You might have started baking sourdough bread during the early days of the pandemic, but Joe White was doing the sourdough thing a bit earlier, and now he’s set to open a retail space for his pandemic-raised bakery – Dopest Dough.
After spending years on the road as a touring musician with the local band Made Violent, White developed severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. The band was put on hiatus in 2018, and White underwent surgery on both wrists. In the fall of 2019, he started kneading (and baking) sourdough as part of his physical therapy.
“At that time, if anyone was getting into sourdough, people would be like, ‘You okay bro? You all right man? You need to talk to somebody?’” he says with a laugh. “But once COVID hit, I was like, ‘Ooooh, you guys want to mess around with some sourdough now? Lemme drop some knowledge on you real quick.’”
Pre-COVID, White started working for a local bakery. While there, he began developing Dopest Dough on the side, and that didn’t go over very well.
“That situation got a little messy and it led to me going independent,” he says.
When the pandemic hit, a lot of local bakeries shut down, and White says he saw an opportunity to fill the void. He eventually struck up a deal with Southern Junction on Chandler Street in Buffalo that allowed him to work out of their kitchen during off hours. Over the past two years, he was able to build his bakery’s brand on social media, sell products at farmers’ markets and land a bunch of high-profile wholesale clients, including Café Godot, Tipico and Community Beer Works.
“I didn’t have a break during the pandemic at all,” he says. “I had the opportunity to just steamroll right through it. There was a lot of good exponential growth for me during COVID, and it was encouraging to see – especially at the end of some 18-hour days.”
With business booming, White decided it made more sense to get his own space in East Aurora, where he also lives. The new location allows him to better service his growing roster of wholesale clients. As of the writing of this article, he’s started selling pick-up bagels, soft sourdough pretzels, bread and cookies via pre-order only. White says walk-in sales will start soon.
“I got known for my bread and bagels at the East Aurora Farmers Market when I was with that local bakery,” he says. “That helped me to build a Dopest Dough following there pretty quickly. When I left that bakery, people at the markets started wondering what happened to my bread and bagels. It was odd during that in-between time, but now those initial customers have come back.”
White says he’s hoping to offer breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the near future. Indoor and outdoor seating are also coming soon, he adds.
With the pandemic winding down just as Dopest Dough opens up, the former touring musician couldn’t have gotten the timing any better.
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): retail pre-orders Tuesday 9 a.m. – Friday 9 a.m., pickup on Saturday
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