In the eighteen years since it opened, Wild Flour Bread has become a must-stop Sonoma Wine Country destination, with people lining up on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at the bakery’s bright-red building in Freestone for handcrafted, hard-crust breads made on site in a wood-fired brick oven.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen this bread in your favorite specialty grocery store, it’s because they only sell their bread (along with scones, sticky buns and biscotti) at the bakery. And even if you happen to be in the small and picturesque hamlet of Freestone, you might still miss out because Wild Flour Breads is only open four days a week (Fridays through Mondays).
To make their sought-after breads, they heat the oven every afternoon with a wheelbarrow of eucalyptus wood. By four in the morning, the wood has turned to ash. They mop out the oven and then start barking bread at 550 degrees, a much higher temperature than a gas oven. The bricks, cement and mica insulation of the oven maintain a nearly constant temperature which creates a thick and flavorful crust impossible to achieve in conventional ovens.
Customers are often handed loaves of bread still warm from the oven, with owner and baker, Jed Wallach, behind the counter personally greeting bakery devotees. Another reason to visit besides the wildly delicious bread is the pristine setting of rolling hills and fields dotted with dairy cattle and horses. Wild Flour also has a lovely and meandering vegetable and fruit garden where visitors can take a stroll.