warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Clark Street Bread Hosts Pop-Up At Grand Central Market

Sara Tiano |
October 12, 2014 | 10:52 p.m. PDT


Clark Street Bread's Zack Hall shows off his goods. (Sara Tiano/Neon Tommy)
Clark Street Bread's Zack Hall shows off his goods. (Sara Tiano/Neon Tommy)
As Zack Hall is talking me through his bread baking process, I admit to him my culinary school struggles with bread. The yeast, I tell him—I can never get it to work the way I want. 

“It’s a language,” he says, nodding knowingly. 

Yeast is a language Hall speaks fluently, if the budding success of Clark Street Bread is any indication. Last Saturday morning, he sold out within three hours of opening up his pop-up shop at Grand Central Market.

READ ALSO: Grand Central Market: Not Just The Next Big Thing

The Los Angeles native began baking just a few years ago. Burned out after years of chasing a music career that didn’t pay the bills, Hall said his focus changed. He started thinking about the future, and a family, and decided to pursue something more stable. 

“It was about doing what worked,” Hall said. “And food was always an equal love.”

Hall started working in restaurants around town, and was first introduced to the art of bread baking at Eveleigh in West Hollywood. Once he got his hands in the dough, he was hooked.

After working at notable L.A. bakeries (Proof in Atwater Village and Kenter Canyon Farms, where he met his mentor Kenneth Curran), Hall traveled to Portland, Ore. and Sweden to study different cultural approaches to bread making. 

Back in L.A. with an amalgamation of New and Old World baking experiences, Hall started Clark Street Bread in early 2014. He bakes at most 75 loaves per day out of a commissary kitchen where he rents space.


Hall, who cites San Francisco’s Tartine as a major influence, makes just a handful of rustic yet refined styles that rely on a sourdough starter and natural levean for their unique flavor.

“Sourdough—it’s a slow roll,” Hall explained. “It takes some time to develop, and it’s a really strong dough.”

Clark Street's sunflower flax loaf. (Zack Hall)
Clark Street's sunflower flax loaf. (Zack Hall)
For his current favorite, and one of the most popular loaves, Hall adds sunflower and flax seeds to the sourdough. The loaf possesses a chewy crumb and crackled, deeply golden crust. Served simply with a swipe of good butter, the flavorful bread requires minimal embellishment. Dense, hearty and coated in a confetti of seeds, Hall's rye loaf is another delicious offering.  

While customers love the sunflower and flax sourdough because it sounds healthy, Hall said that nutrition was never a factor for him.

“Flax absorbs a lot of water, so the inside stays moist,” he explained. “It’s a textural thing for me." 

Hall contends that his organic, naturally leavened bread is all healthy, anyway.

In the future, Hall hopes to settle into a permanent location where he can break his second oven out of storage and amp up production. He is not sure whether Clark Street’s next home will be a retail bakery or a kitchen space to support a larger wholesale operation, but he hopes to end up in Silverlake, Venice, or West Hollywood, where he and his wife Michaela live now.

“I feel comfortable in those neighborhoods, and I want to serve those communities,” Hall said. 

READ ALSO: Quintessential L.A. Bakeries Proving We Don't Need Crumbs

Clark Street's pop-up shop at Grand Central Market is a temporary situation, running Friday and Saturday mornings through October. If Hall sees sufficient demand, he said he would consider opening a permanent stand at Grand Central.

You can also find Clark Street Bread on Sundays at the West Hollywood Farmers Market and online at goodeggs.com.

Connect with Clark Street Bread on Facebook and Instagram.

Reach Editor-at-Large Sara Tiano here. Follow her on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.