Seylou Bakery and Mill is off the beaten path of my usual ventures around Washington but I was intrigued by an extended story about Seylou in the Washington Post.
It caught my eye because when I went to learn more about it on its website
Seylou described itself as a whole grain bakery and said, “Our mission is to foster an interconnected local grain community where growers, bakers, staff and guests learn, taste and flourish together.”
The bakery is owned by a spousal team, Jonathan Bethony and Jessica Azeez. Jonathan’s history as he became a baker is quite interesting and worth a read on the bakery’s website under the “ABOUT” section.
In short, this is a bakery that uses only whole grains. Rather than buying flour it buys bulging sacks of wheat berries and other whole grains from local farmers. The grains are milled on the premises after which a starter is fermented and then backed in an imported wood-fired over. It is worth the trip just to see the very large, floor to ceiling oven.
I went to Seylou’s location in Shaw on the first day of its official opening on November 30th. The hours for that day and the next were from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
By the time I got there around 1:20 p.m. the line was out the door. I was about 8th in line although it was clear that a number of folks had already made purchases including an old friend I ran into on the street who had already purchased a large bag of breads.
I managed to purchase 4 large round breads, 2 long baguettes, a couple of croissants and a couple of scones. Debbie and I cut the breads and baguettes in half and delivered them to friends in our apartment building. We saved one full loaf of bread and half a baguette for ourselves as well as the croissants and scones.
I returned to the bakery the next day at about 2:20 p.m. after its 1:00 p.m. opening. By the time I got there all the breads were gone and all that was left were some croissants, scones and cookies so I passed rather than wait in line.
The third time I went to the bakery it had started opening at 8:00 a.m. In late morning all that was available were some croissants and scones and cookies. There was no one ahead of me in line this time. I bought 4 regular and 4 chocolate croissants.
While the bakery and café now open at 8:00 a.m. in the morning, I had not paid attention to the sign that indicated that the breads were not available until 1:00 p.m.
Debbie and I decided to experiment with the bread and half banquette we had saved for ourselves. First we cut the round bread in half. One half we put in the freezer in a plastic bag. We cut the other half into two pieces.
One piece and the half baguette remained fresh for a day or two as we and some guests worked away at it. The other quarter loaf that we left on the counter began to get stale on the exposed side after it had been there for a few days. However, when we cut a thin slice off the exposed side the balance of the bread was as fresh as when we bought it. We did this a couple of times.
The half loaf of bread that we had frozen we took out 10 days later and once thawed it seemed as fresh as when we bought it. We subsequently froze a couple of the croissants I purchased at a different time. They did not come out of their frozen state as well as the bread.
The various breads and baked goods are not inexpensive. Two of the breads are available as whole breads ($11 or $12) of half breads ($6). Two other breads are only sold whole and go for $11 or $9.50.
There are a series of other items ranging from croissants, to scones to canelés to cookies to brownies and éclairs ranging in price from $3.50 to $5.25. Certain goods are only available in the morning and others only available in the afternoon. The website is very clear as to availabilities and price.
There are a series of coffees and teas available in the café.
For people who receive nutrition assistance benefits the bakery offers 50% off bread purchases. Their unsold bread is donated to Bread for the City which provides food to folks living near the poverty line.
Having now done a variety of taste tests, I plan to make further excursions into Shaw to load up on a regular basis.
The bakery is closed on Monday & Tuesday and open Wednesday – Sunday from 8 am – 4 pm.
Seylou Bakery & Mill
926 N Street NW, Suite A
Washington, DC 20001