Artisan Bakers opens new outpost in Seorae Village

By Korea Herald

Naturally leavened sourdough and pretzel croissants at artisanal bakery

  • Published : Nov 4, 2016 - 14:47
  • Updated : Nov 4, 2016 - 14:47
Hard-crusted sourdough was the impetus behind owner and baker Mo Tae-sung’s decision to launch his own establishment in Hannam-dong four years ago.

Even now, the sourdough at Artisan Bakers, which can now also be found at a new outpost in Seorae Village, delights with its tangy, soft and elastic crumb.

“We only use natural starter, not commercial yeast, for our sourdough,” said Mo, 48, pulling out a tub of mother dough at his Seorae Village-based atelier, a short walk from the store. 

Artisan Bakers opened its Seorae Village location this summer. (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

That natural starter, the backbone of naturally leavened bread, gives off sour aromas of vinegar and yogurt. There are no traces of serious funk, just a clean tang that is well reflected in the resulting loaves.

In addition to classic sourdough, Artisan Bakers also specializes in sourdoughs that incorporate spelt, rye and whole wheat.

All sourdoughs undergo the standard two-stage fermentation -- first the bulk fermentation of the dough and then the final rise, called proofing, after the dough has been shaped into loaves.

“The first fermentation is when you get the acidity and the structure of the bread develops,” said Mo. “We ferment our sourdough overnight and make it the next day.”

All this hard work translates to slices of tangy, chewy, creamy bread, the kind that can stand its ground when garnished with cornichons and cold cuts or a generous layer of cold, rich butter. 

Buttery, flaky and salty pretzel croissants and pretzels at Artisan Bakers’ Seorae Village store (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Mo and his team not only specialize in sourdough, but in a wide range of pastries and breads that include pretzel croissants -- buttery, salty and flaky -- to a riff off of Japanese-style milk bread.

“Hokkaido milk bread is famous,” said Mo, who was seeing variations of the rich, cream-laden bread popping up everywhere.

Inspired by the idea of decadent milk bread, Mo and team craft theirs with “lots of fresh cream and milk” for towering loaves of silken bread that practically melt away with each cushiony bite.

There are also buttery cranberry scones and soft pretzels at the bakery, which first opened in Hannam-dong before expanding to another location in Seorae Village this summer.

Artisan Bakers opened its Seorae Village location this summer. (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

For Mo the journey to this point in his career has been long. 

Now eight years into the baking profession, Mo still remembers when he first got interested in bread. He was studying cooking at a school in Australia where the course included a week devoted to bread.

“I wasn’t interested in bread until then,” he said.

After that, he studied up on baking and started to zero in on artisanal sourdough. When he could not find a spot that created sourdough the way he wanted it, he decided to do it himself.

In the winter of 2012 he launched Artisan Bakers in Hannam-dong, then, an atelier, where he could hold bread-making classes, in Seorae Village three years ago. This summer, the Seorae Village location store was launched.

The Seorae Village store is easy to spot on the main thoroughfare, a walk-in spot with floor-to-ceiling windows and a display of breads, pastries and cakes.

There one can easily spot their classic sourdough, ready to be sliced up, if so desired, and packed in a brown paper bag for the road.

Artisan Bakers Seorae Village Store
90-11 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
(02) 3477-3423
Open 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, closed Mondays
Breads, pastries, sandwiches and cakes cost 1,800 won to 8,500 won

By Jean Oh (