Suzanne Gessler believes in authenticity, which is why she uses a brick oven to bake her sourdough bread.
“I always wanted to bake in a wood-fired brick oven … not only does it have the cachet of old-fashioned baking, it actually produces really great bread,” Gessler says. The oven also produces delicious cakes, cookies, pastries, croissants and morning buns.
After feeling that she was burning out at her job in city planning, Gessler began her career as a baker.
“I wanted to be my own boss,” she says. “I wanted to do something creative. I wanted to work with fun people … I also loved baking and entertaining.”
She attended baking school before opening the bakery in 2015.
“I owe the majority of my success to some really great staff that (have) been with me since the beginning,” Gessler says.
Gessler was interested in making sourdough bread after her husband, who’s of Polish descent, couldn’t find a loaf that tasted like what he ate growing up. However, she believes there is currently a growing market for sourdough in the city.
Since sourdough is created from a living culture, there is a lot of variability.
“There’s a lot of things that play into it … it’s sort of a challenge in that sense,” Gessler says.
“Over time, we just got ... better at it,” says Gessler, explaining the staff’s trial-and-error method.
Since Gessler places importance on supporting local businesses, she hired Canadian masons to build her oven. The bakery also sources their ingredients locally and organically when possible.
“I’m hoping that in a few more years, we’ll just be … an established neighbourhood bakery,” she says.
The Pennyload Bakery is located at 858 Corydon Ave. More info can be found at thepennyloaf.com.