Sunterra Artisan Breads

A Labour of Loaf

By Twyla Yacyshyn

Published October 2021

For over 20 years, Sunterra Market bakers have been mixing, kneading, shaping and baking scratch-made dough daily to create our artisan breads. We know that delivering a fresh, satisfying loaf that has just the right crust and chew can change someone’s day. We’re excited to share the story behind our artisan breads, which are available in all our markets in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Here’s all you ‘knead’ to know about what makes Sunterra artisan breads so exceptional!

Technique, Passion, Ingredients

Artisanal bakers use a combination of science, artistry, passion and instinct to bake breads. The result is very different from the uniform loaves of bread seen in traditional grocery stores. But that’s the beauty of artisanal bread baked with skill by bakers like Sami Cocaj, no two loaves are exactly the same. Sami has been part of our Sunterra bread production team for almost 20 years. He started as many great bread bakers do, in his family’s bakery, when he was 13 years old. Over the years he has worked in Kosovo, Switzerland and he owned his own bakery in Budapest before coming to Calgary and joining our team. Sami loves working alongside our like minded artisan bakers. 

Sunterra’s mother dough, which is used to make our sourdough breads and baguettes, is more than 15 years old. As some people may have experienced over their pandemic sourdough making experience, the sourdough starter is critical to the complexity of the flavour of the bread. “I love preserving Sunterra’s unique mother dough ‘DNA’”, says Sami. Each day the sourdough starter is ritually “fed” to be built up to the appropriate weight by the team.

Artisanal approach meets state of the art equipment at Sunterra where heavy lifting and mixing are done by equipment, but loaves are scored by hand and baked on a stone deck oven from Italy. This particular oven also combines steam to enable the “oven spring” of the dough and creates the perfect crust that is toasty and caramelized but breaks down easily when chewed. Sunterra’s flour silo has the best prairie flour coming in direct from the local mill by the truckload. Quality inputs deliver the best results. 

Patience & Tradition

Time is money, and often in the mass production world, processes are sped up to save both these things. At Sunterra we support tradition and the skill and time that is needed for flavours to develop so the best tasting products come to life. We extend the fermentation process of our artisan breads, taking 36 to 48 hours to develop. 

We also don’t add anything to extend the shelf life of our breads. “Bread is not meant to last 14 days”, says Sami. Our bread supports our European style of shopping: buy it fresh, shop more frequently and enjoy a better quality product. But a shorter shelf life does not mean anything goes to waste. If there are loaves left at the end of the day we utilize them by making stuffings, bread crumbs and croutons. 

Sami is also very proud that Sunterra makes other doughs from scratch for croissants, Danishes, sausage rolls and seasonal items like Stollen, Easter bread and hot crossed buns. 

Sunterra artisan breads can be enjoyed by the loaf or in many other formats throughout our markets. We use artisan breads in prepared sandwiches and paninis, throughout our catering menu and all breads as part of our prepared meals.  

Watch how our bread is made here!

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