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Latest Update!
Next Tuesday I pick up my completed concession trailer and get busy!  I can't wait.  That means that in exactly two weeks (March 2, 2013) I'll be making the Sinclair's Bakery debut at the Bozeman Winter Farmers' Market!  I won't be bringing the trailer since it's an indoor venue, but instead will be baking in the trailer here at my place, then transporting the breads and pastries to Bozeman, just like a regular market. 

Here's a couple pictures of the work in progress.  Here's a Facebook link for more photos and a flickr link in case you don't do Facebook (same photos). 

I'll post more photos next week when I get the trailer, and then some more when I get the graphics on the trailer.


edit:  At the bottom is a photo of the trailer that I picked up yesterday,  2/19/13.  There are more photos at the links above.

link to a previous post about the project


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Hi there everyone.  Last time I wrote to you I had just finished my last bake at The Back Home Bakery.  I was hoping to be able to post pictures of the newly opened bakery at this point, but alas delays have occured.  Rather than wait until I'm open I figured I would give you an update to show you the progress so far.  Anyway, soon after, I packed up all of my stuff and the bakery equipment and headed south to Bozeman, MT via Nampa, Idaho.  Why Nampa, Idaho you ask?  Well, that's where Sinclair's Bakery is originating.  After searching high and low, I finally found a place that would be able to help me with my project.

Let me explain.

As those of you who have been following me for the past few years know, The Back Home Bakery was located in the lower level of my home.  Most of my baking business came from a very busy summer season selling at the farmers' market, plus it was supplemented through wholesale work throughout the year.  Of course I realized this would be impossible to duplicate in a brand new area/market without a home to start with, so this is the plan.  The folks at Double R trailers in Nampa will be taking my idea and equipment and building me a concession trailer.

This is an example of a similar concession trailer, but NOT mine:

Below is the floorplan for the trailer they are building for me:

Much of the bakery equipment will be in a concession trailer.  It will be supplemented by a 20KW diesel generator which will be on the tongue of the trailer.  The overall size of the trailer wil be 8'6" x 24' and will be towed by my 3/4 ton truck.  If you are familiar with the '5 minutes at the Back Home Bakery' video then you will recognize that some of the equipment missing from the trailer are the 60qt mixer, the sheeter, and the large work bench.  This equipment among other things like the bakers racks and large 3 compartment sink will be housed in a warehouse where I am living. 

This will allow me to bake on site not just at the farmers' markets, but also at other event locations.  Fresh baguettes and croissants for everyone!  For wholesale and on off days, I can plug the trailer in and use as a small bakery, much in the way I used to at the Back Home.   Below is my design for the outside graphics of the trailer which I will paint upon arrival here in Belgrade, MT (just outside of Bozeman).

Here are some pictures of the warehouse/studio where the trailer will be housed and where I live:

The studio can be seen at the top of the stairs to the right, the rest of the bakery equipment is in the rear.


This is looking down from the top of the stairs of the studio.


Some of the rest of the bakery equipment.


The living quarters upstairs.

If you'd like to see more pictures of the area I now call home and you are the Facebook type, feel free to check out my page here.
If you would rather check out the pictures of the area I live now on Flickr, then click here.

The initial projected completion date was mid-January, but it has been pushed back to mid-February.  In the meantime, I will keep myself busy by growing more white hairs and substitute teaching at the local schools to earn a few bucks. 

There you go for now, and happy baking to all of you in the meantime.


 Edit:  mid-February update here

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Hey Everybody,
Well guess what?  Buddy of mine and TFL member Bob (TFL screen name bobkay1022) made a guest appearance at The Back Home Bakery this week.  Just in case you aren't familiar with Bob, both he and his wife of 41 years primarily reside in Arizona, but spend much of the year traveling the U.S. in their motorhome.  Although he bakes at home in Arizona, he has also baked during his travels using a convection microwave in his motorhome.  Bob and I have corresponded quite a bit in the last few years having first become aquainted with each other here on TFL.  As I knew he would be in the northwest part of this country sometime this summer, I extended an open invitation for him to visit should he make it to the Flathead Valley.
Anyway, they rolled in to the area on Friday morning and were invited to join us at 1:00 AM for a Saturday morning session getting ready for the Kalispell Farmers' Market.  Bob heartily accepted the invitation while his wife thought better and instead decided to decline.  Bob will also be joining me on Tuesday morning to get his hands in some dough and help prepare for the Whitefish Farmers' Market. 
Here's a couple of photos of us on Saturday.

