Sourdough Dough Off: Gastown Edition

by | Aug 23, 2018 | Food + Drink

We continue are search for the best sourdough in the land and this round we pit two of Gastown’s favourite bakeries against each other – Nelson the Seagull vs. Pure Bread.

For this round we invited the folks at L’Atelier Coworking to judge in the taste test, judging both breads on taste, texture, crust and that indescribable “something extra” that makes the bread special.

Nelson the Seagull has been a go-to for sourdough lovers for since the cozy bakery/café opened in 2011. Owned by South African baker Jonathan Sneglar, this café has a parlour-like feel, like your hanging out at your grandmothers house, but in 1940. It’s the perfect space for a cold rainy day.

The sourdough loaves reflect the space, large and rustic. The crust is thick and robust, while has a nice glutenous pull to it.

Pure Bread is a sweet lovers delight. Everyday a smorgasbord of sweet loafs, cookies, brownies, squares and pastries are arranged on the counter. It’s a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

The bakery is small and narrow with bench tables that line the walls. It’s a charming space with bakers working in the back and the servers wearing handkerchiefs in their hair like Rosie the Riveter. Pure Bread is not as known for their savoury pastries and breads, but they do make a sourdough out of their Whistler bakery, which is brought to Gastown early every morning.

Like Nelson the Seagull, the Pure Bread sourdough is a reflection of the bakery. Made as a round loaf, with a square pattern carved on top and floured rather heavily. It is more decoration than the Nelson the Seagull loaf and a bit more fine in texture and taste.

After much debate, the folks at L’Atelier decided that Nelson the Seagull was the winner. Here’s why:

Pure Bread

This bread in taste and texture was more of a French loaf than a sourdough. There was not much tang to it and the bread was soft and not super stretchy. It is a good basic loaf for everyday eats, like sandwiches and the softness of the bread is good for those who don’t like a hard crust.

Nelson the Seagull

This is some old world rustic sourdough that is hearty and satisfying. It’s a little on the tough side, but the flavour is deep and complex with the right amount of tang. The texture is springy and the crust has an unexpected crispiness to it. Fantastic with grass fed butter from Golden Ears Cheese Crafters.

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Excellent work. Well done you. Bravo.

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