Bread is Good

It's a sleepy Sunday morning in Atlanta's Cabbagetown neighborhood. The brunch-goers have yet to leave their beds. But outside Brother Moto Coffee, a crowd is coalescing. They're here for the cinnamon roll pop-up, but it might be more accurate to say they're here for Sarah Dodge.

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A self-described "rogue" baker, Sarah left the restaurant world in 2017 to focus on baking really good, French-style, preservative-free bread. After taking some time to herself (and spending more time with the love of her life, a pup named Fergus), Sarah decided to try something different to pay the bills. She planned a brunch pop-up with local ice cream shop Queen of Cream under the name "Bread is Good." And it stuck. Building off the momentum from her first pop-up and hoping to de-demonize good, honest bread, Sarah began delivering fresh loaves door-to-door in early 2018. "I am like the milkman," she says, "but for bread, and I’m a babe. I am your bread babe."

Although Sarah started baking professionally as a way to make ends meet during grad school, her first job with Holeman & Finch Bread quickly ignited her passion, a passion that emanates from her and is infectious. "I went to grad school for two semesters, and I was kinda over it, and I just wanted to cook all the time, so I did," she shrugs. Sarah chose to focus on bread because she loved the challenge of it and, she says, "I hate being told I can't do something." She saw the lack of quality bread in Atlanta, and wanted to help shift the American mentality that bread and pastries are a treat for the weekend.

Ironically, what has really captured her followers' hearts - and stomachs - is her weekend breakfast popups in like-minded cafes and eateries in Cumberland Island, St. Simon's, and Atlanta. Common menu offerings include fancy toasts, biscuit sammies, and, of course, the cinnamon rolls. But her favorite thing to bake? Chocolate chip cookies.

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Sarah's considered getting her own commercial space, but right now she's enjoying the freedom of being able to bake wherever and collaborate with other innovative chefs. "I like being in this space of flexibility. I like working with different people and learning new things." That flexibility has allowed Sarah to form a unique community around quality food that might not be possible in a traditional bakery. It's fitting that her advice to aspiring creatives is to trust your own process, and try not to focus on what everyone else is doing. "Stop comparing yourself to where other people are, and really try to be authentic with what you want and what you want to create."

Find Sarah

Web: sedodge.com

Instagram: @sedodge

This article was written for the Summer 2019 issue of Paprika Southern, as part of a series on creative makers in the South. Sarah Dodge is a self-described “rogue” baker operating out of Atlanta, GA, slinging good bread and fighting the gluten nay-sayers. Photos by Monica Farber. For the full printed article, you can purchase the magazine at https://www.paprikasouthern.com/.

Hannah Moseley