Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough, oh yea, sourdough!

Salish Sea Sourdough and Passionate for Pies

Salish Sea Sourdough

I have been baking Salish Sea Sourdough  at Passionate for Pies for two weeks now. Passionate for Pies is owned by two of the nicest people in Eastsound, Wa.  Shasha Jean and Marie Bigbee opened Passionate for Pies three years ago. Their pies, tarts, and pot pies are reknown in the San Juan Islands and beyond for being the tastiest, most wholsome pastry treats available.

I  have seen it with my own eyes, how carefully the ingredients are chosen for their culinary delights. Whatever goes into the pies, tarts and other delicious pastries, is organic, wholesome, fresh and the best quality ingredients that can be obtained. I have never even seen a can of shortening around, they use all real butter. I am impressed by their dedication and passion for baking great food… hence the word “Passionate” in their business name.

I am the lucky one to have been invited to bake my bread in their bakery. I love working there and providing fresh sourdough to the friendly people of Eastsound is the fulfillment of a dream for me. It was a challenge at first. They have a double deck pizza oven with a great mass of bottom heat and no steam.

My first test did not turn out great but was consumed anyway. More heat and steam were necessary.

First Test Bread:

Not enough heat or steam

I tried to steam the oven by pouring water over clay briquettes heated in the oven in a large pan, but it was just not enough steam for the size of the oven. So….. I tried making a foil “hat” or cover and I also experimented using an upside down stainless steel bowl. That test turned out well and the bread that turned out the best was the one covered with the foil hat. So I made up a bunch of the foil covers and decided to bake twelve loaves.

Dough proofing on top of the oven

The pies were done baking for the day so we cranked up for an hour to get it as hot as we could. Then using my peel, I placed a foil hat over the dough (after a slight water spray) and flipped in the loaves, hat and all into the oven:

The nice thing about the foil was that I could reach in after the initial part of the bake and using a pair of tongs, remove the foil hats easily. Sure they got bent out of shape a bit, but it was easy to reshape them for the next set of loaves. I would not have been able to easily remove a lot of stainless steel bowls from a loaded oven.

The picture is fuzzy because I took it too fast without allowing it to focus, as I was worried about steam on my camera and letting the oven heat escape.


So my first real bake was successful and not only that, we had a great time trying to figure out how to bake a load of bread in a pizza oven without steam injection. The timing was a test, the steaming and heat were tests, it was all a test and it worked out great! Passionate for Pies offered the “Salish Sea Sourdough” from their front counter in a large basket:

Selling sourdough at Passionate for Pies in Eastsound, WA


Some of the first loaves:

First bake

I realized that the oven was still not hot enough so for the next bake we allowed the oven to heat longer and turned it up as high as it would go. It helped the bloom on the crust and the oven spring was even nicer. The second bake:

Second bake

The ingredients for the Salish Sea Sourdough are water, flour and salt. It says on the bread bag that it takes five days to ferment the dough for this bread, but in reality it takes much longer. It is a motherdough bread and I have a revolving motherdough that I add to each week. I continue to use the older motherdough and some of the newer motherdough. So it has a complexity of flavor that is very appealing. I got this idea from the “sour seed” experiments I was doing. Sorry I don’t have crumb shots, I will try and get some with the next bake.

My boss (Marie) thought that a starfish slashed into the top of the bread would be in keeping with the theme of the Salish Sea Sourdough. So on the last bake I slashed starfish:

So, here I am having the time of my life, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world and playing (could not say working!) at doing what I love to do best. Life is good.

Teresa the baker (me) photo by D.M. Surrey, CA


You can bake sourdough like this in your own home see my book, Discovering Sourdough

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  1. Linda Rose Linda Rose
    June 30, 2012    

    Such beautiful loaves of bread. The first test was pale but still looked good enough to eat. I love the golden color and texture of the loaves. Nice job girl. And now offering it in a store! Wow.. Wish I was there. I’d be buying a loaf or two every day.

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      June 30, 2012    

      Thanks Linda! I appreciate the good wishes!

  2. Tom Tom
    June 30, 2012    

    Great job Teresa! We all knew the bread would come out fine but I glad to hear you are having fun! That’s as it should be. I’m sure that as the word spreads about the bread that it will be in great demand!

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      June 30, 2012    

      Thanks Tom, you are right about my having fun. I only ask that I get to continue to bake! The owner suggested I slash a starfish on the top. I really like that idea so I am planning on trying it for the next bake to see how it looks.

  3. June 30, 2012    

    I’ve been using your roaster lid method lately and not using my old river rock method for steam. Probably wouldn’t work in your Blodgett but pouring 3/4 cup of water down the copper tube into a cast iron skillet filled with river rocks made enough steam that it rolled out around the oven door just like when they steam a bread oven in a bakery.

  4. northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
    June 30, 2012    

    Hi Gary, nice to hear from you. I have always admired your resourcefulness. You were the first one to come up with the tube idea, I have seen it copied since, but I thought your idea was genius. I am guessing my boss won’t like my drilling holes in the oven and I cannot use steam no matter what because the oven is a vented gas oven and it needs to vent. So the steam disappears quickly even if I could generate some. I am glad you like the lid method, it is the easiest in a pinch. Unless you don’t have a lid, then of course you could use a tin foil “hat” :)

  5. kollin kollin
    June 30, 2012    

    Great post!

  6. July 1, 2012    

    Fabulous…determination, outstanding…go Teresa!

  7. MC MC
    July 16, 2012    

    Wow! Teresa, you are so resourceful. These foil “cloches” are pure genius. I am so happy it is all working out for you and I hope you’ll be able to continue baking Salish Sea sourdoughs for how long as you wish (which is probably forever, right?). They look beautiful (and I love the name). Can’t wait to get my hands on one when I come and visit!

  8. northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
    July 16, 2012    

    Thanks Kollin and Jeremy.

    MC, I am looking forward to your visit! So far, I bake on Thursdays, so you might have to plan on a Thursday outing on the islands.

    August 30, 2012    



  10. Carolyn Ausborn Carolyn Ausborn
    May 17, 2013    

    Hello. I am looking for Passionate Pies Bakery, which my daughter “found” in a web search. We live in SW Utah and she lives in Portland, OR. Daughter is getting married on Orcas Island Eastsound in August, 2013. I have tried calling the # found on the internet for this bakery. Your contributions to all of their amazing bakery goods looks amazing. Can you please let me know the current phone # for this Bakery? Has the Bakery gone out of business? Everywhere I look, it is the same phone #. It is a non-working # that has been disconnected and no further info is given! Hoping you are still there and reachable! Thank you for your prompt reply. We leave here June 1st so trying to make contact very soon. Appreciate that and hoping you even actually get this!

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