rachel pardoe from sourdough enzo ottawa ontario canada sourdough bread social media influencer instagram tiktok youtube

Interview With Rachel of @Sourdough_Enzo in Ottawa

Welcome to another delightful edition of The Sourdough People’s feature series, where we spotlight remarkable individuals from the dynamic sourdough community in Canada, and across the globe. Today, from the heart of Ottawa, we are absolutely thrilled to feature Rachel from @Sourdough_Enzo, a beacon of inspiration and creativity in the Canadian world of sourdough baking.

Rachel graciously took the time to share her heartwarming journey, unraveling the art and soul that she pours into every loaf, right here in the diverse and vibrant landscape of Ottawa, Ontario. Her story is woven with passion, perseverance, and a profound connection to the craft, offering a beautiful glimpse into the transformative power of sourdough in the capital of Canada.

So, let’s dive into the wonderful world of Rachel’s Ottawa-based sourdough adventure and explore the magic that unfolds in her Canadian kitchen.

Rachel, for those new to your profiles on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, could you delve into the essence of your sourdough journey and how it began?

As with many sourdough bakers, my journey began at the start of the pandemic. It all began when a kind neighbor shared their sourdough starter with me, and I was instantly captivated by the idea of making sourdough bread at home. Prior to taking the plunge, I spent around two weeks immersing myself in the world of sourdough, watching countless instructional videos to ease the intimidating learning curve. The initial spark for my sourdough adventure was the sight of decorated loaves on Instagram, with bakers like Bake This Bread being among my early inspirations. Baking sourdough became a therapeutic and creative outlet, so I started sharing my journey on Instagram. With some success there, I expanded to TikTok, though the audience was markedly different, with a younger demographic and occasionally offensive comments. Despite this, I adopted a more passive approach to engagement in TikTok, preferring to “post and ghost.” Instagram has remained my sourdough community, where I more actively engage with my audience. After that, I ventured into the realm of YouTube with some success! 

Social media is filled with diverse content. What inspired you to focus on Sourdough and share your experiences so extensively across multiple platforms? 

I consider myself a bit of a serial entrepreneur. I have had many different small businesses with varying degrees of success. I dabbled in making and selling jewelry, sewing scrub caps for healthcare workers, and even designing printable greeting cards. Just prior to the start of my sourdough journey, I was immersed in the art of baking and decorating cakes, sharing my creations on Instagram. My weekends were dedicated to the art of cake-making, although success remained somewhat elusive. Then, sourdough came into my life, and I decided to embrace this slower, more methodical, and therapeutic pursuit. It wasn’t just about success; it was the profound pleasure of feeling the dough between my fingers, shaping it with care. Sourdough became my passion, a blend of art and science that I fully embraced. 

For the first six months of my journey, I grappled with the mystery of proofing the dough, a puzzle that took time to unravel. For that half year, I underproofed most of my loaves. Those who bake often, or own microbakeries have the advantage of scaling the learning curve a lot quicker than the occasional baker. Experience, complemented by a lot of reading and YouTube videos, helped me better understand proofing, a hurdle that perplexes many on their sourdough journey.  

How has being based in Ottawa influenced your sourdough techniques, flavors, or styles? Are there any regional ingredients that you love incorporating? 

I like getting my baking supplies from Ontario mills because the flour there is of better quality than those that you find at regular grocery stores. Oddly, I’ve never come across a mill in Ottawa yet. Even though Ottawa has a lot of people from places like Lebanon and Vietnam, I haven’t really used their food influences in my sourdough baking. 

When it comes to Canadian food, it’s not just one thing. It’s like a mix of flavors and dishes from all around the world. That’s what makes Canadian food special – it’s a blend of different cultures and tastes. 

Engaging with a global audience, have you noticed any distinct trends or preferences in the sourdough world from different regions? How has that impacted your content creation? 

As it relates to my sourdough scoring, I’m not inherently driven to tailor my creations for a specific audience. Instead, I aspire to create sourdough art that can be appreciated worldwide. However, my recipes themselves do intertwine sourdough with bread from various cultures, such as naan (India), msemen (Morocco), phyllo pastry (Greece), pide (Turkey). 

The relationships between influencers and brands can be symbiotic. How do you choose which brands to collaborate with?  

Earlier in my sourdough journey, I was actively reaching out to various brands, trying to determine with whom I’d like to collaborate. This process demanded a significant amount of time, involving initial outreach and follow-ups.  

I am now represented by Viral Nation, a talent agency, which has eased that burden a bit. I firmly believe that Instagram influencers should be compensated for their work, and that receiving only products as compensation is not appropriate. It’s essential to ensure fair payment for the effort put into content creation. 

In fact, I often find myself advocating not only for my own worth but also for others in my network. When fellow influencers reach out to me seeking advice about partnerships, I advise them not to undervalue their services.  

Is there a brand you’d love to work with? 

Nutella – it’s the best! 

Given the surging popularity of Sourdough, especially during recent times, how do you see the future of the Sourdough community evolving online and offline? 

I find it challenging to locate an offline sourdough community in Ottawa, as I’m not currently connected with any fellow sourdough enthusiasts in the area. It appears that the offline sourdough community is somewhat elusive. As for the future of the online sourdough community, it’s difficult for me to predict. While sourdough remains a popular baking endeavor, it seems that its meteoric rise in popularity has tapered off. Although there is still a considerable level of interest in sourdough, it may not be growing as rapidly as before. 

One positive aspect of this popularity is that more individuals are now experimenting with sourdough and creating unique recipes. When I began my sourdough journey, there was limited information available on making sweet sourdough, or perhaps I hadn’t explored it thoroughly. However, as I continued to delve into the world of sourdough, I discovered a wealth of creative ideas and recipes, such as sweet and savory rolls, enriched doughs, and intricate decorative patterns.

Lastly, as a creator, where do you see your Sourdough journey heading in the next couple of years? 

I hope to write a cookbook sharing my sourdough journey and the recipes I have created. Hopefully, the book would also showcase my decorative designs that have resonated with the community. Writing this book would be a milestone symbolizing the culmination of my sourdough exploration and a tribute to the art and science of sourdough baking. 

Closing thoughts for the interview: we extend our warmest gratitude to Rachel for joining us and sharing her incredible story with the community. Her dedication and creativity are a radiant inspiration, and there’s so much more to discover! Connect with Rachel on social media at @Sourdough_Enzo to continue to be inspired by her wonderful creations and innovative sourdough escapades. 

If you’re captivated by Rachel’s story and know someone from our sourdough community who deserves the spotlight, we invite you to share their story with us. We’re always eager to feature and celebrate amazing talents in our series. Submit your recommendations through the intake form on sourdoughbread.ca, and let’s continue to nurture and celebrate the wonderful diversity and brilliance that flourishes in the heart of our sourdough community. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *