The Fresh Loaf

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Sinclair's Bakery - July update

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mcs's picture
mcs

Sinclair's Bakery - July update

Hey there everyone.  It's been a couple of months since my last update so for those who haven't been keeping track on Facebook, here goes.

The farmers' market season is just getting rolling.  There are plenty of events here in the Gallatin Valley, plus some in nearby towns and counties.  I decided not to pick up any wholesale accounts until after the market season has slowed down later in the season.  Today was my third time selling at the Gallatin County Farmers' Market, and Wednesday was my 5th evening market in Livingston, MT.  Livingston is just north of Yellowstone National Park and just under an hour east of Belgrade, MT.

And just so you don't think I'm just standing around taking pictures of the scenery, here's some filled rolls that I sell at the evening market.  The ones with the white sesame seeds have shredded beef in them, the mixed seeds designate chicken teriyaki filling.  Thanks Michelle for the suggestion on the toppings :)

 

This is the cross section of some croissant dough I made that I was particularly proud of.  Nice, huh?  When it comes out like that, you just go 'aaaaaaaahhhhhhh'.


Here are some strudels I was making yesterday morning while it was still nice and cool.

Below are some croissants I baked up at the market today in Bozeman at the fairgrounds.  "Quick, I need to get a picture before the customers come!"  A vendor came to get one before the market started.  I told him they were currently in the oven, and when he asked how long he'd have to wait, I turned the timer around so he could see it.  "Two and a half minutes," I said.  How's that?




Buckwheat Flax and Sour Rye 400g mini loaves

 

Next week, I'll be trying the market at Big Sky and possibly testing the waters here in Belgrade at the evening market they have on Thursdays.

After a short hiatus from the baking world because of my move, it's nice to be back in the mix and to be hearing things like, "I used to live in Paris, and this pain au chocolat is better than any I ever had there!" 

I had one customer two weeks ago who told me, "My wife is very particular about her baguettes; she's French.  I'll take one and if she likes it, we'll be back next week."  This week he came back with a smile on his face and his wife.  "Well, I told you I'd be back if she liked it.  We'll take two!"  His wife chimed in, "Three."  :)

Another woman, probably in her late 70's, and with a thick accent came back and bought three baguettes.  She told me, "Last week I got one of your long breads, and it was the best bread I'd ever had, so this week I'm getting three!"  I asked her, "Do you mind if I ask where your accent is from?"  She said, "Switzerland.  Basel"  I told her "When I was a teenager my family and I traveled to the Engadin Valley and I enjoyed the bread and pastries so much, I decided I was going to become a baker."  She smiled.

Anyway, that's the short of it; word is spreading fast and all of the good bread and pastry loving people are coming out of the woodwork.  If you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out the bakery Facebook page here.  All of the photos are set to public view, so you shouldn't need a FB account to see them.

Happy Baking everyone.

-Mark

Comments

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Everything looks Great Mark!!  Love the trailer and the idea. 

Bill (from facebook)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/27-Degrees-North-Hand-Crafted-Artisan-Pastries/329513307072203

mcs's picture
mcs

You keep up the good work too.

-Mark

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I think about you so often . I am SO glad things are working out beautifully. You have such a knack for describing your bakes and the circumstances. I can just hear and feel It. Congratualtions on such a start to your new business. Your bakes look perfect !  

R and I just got back from a month in VA with DS1, the chef, and family.. He has accepted a new postition here in AL just 10 min. from us...not 10 hrs ! We are so excited. I am working with him on the bun baking :) He is going to be doing mainly charcuterie and butchering. He has his grandfather's knives so all will be well. 

Please keep posting. I am still hopeful that we will get out "west"....c

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the compliments and I'm glad to hear that things are working out for you, your hubby, and your family.  Only 10 minutes away?  Perfect. 

If you ever make it out in this direction be sure to give me a call or email.

-Mark

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Nice to hear from you Mark.  Absolutely positively unquestionably beautiful croissant dough....you should be more than pleased with yourself for that work.  Glad to hear that things are going well.

Jeff

ps the croissants aren't half bad either !!!!

mcs's picture
mcs

It was one of those mornings when everything went quickly and precisely and before I even finished all of the laminating, I went upstairs to grab the camera for a photo op.  Once the dough is done right, everything else becomes a lot easier.  Thanks for the compliments. 

-Mark

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Mark, you don't have a sheeter in that trailer do you?  Or you do your prep work at your brick and mortar shop and then transport and bake in the trailer?

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Nope, the sheeter isn't in the trailer.  The rest of the work is done in there, but there wasn't enough room for that.  However I'd like to find a way to easily move it in and out of the trailer since I have an air conditioner in there.

-Mark

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

nice laminated dough.  Well done and good luck with the markets.  Sounds like you are building clientele the old fashioned way- savvy customers seeking a good product.  Can't beat that!

Happy baking

mcs's picture
mcs

Yes, customers are making their own discoveries and it's nice to see that they value a high quality product!

