Slow Rise Bakehouse offers 'old-style' loaves, baguettes and ciabattas for sale.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Slow Rise Bakehouse owner Dave Ferrier selects a loaf of bread for a customer.There's something undeniably romantic about it: A downtown corner bakery, from which delicious smells begin wafting early in the morning, after the baker walks to work and dons his apron and begins to bake his bread.

Even the bread at Slow Rise Bakehouse has a touch of romance to it. Owner and baker Dave Ferrier, who lives just a few blocks away, described it as "old-style bread" — sourdoughs with a very short list of ingredients, from which flavor derives from the fermentation process and perhaps whatever nuts, seeds, dried fruits, olives or herbs he adds to variations on his signature "country bread."

Slow Rise held its grand opening at 1910 Main St., Suite C, in Forest Grove on Saturday, April 7, about a week after a "soft opening" to which Ferrier invited a few friends — sort of a trial run for the business.

As Ferrier describes it, his sourdough breads have more subtlety than the San Francisco-style loaves that have become popular up and down the West Coast. His sourdoughs are made in the French style, he said, and he only uses natural leavens.

"The natural fermentation with the sourdough starter, the long fermentation … produces really interesting flavor," Ferrier said. "I mean, depending on the day and how it all goes, out of just this country bread, you can get flavors like honey and really warm, toasty flavors — really complex, really interesting texture. So I think people who are looking for a flavorful loaf of bread, something that has some substance to it, will be interested."

He explained, "Instead of adding yeast to the bread, you add the sourdough starter that's really just flour and water that's been allowed to naturally ferment — similar to like a sour beer, or maybe sauerkraut. Those microbes are already there. That's what really captured my imagination about it, is that really, in the end, this loaf is flour, water and salt — because the starter that it's leavened with is just flour and water that's tended over time. … You get such a complex range of flavors — it's such an interesting thing — out of three really simple ingredients, just over time."

Ferrier began baking in 2012, he said.

"I saw a book lying on my friend's countertop, and photos of the bread in that book were just so striking and beautiful that I picked it up and started leafing through it," Ferrier said. "I decided I wanted to buy the book and try it, and then I just kind of fell in love with the process."

In 2016, Ferrier decided to start selling his bread at farmers' markets in the area. But it wasn't long before he decided that what he needed was a real "brick-and-mortar" storefront, a permanent home for his bakery.

Slow Rise is open Wednesday through Saturday. Sundays and Mondays are days off for Ferrier — many other Forest Grove businesses are closed one or both days of the week as well — and Tuesdays are set aside as "prep days."

The bakery will open at 7:30 a.m. weekdays and close either at about 2 p.m. or when it sells out, Ferrier said.

In addition to loaves, baguettes and ciabattas, Slow Rise also offers a modest selection of pastries and beverages, including coffee from a Forest Grove company, To the Roots.STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Pastry offerings, like these scones, are also available at Slow Rise Bakehouse in Forest Grove.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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