April 9, 2016 - 9:55pm
Pioneer Bakery, Venice, California
Here is the story of a once-great sourdough bakery formerly located in Venice, California.
The demise of this bakery got me started baking my own sourdough. The automated bakery in Santa Ana, California, described in the article, still makes bread but it's awful. It has very little authentic sourdough flavor.
I grew up in Ventura, So Cal and Pioneer was the taste of California sourdough to me. Though we have many great bakeries here in Vermont, I always missed that Pioneer flavor. When I recently returned to CA to visit family and friends I was absolutely crushed when I found out that Pioneer had shut down while I was away. Having some of their bread again was something I had missed and was truly looking forward to. Next time I'm out there I'll have to try the new place. Thanks for the link!
I love reading this kind of stuff. So interesting, I only wish there were a bunch of old photos to go with it. Thank you for posting it.
The problem is that sourdough takes such a long time to make, with long proofing times for the sponge and dough. Corporate interests come in and figure they can make more loaves in less time if they make it more like Wonder Bread. You can still buy Pioneer in supermarkets but the tangy flavor is all gone.
I worked at Pioneer Bakery when it opened its new plant in 1994 on Statham Blvd. I did refrigeration and helped fix the problems the installing contractor couldn’t. We stopped for a period when Maple Leaf took over but we’re brought back in when again the installing contractor that did the addition couldn’t keep the plant running.
I miss the Pioneer days...the sourdough was so much better and it just goes to show “smaller is better”