GOTG Profile: Rose Lawrence, Artisnal Baker & Owner of Red Bread
By Kellie Edson & Chantel Elder
Who doesn’t like bread? Like, fresh out of the oven, beautiful sourdough slathered in butter, bread? And donuts, and pie, and cookies. But what if I told you that not only does Sacramento have a hidden gem that includes FREE delivery of all of the above, but that these goodies are also naturally leavened with wild yeast, contain almost 100% locally sourced California ingredients, less sugar than your average baked goods and are also incredibly delicious?
Yes. Red Bread has come to Sacramento, people, and boy are we lucky.
The brainchild of Rose and David Lawrence, Red Bread began as a two-bike operation in Venice Beach, CA which quickly expanded and sold out at the Santa Monica Farmer’s market each week. Red Bread won countless awards and continued to grow while they called the Los Angeles area home. But soon, as Rose and David found themselves in search of a slower paced quality of life, and thanks to David’s great grandmother owning a lovely house in East Sacramento, the couple found themselves as Sacramento transplants. I met Rose recently at the Zuda Yoga Assistant Program where she so generously brought our class her amazing sourdough donuts. I knew at first taste that I had to write about her unique operation and story.
A few weeks later, Rose invited Chantel and myself over to her house for a little breakfast party to chat about Red Bread – and of course, try more goodies! Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
What makes Red Bread Different from other bakeries?
Our ingredients are different. Foods treated differently look and taste different. In a good way. Because we use whole wheat, unprocessed ingredients, less sugar, more spices the treats are more filling. You will eat less and feel more satisfied. You know how sometimes you want to eat an entire bag of Oreos because you are just wanting them to taste like chocolate, but they really don’t. With our stuff, you are getting real, quality chocolate, and raw sugar that still has it’s molasses intact. So you don’t need as much! We also use wild yeast and sourdough, so it’s much more digestible than your average baked good.
Why “Red Bread?” Is there a story behind the name?
Well, I really like that there is a word for both red and bread in every language. Bread is something everyone has a really specific reaction to. The smell of bread is something that floods our body with endorphins and gives us all the feels. Red, as a color goes straight to our hypothalamus gland. It’s visceral, synonymous with so many things, love, passion, alertness. Plus, I always like a good alliteration!
Tell us about this whole wild yeast/sourdough thing?
So you know how Gluten is this big “buzz word” these days. While celiac disease is a true allergy, a lot of the fear surrounding gluten has a lot more to do with just not understanding it. It’s the commercial processing of the gluten protein that makes it hard to digest, not the protein itself. In fact, gluten is a protein that is fundamental to civilization. Grains have the second highest amount of protein, just below red meat but they have to be bioavailable. So what we do at Red Bread is use wild yeast starters that aren’t over processed and allow them the time to ferment. This not only gives the food rich complex flavors, but it also makes them more digestible.
What’s one baking tool you couldn’t live without?
My hands. And a hand mill. We do mill our grains by hand.
Are there any other women business owners in Sacramento that you’re crushing on?
Oh man, well I love the woman behind Sweet Dozen. She has such great variety and flavors. I also really love Haley at Color Me Classic. We met at an event and I feel like we have a special connection.
We’ve heard you teach classes too?
Yes! I teach at the Co-op and also offer private classes. Teaching is really important to me, because we all used to bake and cook this way, and it fell out of favor as things began to get more processed, so I like helping people find their way back to this stuff. We also donate a percentage of the profits from classes to underserved communities. I am really a fan of the idea of “Capitalism for Good.”
You’ve been up here for over a year now, how do you like our little city?
Our quality of life is so much better here. The pace is slower, and there’s also a built in appreciation for food in Sacramento. With the commitment to Farm-to-Fork, everything. We are actually surprised with how happy we are here.
Well we are hoping to partner with other brands, do pop-up shops, more events and different classes. Stay tuned! And eventually we’d like to expand and open a larger production facility, also. Right now we are sharing a commercial kitchen, but being able to have our own facility would be wonderful.
Oh, and what’s your favorite bread?
Oh man, that’s so hard….to eat: Pizza. Can I say pizza? I love pizza. To make: Babka. Baking is very yogic for me, and there are so many steps involved with Babka, you need to be present the whole time you are making it. I really like that.
Rose is also committed to getting as close as possible to zero waste, through eco friendly packaging, suppliers and composting. Pictured are all the lovely treats she made us – including her classic sourdough bread, blueberry preserves, Arkansas Black Apple Pie, Chocolate Transparent Pie and Cracked Cookies. All are available for free delivery in Sacramento with the code “Sactown”!
You can find out more about Rose and Red Bread at www.eatredbread.com and be sure to follow her on Instagram to see more beautiful pictures of all her treats @redbread