Our Story

From humble beginnings

Old Church bakery is not just a name, it is the origin story of our bakery.

Larry Peters had a dream. He had studied sourdough in San Francisco, the holy land of sourdough culture, and had become immensely passionate about educating people to slow their food down — to enjoy the simplicity of the small things. Through long nights and hard work, Larry started selling his bread out of a little church nestled in the prairies. Word started spreading about his micro bakery and Larry’s dream turned into a full time job.

Meanwhile Holly Derksen-Sobering was raising her family and taking classes to complete her education degree. She was a loyal customer to the little bakery and one day, when they needed a bit of extra help, Holly was ready to lend a hand. Gradually, Holly found herself at the bakery more and more, falling in love with the ancient practice of sourdough, and all the lovely people she met as they came into their little old church bakery.

Holly was planning on becoming a teacher, but her heart led her to buy the bakery from Larry in 2015. Shortly after, in the fall of 2016, she moved the bakery from the old church into Steinbach. Once the bakery was more accessible for the people of Steinbach, it instantly started rapidly growing in popularity. We are forever grateful for the amazing community around us; their support through the years has overwhelmed us, and kept us doing what we love to do: slow down, take a deep breath, and bake.

Our Bread

The Art of Sourdough Bread

“Sourdough bread takes time…long and slow fermentation is the key to delicious healthy bread…it is an art.”

What makes sourdough better?

Most of the breads at OCB are made from sourdough, with its distinct sourdough tang and nourishing nutritional value. Thousands of years ago bread was always made like this, with the leavening coming from the air and the grain, not from a store bought commercial yeast packet. As of the 20th century reliable, specialized, ready-made baking yeast became readily available for people to make bread. This change made manufacturing bread much cheaper, faster, and consistent. The negative effects though, were not as visible as the obvious improvements.

The long fermentation process used in sourdough causes many of the simple sugars present in the grain to be eaten up, and the proteins (gluten in wheat) to break down into amino acids, making it easier to digest because essentially it is predigested for us. It is not only easier to digest, but there will be less of a blood sugar spike when you consume sourdough! The fermentation process also produces probiotics for a healthy gut and makes the bread higher in nutrients, especially B vitamins, and like we mentioned, easier on blood sugar levels.

To speed up the production process even more, commercial kitchens began adding sweeteners to their dough to give the yeast food that was easier to access. Now the yeast was no longer breaking down the simple sugars present in the grain because it had all the food it needed in the additional sugars that were added to the dough.

This meant a significant change in the chemical composition of a loaf of bread, and the grain proteins, including gluten, were now unchanged by the fermentation process, leaving them fully intact and harder for a stomach to digest. Nutrients that would become available due to a longer fermentation process remained locked up since the added sugars were being fermented instead of the grains.

While the added time of fermenting bread the traditional way with sourdough is costly in labor time, and working with a wild yeast culture is much more unpredictable than using commercial yeast, we believe that the benefits are absolutely worth the effort.

Is it gluten free?

People will often ask us if our sourdough is gluten free, and the simple answer is no, but many people who cannot handle gluten can indeed consume sourdough bread and feel great afterwards! It is not because there is no gluten in the bread, though, but because the hard work of breaking down the proteins was done while the sourdough was fermenting for a much longer time than breads made with commercial yeast, so there is less work for your gut to do!

Caring for your bread

Our bread will keep for around 4 days on the counter. Do not store it in the fridge! If you like a crisp crust then keep it cut side down on a cutting board, or wrapped in a paper bag. For a softer crust you can wrap it in a plastic bag.

If you plan on serving the bread after the day it was made, you can preheat your oven to 375F and place your bread on a rack to warm for 6-7 minutes.

Another great trick, for a day-old baguette, is to quickly run it under water, and place in a preheated 375F oven for about 5 minutes.

Our bread also freezes very well for those of you who are unable to eat a whole loaf of bread while it is still fresh. It’s a great idea to get the bread sliced before freezing so that you can take out one slice at a time as you need it.

Having Passion

Great food and great service comes from people who are passionate about what they do. Our staff care about the product we make and the people who come into our bakery, and that is the foundation for excellence.

Building Each Other Up

From the way we give feedback, to providing opportunities to help our employees grow, we are dedicated to providing our people with a workplace where they are valued and built up.

Family Spirit

We work hard together and we also have so much fun together! Our bakery embodies a family spirit that extends from our staff out to the community around us.

Community Connection

We love connecting with our community by doing collaborations, buying local ingredients when possible, and creating a space in our bakery for us to truly meet with the people who walk through our doors.