There’s a new sourdough culture in the county, and we have the COVID-19 pandemic to thank because it allowed baker Mattea Fischer to devote herself to building her new business.
“I found myself without a full-time job, and I’m very privileged to have benefited in some small way as I was forced to create a position for myself, which had always been my future goal,” Fischer said.
Her new venture, called Cultured DC, is currently focused on baking sourdough loaves to sell through online ordering and at Door County farmers’ markets this summer, with plans to expand into more fermented goods down the road.
Bread baking became an interest for Fischer early in life as she grew up surrounded by Jewish families in eastern Pennsylvania. Challah – a Jewish egg bread – was the first bread she baked as a teenager.
“I have fond memories of celebrating Shabbat by breaking a loaf of challah among friends and family, and that is perhaps where my love of bread stems from. From there, I experimented with yeasted doughs but didn’t fall in love with breadmaking until I started my sourdough culture.”
During the winter downtime in Door County, Fischer’s sourdough hobby became a passion and is now a business.
“Sourdough stole my heart as it’s an endless learning process and combines my love for fermentation with that of natural and organic foods.”
Cultured DC sourdough loaves are currently being sold at the Fish Creek and Jacksonport farmers’ markets and by getting in touch on Instagram at @cultureddc. Gluten-free sourdough is also available to order online at cultured-dc.com.
The budding business is operating with sustainability in mind by committing to creating as little waste as possible, and by using recycled paper packaging and no plastic except for the packaging of certain specialty flours.
As for the additional fermented foods, several items are in the works. Fischer plans to make sauerkraut and kimchi in small batches – using only vegetables grown in her own garden or by local farmers – plus a variety of naturally fermented vinegars.
“There’s so much possibility outside of your garden-variety apple-cider vinegar and most store-bought vinegars, except the former are devoid of natural bacteria.”
How does Fischer recommend using her sourdough bread? She said it’s great for sandwiches and French toast, as the foundation for savory and sweet bread puddings, added to casseroles, dipped in olive oil or balsamic and herbs, as croutons, and for stuffing.
But her first response was the simplest: “The best way to use any fresh bread? With copious amounts of butter.”