Wildwood Flour is a new place for bread, baked goods and more in Pacific Beach
Bakery opened in early July
Sometimes it takes a village to launch a dream. Just ask Noah Orloff and Lauren Silver.
The duo still watch in awe at the long lines out the door of their barely 1-month-old Wildwood Flour Bakery at the corner of Garnet Avenue and Morrell Street that was launched through a creative Kickstarter campaign.
According to their bakery’s website, 245 backers 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 most 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 all things baked from scratch, especially using a sourdough starter base.
They also share a community spirit with a desire to bring culinary kindred souls together who appreciate the labor of love of bread making.
The dough duo started this small, two-person production with the goal of gradually fulfilling their grand mission to grow their shop into “a friendly neighborhood bakery, giving customers the best product possible and letting them know where their food comes from,” Silver said.
Orloff, the designated bread maker, learned his craft from his mother, then honed his skills at the Companion Bakery in Santa Cruz with a tutelage in sourdough techniques and fermentation.
Before the pandemic struck, Orloff opened a cottage food operation in his La Jolla home, selling his breads to local eateries. Soon after he recruited Silver, who was born and raised in Pacific Beach, to work with him in his home-based operation, until they scouted out their slice of baker’s paradise at 1976 Garnet Ave. in PB.
This is where the magic begins. Orloff and Silver are purists. Everything is painstakingly and lovingly created by hand. All their flour is organic, and even the whole-wheat berries are finely ground in-house using a handmade mill. All their vegetables are from small, local farmers. All their eggs are cage free, and all their baked goods contain a sourdough starter.
Want to visit?
Address: 1976 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Hours: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (or until items are sold out – so go early).
Wildwood’s specialty is the sourdough loaves, whether classic or tricked out with kalamata olives, jalapenos, Asiago or American cheddar.
The sourdough bagels, that have received kudos for rivaling authentic New York bagels, are a close second.
Orloff said he enjoys playing with different types of grain, including pumpernickel, rye, barley and others he finds in his travels to incorporate into his creations. He eventually plans to add a gluten-free item to his baking repertoire.
Silver’s contribution comes from the skills and knowledge she garnered south of the border when she spent two and half years in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico in her family’s home. There the budding baker learned about farming, cooking for eco tours and whipping up local delights like conchas, a Mexican sweet bread roll with a crispy cookie top.
At Wildwood, Silver plays with fun interpretations of the pastry by filling it with flan (Mexican custard) and adding different flavors to the dough like chocolate, toasted almond and fig leaf. The latter resembles coconut.
Her other baked goodies include scones that rotate with the seasonal offerings of local farmers. Summer varieties of mouth-watering pluot, fig and walnut, dark chocolate sesame and zucchini herb are sure to please both sweet and savory palates.
There’s more. Try a hand-laminated croissant that is made in small batches with an old-timey rolling pin, glazed apple brioches reminiscent of baked apple fritters, along with a variety of breakfast brioches and sandwiches on classic baguettes, or croissants with assorted soft cheeses. There is also roasted seasonal vegetables like artichoke hearts and eggplant with homemade mayo, pesto or chili oil.
To wash it all down nicely there’s café moto coffee and cold brew blended with homemade oat or rice milk, cold infusions mixed with citrus and fig leaves, and a refreshing fermented pineapple drink called tepache.
Their shop is quaint and folksy with recycled wooden and glass cabinets, shelving and furniture, along with warm lighting streaming through antique chandeliers. While there is no indoor seating, the welcoming wooden porch out front beckons for customers to sit and enjoy their takeaway delights.
What’s down the pike for the enterprising pair? They are looking to incorporate more local farmers’ ingredients in their items, especially goat cheese and milk from a goat farmer in the Mojave Desert. There is also a partnership in the works with Good Neighbor Gardens in which Wildwood’s breads will be added to the small business’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box.
Eventually, Orloff and Silver want to create a grocery side to the bakery to provide a grab and go with butters, cheeses, tinned fish, olives, oils, jams, jellies, eggs and fresh produce to complement their breads. After all, no one can live by bread alone!