Bob packages up some pizza dough for the market.  'Take-and-Bake' pizza dough is now one of our biggest sellers!

Here we are striking a pose while we should probably be working.


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So we just got back from our two-week vacation in Europe-   Spain, France and Holland to be precise.

I'm going to roll through some of the highlights, but if you'd like to see a lot more pictures of the Big Adventure, you can check them out on my Facebook page here.

We landed in Madrid about mid-day, found our hotel, washed up a bit and headed out into town.  If you ever happen to make your way there, you should put this place at the top of your places to visit.  The Mercado de San Miguel is an indoor market with lots of booths filled with food and wine.  Yes, and because it's in Spain this means that you're free to eat, drink, and be merry while you walk and sample everything from fresh mozzarella with blueberries on a sliced baguette to a glass of wine from La Rioja.


Next we move onto the island of Ibiza where we visited my friend Helena.  Although its recent reputation is as the party capital of Europe, Ibiza has a rich history with relics dating back to Carthaginian times.  Helna hosted us at her home and gave us a super tour of the beaches, the local foods, and fantastic churches and museums. 


Our next stop was further north in the land of Spanish Wine known as La Rioja.  Two of our friends were generous enough to give us the local tour complete with visits to Logroño, Santa Lucia, and Laguardia.  In the first picture, accomplished sculptor Félix Reyes poses with some of his work and my friend Javier.  Below, there's nothing like a night on the town in Logroño with good friends, food, and wine.


Next, we took the train up to France and managed to spend a night in the picturesque village of Saint Emilion.  Since we were a bit early for tourist season, we had the streets to ourselves as we walked through the town at night after an outside dinner in the evening.


After spending a night in the very scenic town of Tours, we began our three day visit to Paris.  Of course we had the obligitory visits to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.  Breakfast and/or lunch was spent touring the various boulangeries- pictured here are Michel Deschamps' and Eric Kayser's.  Baguettes were coming out of the oven at Deschamps, but we opted for a couple of delicious quiches instead.

I know it may be heresy to say on a bread baking forum, but by far the highlight of the Paris portion of the trip was not the baked goods, but our first-time visit to the Palais Garnier.  Back on January 9, I spent between the hours of 12:45AM and 2:15AM 'standing in line' online waiting for tickets as they went on sale for the first time for the Robbins/Ek show titled 'Dances at a Gathering' and 'Appartement'.  It was well worth it as we got front row seats in the center of the second mezzanine. 

If you only have one night to spend in Paris, this is what I would recommend.  I particularly enjoyed the second half of the show which featured the Swedish band Fleshquartet playing live as a modern ballet was performed in front of them. Here's a link to a video of a portion of the show from a few years ago.  It was as good as it gets.

Finally our Big Adventure was capped off with a high-speed train ride to Amsterdam, a visit to the Van Gogh museum, and a personalized tour of the Keukenhof tulip gardens by fellow Fresh Loafian and BreadLab meister,  Freerk.  It was the perfect finale as we saw more colors and varieties than one could possibly imagine and thanks to Freerk, we actually got to and from the gardens without ending up in Belgium, Germany, or just in the water somewhere. 


And thus ends Sharon and Mark's Big Adventure of 2012.  Thanks to everyone who helped us feel the local flavor of their wonderful lands! 



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Greetings everybody!
Today was 'Fundraiser Day' at the Back Home Bakery in Kalispell, MT with all of the profits from the sale benefiting  the Flathead High School French Club.   A small crew of high school students worked the final shift baking, packaging, and delivering croissants, palmiers, and pains au chocolat for their happy customers.

It started a few weeks ago as the students took orders for different combinations of pastry boxes so we could get our work order.  Next two shifts of teacher, student, and parent volunteers came up to the bakery to shape everything (a new experience for all).  Lastly, this morning we baked and packaged everything and even had a little left over to feed the worker bees. 

