Food

A Mysterious Baker Is Spreading Kindness in DC With Free Bread Deliveries

Because 2019 is the worst.

Image via Ferment DC on Twitter.

A mysterious, carb-loving good samaritan is afoot in DC, delivering free sourdough loaves to lucky recipients.

Last week, the Twitter account @FermentDC posted its first tweet offering up free bread to the first taker. The premise since has been simple: the mystery baker posts a photo of the day’s bread, which is delivered via bike to the first person who responds (fine print: the recipient must be located in downtown DC because the bread arrives by bike).

What’s intriguing beyond free fresh bread is the age old question: Why?! And who? The Twitter bio, “Fermentation without Representation,” isn’t very revealing. And while the account has a modest 124-person following, it doesn’t follow anyone else. The profile picture is bread. The header photo is also bread.

I found out a little more on Friday when I was lucky enough to snag the daily boule. The delivery was simpler than I thought a mystery bread drop-off would be. After working out timing over Twitter DMs, the baker arrived at my office on a blue-green Surly bike. They produced the sourdough loaf from a knapsack and handed it off to me. I thanked them, and we parted ways.

Though our encounter was brief, I was able to get a few more details after. Preferring to stay anonymous while doing good deeds, Ferment DC started as a way to spread kindness around the city.

“It’s such a random thing, I know, but 2019 has been such a shitshow,” the baker says. “It really feels good to just share bread with someone and hopefully brighten their day in a tiny way.”

A design and tech freelancer by day, Ferment DC started giving away bread on Twitter in the spring of last year on a personal Twitter account. After seeing a good response from friends when they offered up an extra loaf online, they got the idea to start Ferment DC and expand the good will to strangers.

Though the exact recipe for the sourdough varies by day, the one I received was comprised of water, King Arthur all-purpose flour, a yeast starter, and amaranth. The bread was crunchy on the outside, airy on the inside, and pleasantly tangy.

Since they first started delivering in the spring, the baker estimates that they have given out 18 loaves.

“The best comment so far was ‘We thought you’d be wearing a mask,'” the baker says about the spontaneous deliveries. “And the best compliment was a woman who looked around and then took a big bite immediately after I gave her the bread.”

So far, Ferment DC has delivered a boule of kindness almost every weekday. Keep your eyes on Twitter for the next offering.

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Editorial Fellow

Madeline Rundlett is an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She previously covered All-Met sports for the Washington Post and was an editorial intern at The Hill. Madeline graduated from the George Washington University with a degree in Political Communication in 2019.