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See Sea Wolf Bakers' Bright New Fremont Bakery, Open Now

Plus a look at the shaping of croissants

The darling of the local bread scene, Sea Wolf Bakers, opened its very own bakery at 7 a.m. today. Announced in December last year, the company's brick and mortar comes after almost three years selling wholesale bread made in kitchens borrowed from the likes of Seattle icons Renee Erickson and Brandon Pettit.

While these photos were being taken yesterday, in fact, brothers/co-owners Kit and Jesse Schumann passed their general inspection, the final hurdle in welcoming the public to a tall, open space bathed in sunshine from four large skylights. Suddenly, diners at adjacent Manolin will have an even more interesting view, thanks to a shared patio as well as a big window connecting the two interiors.

The focal point of the upgraded operation is a massive oven that can crisp up dozens of the bakery's signature, slow-risen sourdough loaves at a time. The oven makes the brothers' old cast-iron pans obsolete — they were sold off as part of the company's highly successful Kickstarter campaign. (Kit said they're amazing tools, but he's burned himself on them so many times he doesn't feel nostalgic about letting them go; Jesse joked that his shirtsleeves already seem looser without the hefty pans to wrestle with.)

Wholesale will remain the backbone of the business, but Kit and Jesse are looking forward to welcoming guests to their minimalistic retail space. They're serving Kuma Coffee on drip in handmade mugs from Tesha Karpoff. They're baking every day to ensure freshness. "We try not to be proprietary," they said, and you can pick their brain about their entire process. Renee Erickson "basically gave us a business," letting them use her kitchen space and becoming their first and best customer; they talk a lot about paying forward the kind of support they've received along the way, and will continue to hold classes in conjunction with the Book Larder.

Beyond the regular rotation of bread types, including the most popular rye loaf, Sea Wolf is now expanding its menu slowly but surely. Eventually you can expect more adult beverages and savory options to pair with bread — cheese, pickles, meats — but two of the early additions are baguettes and croissants, regular and chocolate, the kinds of baked goods that require more intricate shaping. The brothers have plenty of experience making these at restaurants like Breadfarm, but said they're relearning after years of intense focus on sourdough loaves.

"It's not like you're reinventing the wheel," Jesse said. "It's like you've seen a wheel and now you're trying to figure out how the fuck to make a wheel." Unsatisfied with his spontaneous metaphor, he clarified, "It doesn't feel like you're innovating, you're just figuring out how you want your baguette to be." That sense of independence, both the fear and the excitement of finally having everything their own way, permeates the new space. With a strong track record and an extensive fan base, things look bright for Sea Wolf Bakers.

3621 Stone Way N, (971) 678-4923, website. Open Wednesday to Sunday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sea Wolf Bakers

3621 Stone Way North, , WA 98103 (206) 457-4181 Visit Website

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