contribution stems from the skills and knowledge she gained south of the border when she spent two and a half years in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico at her family’s home. There, the budding baker learned about farming, cooking for eco-tours, and baking local delicacies like conchas, a sweet Mexican bun with a crunchy cookie top.
At Wildwood, Silver plays with fun takes on the pastry by filling it with flan (Mexican cream) and adding different flavors to the batter like chocolate, toasted almond and fig leaf. This one looks like coconut.
Its other pastries include scones that rotate with seasonal offerings from local farmers. Summer varieties of mouthwatering pluot, fig and nut, dark chocolate sesame and zucchini herb are sure to please both sweet and savory palates.
There is more. Try a hand-rolled croissant made in small batches with an old-fashioned rolling pin, glazed apple buns reminiscent of baked apple fritters, and a variety of buns and breakfast sandwiches on classic baguettes or croissants with an assortment of soft cheeses. There are also roasted seasonal vegetables like artichoke hearts and aubergines with homemade mayonnaise, pesto or chilli oil.
To wash it all down, there’s cafe moto coffee and cold brew mixed with homemade oat or rice milk, cold brew mixed with citrus fruits and fig leaves, and a refreshing drink to fermented pineapple called tepache.
Their shop is quaint and folksy with upcycled wood and glass cabinets, shelves and furniture, and warm lighting streaming through antique chandeliers. Although there is no indoor seating, the inviting wooden front porch invites patrons to sit and enjoy their take-out delights.
What about pike for the enterprising pair? They are looking to incorporate more ingredients from local farmers into their items, especially goat cheese and milk from a Mojave Desert goat farmer. A partnership is also underway with Good Neighbor Gardens in which Wildwood’s breads will be added to the small business’ CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.
Eventually, Orloff and Silver want to create a grocery side at the bakery to offer take-out butters, cheeses, canned fish, olives, oils, jams, jellies, eggs and fresh products to accompany their breads. After all, no one can live on bread alone!