Sculpted Bread Loaves

Cakes steal much of the mainstream spotlight when it comes to sculpting creativity. But in the baking business, “sculpted” doesn’t always refer to cakes. At Boudin Bakery in San Francisco, CA, sculpted sourdough bread loaves are big business.

At its flagship location in Fisherman’s Wharf, Boudin’s bakers work behind a 30-foot observation window. Led by Master Baker Fernando Padillaach, customers are able to watch them hand-craft each bread loaf.

While traditional-style bread rounds and loaves are made at Boudin, the sculpted loaves are the main attraction. Without sacrificing Boudin’s signature sourdough taste, the bakers turn bread dough into all kinds of shapes, including:

• Turtles
• Cable Cars
• Crabs
• Hearts
• Alligators
• Bunnies
• Shamrocks
• Grape Clusters
• Pumpkins
• Turkeys
• Holiday Trees
• Snowmen
• Stockings

Each of these sculpted loaves can be purchased individually, but Boudin also offers customers a fun alternative. People can join the bakery’s bread club and receive two, one-pound loaves in the appropriate seasonal shape for nine months out of the year. Once they join, they don’t have to do anything but check the mail; the bakery automatically processes, charges and ships the members’ orders every month—an innovative way to draw repeat sales.

The next time you hear the word “sculpt,” don’t let your brain automatically envision cakes. Take a look around your bakery and see if any of your other products can take the sculpting centerstage for awhile. If the show is good enough, your customers will come back again and again.