-Mark

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Mark,
That's a wow for each of those amazing photos: the mountains, the trailer, the laminated dough! and all those perfect rolls and pastries your customers are enjoying - glad to read you are getting such positive feedback, and no wonder. Best wishes for continued success,
:^) breadsong

mcs's picture
mcs

I don't think I've ever gotten a 'wow x 6' before!  Next time I'll post a couple more photos and see if I get a 'wow x 8'.  Thanks for that and the well wishes too. 

-Mark

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I can see why they are coming back for triple orders and I imagine they are also bringing friends too..just get's better.  

Your beautifull laminated pastries are perfection.

Thanks for sharing your very successful journey.  

Sylvia

 

 

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Yes a lot of the people who are coming, even this at this early stage, are saying "My friend told me that...", or "I've heard you've got the best...", or even "I heard you sing and play the ukulele really well...will you sing me a song?"  OK, that last one was a little bit off the wall.  :)

-Mark

evonlim's picture
evonlim

wow.. amazing i would be going for triple orders too! just awsome., thanks for sharing. and keep it up

evon

mcs's picture
mcs

Now that I'm getting a little more settled with the schedule, I'll try to do a little more posting here.  It's interesting to see the differences between the markets and also the types of customers too.  Thanks for the compliments.

-Mark

isand66's picture
isand66

Looks like you are off and running and there is no stopping you now!  Glad to hear you are doing so well and only just getting started.  Everything looks about as good as it gets.

Regards,
Ian

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks.  Now it's a matter of getting all of the quantities adjusted to meet the demand and the timing just right so everything is as efficient as it can be.

-Mark

isand66's picture
isand66

I just checked out your FB page and I must say your prices are a real bargain.  I would pay twice the amount you are charging.  Maybe because I'm used to New York prices but your baked goods are easily worth double the price!

Ian

mcs's picture
mcs

I try my best to keep my prices reasonable so that everyone can afford to have something high quality to eat.  Where else can you get two great croissants and a cup of good coffee for $5?  Personally I have a difficult time spending a lot of money for food and then going away hungry, regardless of the quality. I work my hardest so that others can not only get bread and pastries for themselves, but can also afford to buy some to share with their family and friends if they should choose to do so.

-Mark

Syd's picture
Syd

Mark,

Those are stunning looking breads.  Beautifully crafted and such exquisite attention to detail.  That croissant dough is so perfect it looks like it hasn't been made by human hands.  

I think the outside of your van looks great, too.  Clean and simple but elegant at the same time.  

Best,

Syd

mcs's picture
mcs

Just like with breads, batch after batch and time after time, we make little adjustments to account for the temperature, timing, and products we're working with.  Every once-in-a-while even as it's happening, you can just tell that it's going to be juuuuusst  right.  That's how that croissant dough was. 

Glad you like the graphics too.  I didn't want it to look like a carnival attraction, but instead like something classy where you'd buy high quality baked goods.   You can't tell from the photos, but in addition to the sandwich board, by each of the windows I also have a framed menu so customers can see more details about the products -  like you'd find outside of a restaurant in a city. 

Thanks for your kind words.

-Mark

grind's picture
grind

WTG Mark.  Waaay too cheap!

mcs's picture
mcs

I can hear the clapping from here!

-Mark

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fantastic!  Makes for happy dough too!  Everything is clicking into place.  That is great news and you have great looking products!   All telling us what we already know, you're a great baker!  Nice, very nice set up.  Classy.

Mini

 

mcs's picture
mcs

Yeah, it was really pretty strange, in a good way, making baguettes that day while staring out the window at the view.  People were walking by, some walking their dogs, a couple pushing a baby stroller, and there I was shaping baguettes.  It's hard to envision until you're doing it. 
Thanks for the compliments.  If there's one thing people appreciate here in Montana, it's a nice trailer, or 'rig' as they say here.  I get as many positive words about that as I do about my breads and pastries.  :)

-Mark

varda's picture
varda

Very impressive relocation.  I've been watching your systematic rebuilding of your business.   You could write the book.   Lovely breads of course.   I've been going back to your posts on baguettes.   Very practical and helpful.  -Varda

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks for the compliments and let me know if you have any questions about the baguettes.  You can PM me here.  Since the initial baguette posts by Jane, David, et. al, I've changed the techniques a bit and also changed flours and timing somewhat. 

-Mark

proth5's picture
proth5

that a baked good can bring - that's why all us tech burnouts want to bake.

Nice laminating.

Ever consider pretzels?  I just had the occaision to learn about pretzel making and in spite of the danger, they seem like a unique product...just joking.

sort of.

All the best wishes...

Pat

mcs's picture
mcs

You mean 'because of the danger you should try making pretzels'.    It's on my to-do list.  Because I grew up in eastern PA, I'm obligated to learn how to make pretzels.

Tomorrow I'm making another batch of croissant dough, so let's hope for a nice cool Rocky Mountain air kind of night. 

