Mark Stambler has always had a passion for bread, specifically fresh baked artisan breads. Although he had no real professional baking experience (Mark is self-taught with the exception of a couple courses with a master baker in Vermont), his passion for bread drove him to hand-build a masonry wood-fired bread oven in the backyard of his Silverlake, California home.
Mark’s been baking since 1972, but it was here in Silverlake that he began to create in the traditional French method ‘travail sur trois levains’ using a few simple ingredients: organic artisan flour and grains (which he grinds himself into whole grain flour), distilled water and sea salt.
So popular is his traditionally crafted Pain Levain within the Los Angeles locavore movement that it’s now being sold through Silverlake Farms CSA. Those who are lucky enough to nab a bâtard are few and the waiting list is long as Mark can only produce a few dozen loaves a week.
I was fortunate enough to spend a day photographing Mark baking, which was impressive to say the least. The dedication, timing, care and focus he demonstrated showed a genuine love for the entire process and craftsmanship that it takes to create these coveted treasures.
×Stephen and Jodi Zeigler