In the winter of 2016, Executive Chef Phil McDonald and his team started experimenting with a sourdough bread starter at Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar. And with dedication and practice, soon they were baking some pretty killer sourdough in their ovens. At first they were only baking bread for Bud & Alley’s Restaurant Group, but officially debuted their breads to the public at the Seaside Farmers Market in May 2016. The feedback from the market was immediately enthusiastic.
“The Seaside Farmers Market was a no brainer for Black Bear Bread Co. to align with,” says McDonald, executive chef and partner. “The Seaside Farmers Market is the gold standard of farmers markets in the fact that they are showcasing not only the area’s best farmers, but artisans as well. We appreciate its policy of ‘everything made by hand or grown yourself.’ That is a shared philosophy by which Black Bear Bread Co. stands for, so we felt that we were in great company.”
“The very first farmers market in the area was Daryl Davis’, located in the early Perspicasity market,” adds Dave Rauschkolb, managing partner. “This renewed tradition, under the steady guidance of Jenifer Kuntz, has again made Seaside the heart of the community, embracing our local farmers and producers.”
The inspiration for Black Bear Bread Company came from McDonald’s and Rauschkolb’s shared goal to bring a true artisan bakery to South Walton and 30A. Together with the expertise of head baker Debbie Swenerton, Black Bear Bread Co.’s focus is always on making the tastiest and best bread. We’re talking bread made naturally from a fermentation process. They will supply retail and wholesale for local restaurants.
While the Seaside Farmers Market goers have loved Black Bear Bread, their neighborhood bakery, coffee shop and all-day seasonally-sourced driven café will permanently reside in Grayton Beach. In case you were wondering, Black Bear Bread Co. was named for the neighboring black bears that reside behind their Grayton Beach bakery. When they first started testing sourdough starters, a bear was found climbing into the dumpster to eat the discarded starters, “The farmers market’s overwhelmingly positive response gave us the confidence to move forward with our café location in Grayton Beach,” Rauschkolb says.
As they experiment and test recipes, Black Bear Bread baked goods continue to evolve. But they include their most popular breads — a naturally leavened country sourdough, multigrain sourdough, baguettes, focaccia, bagels, challah, cinnamon rolls and cookies. Black Bear Bread Co. shop and café recently opened at 26 Logan Lane in the Shops of Grayton.
Stay tuned to the latest updates at Black Bear Bread Co. through social media: @blackbearbreadco on Instagram, Black Bear Bread Co. on Facebook and @blackbear30a on Twitter.