Interview with Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Artisan Evrim Dogu of Sub Rosa Bakery

by Meha Desai
December 2014

Meha Desai: How did Sub Rosa Bakery come about?
Evrim Dogu:
I started as a travelling baker in 2009, and I opened my own shop in December 2012. We opened for four months before we had a fire, which forced us to close for renovation for nine months. We just reopened months ago.

MD: What’s the philosophy behind your baking?
ED:
The process has been to source grains directly from farmers. Some farmers from Kansas grow a nice Turkey Red Heirloom wheat, so I have been working with farmers to grow it here in Virginia. It’s a challenge, still. Our other grains like corn and rye have been more successful. We also mill grains here to keep the flavors and smell. That makes the grains’ appearance and texture different too. For our pastries, we use tempered sifted flour. It’s important for us that pastry moves in the direction of the bread as well. We do not use commercial yeast at all. It’s all-natural levain.

MD: How are you involved in the local culinary community?
ED:
I bought the building to live upstairs, setting up a room for interns and traveling bakers. I’m planning to get a bed and small kitchen and provide a space for stagiers. I have research projects and things that I want to use Sub Rosa as a vehicle for. I’m interested in the education, having community dinners, and the Turkey project which aims to categorize different varieties of grain. 

MD: What’s your favorite tool?
ED:
Plastic dough scraper

MD: And a tool you wish you had?
DC:
Grain auger and silo

MD: What's your five year plan?
ED:
There’s lots of potential for growth, and lots of room to expand. I want to build better relationships for securing grains.

MD: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
ED:
Mediterranean Grains and Greens: A Book of Savory, Sun-Drenched Recipes by Paula Wolfert

MD: And a favorite food resource?
ED:
My friend and baker Benjamin Burakoff

MD: Your most important kitchen rule is…
ED:
It doesn't matter what you do, only the quality of heart.

MD: Your favorite dish you’ve ever made…
ED:
Mulberry sarma—bulgur and chickpeas stuffed in young mulberry leaves.

MD: Where do you most want to go for culinary travel?
ED:
All over Turkey, Syria, and the Republic of Georgia. The origin of wheat and wine are found there. How could it be anywhere else?