Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lodge Bread: Culver City

Every food centric magazine or site in Los Angeles is talking about Lodge Bread these days. The tiny bakery is the brainchild and pet project of three chef friends -- Or Amsalam, Alan Craig, and Alexander Phaneuf. The three met cooking at a Los Angeles farm to table restaurant where by coincidence as their interest grew, more and more breads and tartines showed up on the menu.
Next step Phaneuf's backyard, where the three started baking for chef friends and local restaurants.
Last year a storefront. A tidy LA bread success story.
But the real story at Lodge Bread is the bread itself. Wild fermented, naturally leavened, whole grain loaves with a dark, thick, brown addictively crunchy crust. These are round, hearty, country loaves with complex almost sweet flavor from whole grains and the slightest sour tang from long fermentation. The bakery -- if you can call a small counter and a couple tables where patrons enjoy a menu of toasts that -- smells like warm bread tinged with tomatoes -- a pleasant vaguely acidic note, not unlike Ethiopian teff injera. Patrons devoted to flaky white baguettes or soft sandwich breads will be confused by Lodge's offerings. The mahogany brown loaves are unique. There are no others like them in the area and few in this country.
Oh, and did I mention they are delicious?

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