Jamesport Sourdough and Coffee Co. is a true cottage-style bakery

If you’re in the North Fork at the right place and time, you might be lucky enough to get your hands on one of Jamesport Sourdough and Coffee Co.’s freshly baked loaves of bread. Identifiable by their crispy crust and decorative wheat stalks Etched on them, these sourdough breads fly off the shelves at local markets, and they’re about as homemade as they come, except you make it yourself.

Ana Burcroff and her husband, Brett Koons, run a full-fledged cottage-style bakery out of their family’s Jamesport home. Commercial baking racks and flour-filled bins tower above a long dining room table that is often completely covered in loaves of bread. In the kitchen, which doubles as a mixing and shaping space, two industrial-size mixers sit alongside a double oven.

“Chaos is the norm,” said Koons, who has been perfecting his sourdough bread since 2015. It started as a hobby; his wife had given her entrees from one of his favorite bakeries as a last-minute birthday present.

It was the perfect gift for an artisan food enthusiast like Koons, who had already been brewing his own beer and kombucha. The sourdough helped him satisfy his desire to make things, and he baked it from time to time for his family and friends.

“It was like a party trick for us,” Burcroff said. “Like at children’s birthday parties, we served sourdough.”

When the pandemic hit, a new era of home baking emerged.

While others experimented with banana bread recipes and made dalgona coffees, Koons and Burcroff baked sourdough for families in their community. Their children had changed schools during the first year of the pandemic, a time when in-person contact was limited, so they needed to find a new way to connect with other parents.

“We were basically offering them bread,” Koons said.

“It was a sure way of trying to create a community,” Burcroff added.

Once the parents tried their bread, they were hooked. Instead of waiting for the couple to randomly hand out more loaves, they began asking to buy the loaf. At the same time, the couple’s sourdough was drawing praise from farm teams at Jamesport Farmstead, where Burcroff volunteered, and at Browder’s Birds, where Koons donated his time.

“I was like, ‘These people sell food, and they’re encouraging us to sell it. We could have something here,’” Burcroff said.

Inspired by the growing influence of home bakers on Instagram, the couple decided to enter the world of home baking, transforming their home into a sourdough operation in February 2021. Like many other COVID-era home bakers, they started to advertise their bread on social media, offering contactless pickup from their front porch. Every Saturday, about 20 Jamesport-area residents would come to his house to pick up fresh loaves of bread. Not long after, word spread about the new artisan sourdough business and a demand for wholesale arose.

“Lauren Lombardi [of Lombardi’s Love Lane Market] he was interested in our bread,” Burcroff explained. “A few months later, Sang Lee invited us to do his CSA, so we had clients locked out for about 24 weeks.”

Burcroff and Koons then brought their sourdough to the East End Food Market in Riverhead, adding items like cinnamon rolls and pizza crust to their list.

“By the time we got to the farmers market, it had maxed out,” Koons said. “We manufacture close to 200 articles [a week] between sourdough, pizza dough and cinnamon rolls”.

Today, you can find Jamesport Sourdough and Coffee Co. products on the North Fork at Sang Lee Farms, Lombardi’s Love Lane Market and Southold General with delivery on Saturdays for all locations and Thursdays for Sang Lee Farms.

“When people see home bakeries and they have Saturday as their only delivery day, I think people think of it as ‘Oh, that’s a fun hobby,’ but if you’re making large quantities, it takes days to get done. done,” Burcroff explained.

The couple spends six days a week keeping Jamesport Sourdough and Coffee Co. running—seven, if you count the Sunday starter feed.

As the sole employees of the bakery, they alternate between working and caring for their two children and dog. For the first four days of the week, Burcroff is in the kitchen, mixing and shaping the dough. “For every day of baking, there are two days of preparation,” he explained. Once it’s time to bake, her husband heads out to the family barn, where they have a commercial steam-injected oven.

“He’s Silicon Valley by day and a sourdough chef by night,” Burcroff quipped. As a full-time CFO in the technology industry, Koons bakes at night, when traditional work hours have ended. On these nights, he sacrifices sleep to bake bread in an oven that can only fit 12 loaves at a time, and with so many orders, there’s rarely enough time or space for extras.

“We have a typical shoemaker situation,” Burcroff explained. “We’re making bread for everyone else and then we don’t have bread for ourselves, which is a bit ridiculous.”

From the beginning, the couple have offered a window into their home business on Instagram, where they document the creative—and sometimes messy—realities of running a home bakery.

“There are a lot of home bakers who got their start during the pandemic, and now I’m reading more of their accounts and I think we’re all feeling it,” Burcroff confessed. “There may be days where the house is covered in flour and bread, and it’s a mess, and there are baked goods everywhere, and I think, ‘why are we blowing up our house with this situation?’ ”

For both Burcroff and Koons, it all comes back to the community. That’s why, even with wholesale accounts, they still try to offer porch vans to their original customers as often as possible.

“It’s a fundamental part of our DNA,” Burcroff said. “That’s why we wouldn’t abandon it.” Staying true to her mission, she and her husband also teach “bread education” classes at community events and at her children’s school.

“I think people recognize that it’s not an easy thing to do, they appreciate the time and work that goes into it, and they really appreciate that we can bring the sourdough to them,” Koons said. “The amount of support and love is overwhelming, and one of the big reasons we love to keep doing it.”

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