About Bread++

Hi, I’m Jonathan. I've been an avid cook and baker for more than 30 years.

Jonathan Mandel, owner of Bread++ Sprouted Grain Bakery, holds his sourdough starter.

When I was in my 20s, I baked bread. I enjoyed making artful healthy food out of a few basic ingredients. But after a few years I stopped, because the bread I baked was not as good as the artisan bread I could buy.

About two years ago, I rediscovered baking when I found a recipe for no-knead bread. I made the bread and was astounded at the result. It was easily the equal of anything I could buy. It introduced several new ideas about how to create bread dough, work with it, and bake it that revolutionized the result for me.

I traced that recipe back to one of its roots with Chad Robertson at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Chad's book taught me how to build a sourdough starter. I’d tried other methods in the past, and they never worked. But Chad’s method worked. The sourdough starter I created more than two years ago is the one I feed and use today.

Soon I was making beautiful, tall loaves with burnished, crackly crusts and creamy, complex crumb.

There was only one problem. My girlfriend Susannah refused to eat it. I was making the best bread in the world, and the best woman in the world wouldn’t eat it. What the duck?

Instead, she brought home this hippy dippy sprouted bread in plastic bags. It looked like brown Wonder Bread. She’d eat that, but not my bread. What the duck?

One day she brought home a bag of sprouted whole wheat flour from Whole Foods. “Here,” she said, “Make me some bread from this.” So I did. I used that flour in place of the whole wheat flour in the 70% whole wheat bread I was making at the time -- and I was absolutely stunned by the result. I had never tasted bread like this before. There was a quantum leap in the flavor of my bread. It was sweeter, more complex, and, for lack of English words that can describe it more accurately, it tasted more like wheat than any bread I’d ever had. I could hardly believe it.

At that point I pivoted my baking entirely toward sprouted grains. First, because it tasted better. Second, because Susannah would eat it. Third, because it’s better for you, more digestible, with more vitamins and minerals. When I did that, I started to realize that I was making something unique.

Most sprouted bread available today, like the bread above, is what’s called a pulp bread: it’s made by sprouting wheat, then grinding the wet sprouts into a paste, adding vital wheat gluten (because grinding wet wheat damages the proteins that form gluten), sugar (in the form of dates, raisins, honey or molasses) and yeast. It’s engineered to look like bread, taste good to American palates, and fit around sandwiches and into toasters.

My bread is made by sprouting wheat, then drying it and milling it into flour. I don’t add vital wheat gluten. I don’t add fruit juice or sugar. I don’t add anything except flour, starter, water and salt. In fact for my breads, I don’t use any refined white flour. They’re 100% whole grain. The result is more complex and delicious than any bread I’ve ever had, by a wide margin.

It’s also healthy in a way very few grain-based products even approach. It gives people delicious access to whole grains, which are missing from most people’s diets. And it delivers a new dimension and depth of flavor. You’ve never tasted bread like this before.

As I began to see what I’m making as a unique, artisan product, I started to think about what it would be like to turn this into a bakery. But for most of the next year, my thoughts were “Absolutely no. This is a hobby, not a business. Don’t go there.”

In March of 2017 I invented myself as the possibility of Dreams Fulfilled. I saw that my job on this planet is to be a clearing in which people's dreams are fulfilled. And I admitted to myself and Susannah that my dream is to make a sprouted grain bakery.

Why "Bread++"?

Back in the 1990s I was a computer programmer. The way you go from one thing to the next in some computer languages is by putting two plus signs after it. My bread is the next thing in bread. It's not the same as bread. It's bread++!

 

 

 

Bread++ Sprouted Sourdough Bakery | 415-449-0494

Jonathan Mandel, owner of Bread++ Sprouted Grain Bakery, holds his sourdough starter.