Ready for the grand totals?
Croissants: 198
Palmiers: 264
Pains au Chocolat: 319

Not too shabby, huh?  Check out the pictures below to see how well everything came out. 

Good job everyone and I hope you enjoyed your time in the bakery!



cutting and shaping Croissants



Pains au Chocolat and Palmier shaping



more shaping of Palmiers and Croissants



finishing the croissant shaping and then begins the baking and packaging



lots of eggwashing and 'bien cuit' Palmiers



Pains au Chocolat and Croissants fresh from the oven



a beautiful box of pastries

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Last week, Charlie came from Bowling Green, Ohio to hone his baking skills during a one-week internship at the Back Home Bakery.  Despite the initial butterflies, Charlie quickly adapted to the bakery hours and work schedule improving his dough handling skills throughout the week.  Below are some of the highlights from the week.

Thanks for the hard work, and I hope your family gets to enjoy some of the bread/pastries you learned to make during your internship.



Charlie transferring baguettes from the canvas to the baguette screen.


Here goes Charlie on the rolls


Charlie shaping croissants like a pro





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Michelle came to the Back Home Bakery from Vancouver, BC last month for one week of bread baking and pastry making.  Like most visiting interns who specialize in rustic breads, Michelle quickly added an introduction to laminated doughs to her repertoire.  She used her meticulous nature and detail oriented hand-skills to create picture perfect Apfelstrudels, Spinach Puffs and Cheese Danish too.  I think her favorite breads to shape were the Buckwheat Flax loaves we make into boules. 

Unfortunately, most of the pictures we took during the week were on her camera or tablet, so she is invited to add her own photos to this thread!

Thanks for the help Michelle, and I hope you and your husband continue to enjoy your baking skills at home.



Michelle pre-shaping the dough slabs on Day 1 of Puff-Pastry making.


Michelle demonstrating that moving quickly while working with sticky dough will make your life easier.

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This past week Randy came up from Missoula, MT to help us out at the bakery.  It was a very busy week as we had plenty of special orders plus the usual wholesale and farmers' market work to do.  Fortunately we had perfect weather for both farmers' markets and we had lots of happy customers at both of them.  On Saturday we had quite the customer demand as Sharon and I quickly filled the orders and Randy worked his butt off to keep the shelves filled with bread and the display cases stocked with pastries (sound familiar Thomas?).  If you haven't experienced it yet, it's a very gratfiying feeling to have worked your hardest for the week and to have dozens of very pleased customers waiting in line to enjoy the breads and pastries you've produced.
Thanks for the hard work, Randy, and I hope you show off some of the baking skills you've learned at home for your family.


PS If you missed Thomas' account of his most recent experience at the bakery, you can see it here.


Randy paying his dues the Back Home Bakery way


Me watching in wonder as Randy tackles 18 loaves worth of stretch and fold


Happy Randy as he boules up 27 pounds of dough after a stretch-and-fold





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 This past week (June 5-11) May visited the Back Home Bakery from the L.A. area for her internship.  During the week we had the usual work-load plus a bunch of extra palmiers and baguettes for a special order.  The area she felt she improved on the most was controlling the factors to get the desired dough temperatures in both loaf breads and laminated doughs.  Although I'd like to think that being in the bakery was her main highlight of the trip, seeing this as we were coming home from the Tuesday night farmers' market was probably at the top of the list. 
Thanks for the hard work May, and for spoiling Hoku rotten.


May working on the 20qt mixer while we start the rolls


shaping as I record times in the background





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Last week Patrick loaded up his truck and drove up from San Antonio, Texas for the first internship slot of 2011.  We had a busy week preparing for Memorial Day, some wholesale accounts, and two farmers' markets.  Patrick had a bit of practice with all of the bakery equipment including using the sheeter to laminate 75 pounds of croissant dough on Thursday morning.  He elected to stay in the area for an extra week for some rainy sight-seeing in Glacier National Park and finished his stay by helping us and intern #2 (May) on an extra-busy Saturday morning.  More about that in my blog entry about her week. 
Thanks for the hard work during your internship week and for helping us on both farmers' market Saturdays.  I hope you enjoyed the stay and learned lots about the baking process.


Patrick showing the mixer who's boss and operating on a Mannele made with baguette dough



Both of us working on a batch of rolls on a Saturday morning



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