Bandits Bread is serving up seriously good sourdough at its new Sarasota bakery

A new bakery opened yesterday at the corner of Osprey Avenue and Siesta Drive. Bread bandits draws from its brand new location delicious sourdough, fresh croissants and an assortment of other baked goods.

Owners Brad Rutledge and Jules Thuet moved to Sarasota from Toronto, where Thuet’s family owned a successful bakery and Rutledge worked as head baker.

“We came to visit my mom who lives here during the pandemic and fell in love with Sarasota. It is so beautiful and the people are so kind. But we saw the need for good sourdough bread,” says Thuet, who is a sixth-generation baker.

“Brad is like the baker’s LeBron James. When it comes to bread, there is no one I have seen better,” Thuet continues. “He dived with me, so we moved down and worked at Gulf Gate until we opened our flagship yesterday. Your culinary destination (shared commercial kitchen) helped us get started.

“We didn’t want to sit around and not bake anything when we built this place, so Your Culinary Place gave us an opportunity to get our name out there. We mostly made croissants because our bread oven didn’t fit in that space.”

Thuet and Rutledge have since learned how to navigate Florida’s less-than-ideal baking climate.

“Every culture has bread, regardless of climate. There’s no excuse not to have good bread,” Thuet says. “It takes adjustments and it’s not easy, but we can make a great product here. We have a water filtration system and we have good air conditioning. We use less water than in northern climates because of the humidity and we bake everything fresh daily, so we always recommend eating it that day.”

One adjustment the couple didn’t have to make is the sourdough starter, which comes from Thuet’s family and is more than 100 years old.

“The appetizer is from my great-grandmother from France. My dad smuggled it into Canada. It has a very deep flavor,” he says.

As Bread Bandits continues to grow its audience, the pair plans to add salads and sandwiches to the menu, as well as an assortment of local retail products to take home. They have also partnered with several local businesses, e.g Hamlet’s Dining Room on Baazar on apricots and limesto help with their bread offerings.

“Bread is in my blood and that’s where I feel most comfortable,” says Thuet. “I love working with my hands. So many people eat bad bread. We are bringing back good bread – the way it should be.”

Bread Bandits is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 3546 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 413-5112 or click here.

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