The Back Door Bakery Opens Again! A Q&A With Owner Deborah Goodale
In January 2008, devotees of Silver Lake's Back Door Bakery bid a forlorn farewell to their beloved neighborhood café. Owner Deborah Goodale packed up and all but disappeared after she closed up shop, but has since resurfaced in a whole new part of town, with a recently re-opened Back Door Bakery, serving up bakery treats and breads along with coffee and tea to new customers and old in the Sunland area.
We wanted to know a bit more about the new Back Door Bakery, and Goodale obliged by fielding some questions about what she's been up to, and what we can expect at the new location.
LAist: When did you re-open at this new location? How long was the process to get the spot and get ready to open?
Goodale: Just opened June 17th. Took almost six months. Actually took three years to find a spot I liked.
How did you come to decide to open in this part of the city?
[My husband] Reno and I moved up here 11 years ago. We fell in love with the huge lots and quite country feel. Plus we get to have horses in our backyard! It’s only 25 minutes north of Silver Lake and we made the trek daily for many years. After looking in Silver Lake for a bakery location, we branched out to Atwater and then Toluca Lake, Studio City and Sherman Oaks. Not a single landlord seemed aware of the “downturn." Ditto for Burbank. So we just took a long break. After a while I began to see some Silver Lake-ers up here. In fact, some former customers moved into a house a block or so away from us last year. So we decided to look up here. If I make every light, our new location is four minutes away from our house.
What can patrons of the former Back Door Bakery find at the new spot that is the same? Different?
More baguettes and small baguettes. All the croissants/coffeecakes/muffins/cookies. Cakes, too. No breakfast/lunch service yet, but give us a few months and we’ll be doing this as well. Oh! And same great coffee - Italian roast from Gavina. New are Tea Lattes and mate lattes. Some new cookies, new croissants.
[Also, we are using] no GMO. I've always prided myself on using whole food ingredients, making everything from scratch. Using local as much as possible (pre-Silver Lake Farms). It wasn’t until I did some research into hyper-activity in kids that I found out what I thought was wholesome food was far less so. My son, who we thought was ADD turned out to have a mild form of Autism called PDD-NOS. We found Feingold.org which is a diet that maintains eliminating artificial food dyes, preservatives and flavorings can significantly reduce ADD symptoms. This led me to see just how polluted most produce is either thru pesticide, herbicide, and/or irradiation. This then led me to discover how many foods are genetically modified (to allow a plant to withstand pesticide/herbicide or to accentuate a quality -like making a potato have only one kind of starch which is being hotly debated in Europe, for example) and have been since mid-90’s. Over 90% of our corn, soy (a whole other topic), beets, and others are genetically modified and almost all scientific research has show mutations in animals who ingest these and sterility in their offspring, not to mention allergic reactions. So my sugar was GMO, my soybean oil, which I thought was so healthy, was GMO and my produce was conventionally grown and therefore probably had a healthy dose of chemical on them.
So, I now no longer use corn in my shop - I make a non-corn syrup substitute with only cane sugar. I use olive oil for all my baking and I don’t use cooking sprays, only olive oil and flour. All my flour is unbleached, but not organic since I find the flour milled too coarsely. I have been having a devil of a time finding purveyors of organic or non-GMO and [am] resorting to substituting or doing without for the time being. But our goal is to use chemical free at all times. Oh and our food dyes are all food based. The only drawback there is no red. The reds I’ve tried, so far, have only come out pink. So no Elmo cakes. I use some of our chickens eggs when I make certain items. Like our crème patisserie- the dark yolks make it a wonderfully bright yellow.
Can you characterize the "local flavor" of Shadow Hills and Sunland/Tujunga? How does it compare to Silver Lake?
Shadow Hills is very country and very proud of it. Sunland/Tujunga, much like Silver Lake/EchoPark, is a very mixed bag. Pockets of high-rent homes, huge artist/artisan population and we already have a local music producer as a regular, so I’m thinking it’s got a musical population as well. It reminds me a lot of Silver Lake/Echo Park in the early 90’s when we first opened on Silver Lake Boulevard. Horseback riding and motorcycles figure prominently. Locals are very proud of their community and very active in keeping large developments at bay while still helping the communities grow to their potential. Also close by is Lake View Terrace which is famous for, among other things, Middle Ranch and Hansen Dam Equestrian Center which is big with the hunter/jumper horse groups as well as the California Polo club and Wildlife Waystation and, of course, Hansen Dam itself.
The bakery has been closed for three years...what have you been up to in the interim?
I’ve been riding horses, growing a vegetable garden, raising my kids (11 and 5), and raising chickens. I finally got to spend some time at home!
What's baking these days? What should someone absolutely order when they come check out the new spot?
Perfecting our baguettes and loaves, so definitely that. Getting our cakes updated to reflect newer tastes without all the gross artificial colors. Absolutely order a latte and a croissant of some kind - it’s been way too long!