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Hidden Gems: Meet Paula Gallafrio of Simply Bread

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Gallafrio.

Hi Paula, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Everything started with my search for high-quality freshly baked bread. I was born and raised in Brazil, where it’s in our culture to eat fresh bread every single day. Bakeries can be found very easily – there’s one on every corner. Starting at a very young age, I remember my mom asking me to go to the bakery in our neighborhood, to buy fresh bread. Because I missed that so much after moving to the USA, I decided to start making my own bread for our family. Everything in the “bread world” was new to me – I have a Bachelor in Architecture and Urban Planning, I never thought I would become a baker… During my research, I came across Sourdough Bread (Naturally Leavened) and just got enchanted by it. I made my starter from scratch in 2015, the same one I use in all my recipes still today. I started following bread bakers on Instagram (I can probably call @trevorjaywilson my main master), and bought tons of books to study and learn (Tartine, from Chad Robertson is my favorite). Yes, I could have just gone to San Francisco School and taken some classes, but becoming a baker as a profession wasn’t on my plans, so it just happened that I took another way. As my experience with bread baking grew and I started to feel more confident about my sourdough, I started selling it to friends and also started making local markets. Everything just kept growing organically, and here I am today – just about to open a brick-and-mortar bakery. What a huge leap for me! I’m so excited and happy with this opportunity!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have to say that making naturally leavened bread is never easy – on the contrary: it’s challenging!. It’s a very interesting process that involves so many variables – one could easily turn baking sourdough into a Science Project! Things like room temperature, air humidity, flour quality, proofing time, the “health” of your starter, everything influences the final result. Also, baking one single loaf is very different from baking large quantities – lots of details that affect the end result. Being a self-taught baker, I had to figure things out myself. I’ve had batches that didn’t turn out that good, and batches that were amazing! Luckily, I’ve had the time to go through that process and learn from my mistakes – having my family, my friends, and especially my Customers supporting me the whole time. All these challenges make my desire to bake a better loaf grow stronger. Another challenge, now something related to supply & logistics, not the bread baking process: When the pandemic hit in 2020, I struggled to find flour. You may remember the empty shelves at the grocery stores, right?! I had to find new sources and try new flours, while adjusting my process at the same time. I’m glad I found alternatives and even found better quality products, which I kept using – with challenge comes opportunity! I’m so thankful that the amazing community where I live is so supportive and understanding, and still bore with me, even with all the bumps I found along the way.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Simply Bread is committed to delivering superior-quality, fresh bread. We use only organic flour, high-quality ingredients, and an extra dose of love. All the breads are naturally leavened, hand made in a very artisanal process, no preservatives or additives. This is what makes us unique. Over the years, I developed a consistent menu that includes Classic Sourdough, Multigrain, Olive & Rosemary, Asiago Cheese, Apricot & Pumpkin Seeds, Rye Bread, German Bread, French Baguette, Babka and so on. Starting May, we will be moving from a cottage mode operation to a brick-and-mortar bakery. You will be able to walk-in and buy not only all these options mentioned above but also freshly made gourmet sandwiches. My hours will be Wednesday-Friday, 12 – 4pm. We will be located at the heart of the Art District of Melbourne – Downtown Eau Gallie (1540 Highland Ave, Melbourne, FL, 32935).

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I keep saying to all my customers that the quality of my bread is the most important thing to me. As it was a process to learn everything from the beginning, it has also been a process of educating people about the benefits of eating naturally leavened and slow-fermented bread. The natural yeast that rises all bread at Simply Bread is a stable symbiotic culture of wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. During the fermentation process, the yeast produces CO2 that will make the dough rise, and it will also break down starches into sugars, which the bacteria eats, lowering your sugar intake. The lactic acid helps to unlock the nutrients and to break down the gluten. Combining all these benefits from the natural yeast with organic flour, fresh in-house milled whole grain flour, no additives, no preservatives and an extra dose of patience and love, I’ll have a healthy bread to share with my Customers. With all that said, I believe success will follow when you do things right and with passion.

Contact Info:

  • Email: info@simplybreadforyou.com
  • Website: www.SimplyBreadForYou.com
  • Instagram: @pgallafrio
  • Facebook: @simplybread.paulagallafrio

Image Credits
Paula Gallafrio

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