How did a local Toronto bakery started in 2011 come to the attention of a nearly century-old multinational baking company this month with their Canadian sourdough and joined their sourdough library?
Puratos is a leading purveyor and developer of baking, patisserie, and chocolate products. We were founded in 1919 in Belgium but now operate in countries around the world, including Canada. Amongst our many industry-leading innovations is the unique Sourdough Library in St. Vith, Belgium.
The Library is a repository for more than a 100 remarkable sourdough cultures, each preserved, studied, and kept alive for the future. Over 700 strains of wild yeast and 1,500 lactic bacteria have been identified here. We also subdivide cultures and ship them to other locations to ensure the survival of each. We love sourdough, and take it very seriously!
We are always on the lookout for new sourdough to add to the Library. Some makers contact us directly, and they can register their recipe in our free online library. Others, we seek out ourselves. That’s how we found Blackbird Baking Co. in Toronto.
There are a lot of bakeries in the Greater Toronto Area, and many of them do great work. Blackbird stood out thanks to the unwavering application of some old-fashioned ideals – glowing customer reviews and “Best of Toronto” awards helped, too!
Founder and baker Simon Blackwell has steadfastly refused to rush either his business or his baking. He honed his craft, applied his wealth of culinary knowledge, and took one step at a time. Though any successful business owner may at some point be tempted to streamline production to churn out more product, Simon has always balked at these suggestions. In the baking world, quality takes time. For Simon and Blackbird Baking Co., that means days to create a loaf, months to develop a sourdough culture, and years to build a business from a one-man show to a team of some 25 employees.
So now this one-off, neighbourhood bakery in an urban Canadian market will have its product enshrined in a European facility dedicated to preserving the very best sourdoughs of the world. The keys to their success? Authenticity, and a willingness to share.
By not only staying true to your own traditions but also actively protecting them, you secure the integrity of your product. At the same time, whether you know it or not, you’re creating your own story. Sharing that story openly invites resharing, and, perhaps more importantly, can inspire others to stick to their principles. Building your brand and your industry at the same time is a win/win in my book.
Do you have a sourdough story to tell?
Share yours at the online sourdough library at www.questforsourdough.com.