Meet Sadie Scheffer, a San Francisco–based gluten free sourdough bread baker with the quiet confidence of Mona Lisa and loaves of bread that’ll inspire you to shamelessly indulge again.
STANDING BEHIND A TABLE at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo in San Francisco, doling out loaves of freshly baked sourdough from her two-year-old baking company, Bread SRSLY, and surrounded by clamoring fans, Sadie Scheffer seems more like a celebrity chef than a twenty-five- year-old startup baker. But after crafting what is undoubtedly the best allergy-friendly sourdough bread in the Bay Area and beyond, her star status is warranted. Sadie’s bread does not taste like good gluten-free bread.
It tastes like good bread. Moist and airy with a hard crust and trademark sourdough tang, it’s the kind of stuff that James Beard was talking about when he said, “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” While Bread SRSLY will elevate any sandwich, heaven can be found in a simply toasted and buttered slice.
Made using whole-grain, certified gluten-free flours and local and organic produce, it’s also egg-, soy-, nut-, sugar-, dairy-, tapioca-, garbanzo bean–, potato starch–, and baker’s yeast–free, making it a lifeline for pretty much any food- restricted bread lover lamenting the loss of one of life’s most glorious eating pleasures.
But Sadie’s sourdough is not just a love story for those pining for the most satisfying of glutenous trysts. Its creation was literally a labor of love that came about in an attempt to bake her way into a man’s heart. A fresh New York transplant in 2010 still smitten with her gluten-intolerant San Franciscan college crush, Sadie rolled up her sleeves and headed into the kitchen. After toying with gluten-free bread recipes for six months, she started selling whatever flavor she came up with— salsa, coconut, tomato-basil—through a blog. She announced the week’s flavors online, took orders, and delivered about twenty loaves a week by bicycle to locals. About fourteen months in, she was still working as a barista at San Francisco’s famed Blue Bottle Coffee when she created the sourdough recipe that stuck. A subsequent plug on DailyCandy in 2012 caused a business spike so dramatic she was clocking a hundred bike miles weekly before hiring a small fleet of bike- delivery women, securing a co-op commercial kitchen, and baking full time.
Today, Sadie’s business is still on the rise. The seven hundred loaves of sourdough she bakes each week in a gluten-free commercial kitchen are sold to nearly twenty Bay Area boutique grocers and a growing number of addicts across the country who get their fix by mail order. She’s got two baking employees and enough business to keep her elbow-deep in dough for years to come. Oh, and she got the guy, too.
Shop here to find Bread SRSLY products and use code GFFmag to get free shipping on your first order!
Story Erika Lenkert / Photography Maren Caruso
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