Take it easy Pat.

-Mark

proth5's picture
proth5

(the PA Dutch) brought the things to the new world.  I had forgotten how great a real pretzel tastes.  I'll be practicing them once the weather gets a little cooler (and the "real" job calms down).

So, if you need a pretzel girl...

:>)

mcs's picture
mcs

'Pretzel prep monkey girl' does have a special sort of ring to it doesn't it?

M2's picture
M2

The trailer looks awesome, the baked goods look and taste fantastic, and you have customers there who appreciate high quality food.  What a great match!  Just the thought of your baguette makes me mouth watering...

Varda suggested that you could write a book, and I think you could also be an inspirational speaker as well :)

Since you're baking some of the products on site, do you still need to get up at 1am to start baking?  

Michelle

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks Michelle.  Yeah, the trailer is very nice and although it's taking a while, I'm getting used to it.  Believe it or not, I've got writing a book on my mind.  The timing isn't quite right now, but I've bounced the idea off of a few bakers I know, and I assure you it would contain some tips and techniques that have not been addressed yet in the bread book baking world.  Some of those things that people would say, "Why haven't I ever read that before?"  "Why didn't anyone tell me that?"  "Ohhhh.  So thaaaat's how it should be done..."  That kind of stuff.

I don't know about the inspirational speaker thing.  There are a lot of interesting ideas out there, but as Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration".  :)

I still do get up at 1am on Saturdays, but the timing is completely different.  I have to be at the fairgrounds at 7am (instead of 8am, like in Kalispell) for a venue that starts at 9am (same as Kalispell).  What that means in practical terms is things are proofing while I'm driving there; I can package in that time before the market starts (soft rolls); as of now I don't package the other bread at all until someone buys it.  Also, I want to have some stuff ready for vendors to buy before the market starts, so some pastries are baked as soon as I get there. 

It's all getting tweaked along the way, and as things get busier, it will change even more.

-Mark

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Hi Mark

Your croissants and strudels looked superb! $5 for 2 croissants and a coffee made from a reputable baker like yourself is a great deal.  I have been to a regional bakery last weekend and they charged $8.50 for a toasted croissant with ham and cheese, and those croissants were very ordinary.

All the best.

Annie

mcs's picture
mcs

Thanks.  I know, it's crazy how much croissant sandwiches cost.  Of course with a great croissant, you wouldn't want to cover it with ham and cheese, and if you tried to make it into a sandwich it would be far too delicate.  When you see someone walk away with a great croissant on a napkin, they carry it very gingerly.  Then when they start to pull it apart, their eyes get wide and they get a big smile on their face.  At that point, the last thing on thier mind is, "I sure wish this croissant had some eggs, ham and cheese, and maybe a couple pieces of bacon on it!"

-Mark

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Yeah... I forgot that croissant sanwiches normally are made with day old croissants. Bad choice of sandwich... lol

Annie

mcs's picture
mcs

you know that's the way it goes sometimes.  I've been known to eat my share of powdered doughnuts, corn dogs, and Costco hot dogs, so it's not always top-notch baguettes and croissants for me either.  :)

-Mark

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Last time when we visited US, our friend took us to Costco and we had hot dogs and pizzas. I liked Costco hot dogs, too.  At the moment, we only one Costco in Melbourne and they don't serve hot dogs here unfortunately.

Your batch of croissants is just perfectly browned, and I can feel they are made with full of love just by looking at them.  Did you apply egg wash before bake or before final proof? or both?

Thanks Mark.

Annie

 

mcs's picture
mcs

The croissants proof for between 3 and 4 hours.  They get their first egg wash about half way through the proof and get one more egg wash right before they go in the oven.

-Mark

annie the chef's picture
annie the chef

Thanks Mark.

Look forward to reading your next post.

Annie

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Mark, your plan is working! I sense a level of relief coupled with the thought that the market maybe larger than just one bakery on wheels can serve - maybe several?

The taste of good bread and fine pastries is a hard find in America. Seems you've tapped into a novel way of introducing a ready and appreciative audience ready and willing to buy into it.

Facebook is a great way to spread the message of when and where you'll be - something the food trucks in California started several years ago. Nice touch...,

Viva Sinclair's Bakery!

Wild-Yeast

mcs's picture
mcs

Well, your spidey sense was correct about the sense of relief, but I think just one bakery on wheels is good enough.  I'm still the new kid on the block here, so I'm still figuring out the different directions I'll be taking based on the different markets, towns, and seasons. 

Montana is very diverse, and the difference between two communities only 10 miles apart can be as contrasting as a cowboy or farmer and a ski bum or movie star.  So the towns reflect this of course and each one has its reputation and different tastes.  Anyway, it's nice to figure all of this out and to find that everyone appreciates good quality, regardless of their social status or political preferences.

Thanks for your support, Wild-Yeast!

-Mark

mariana's picture
mariana

You never cease to amaze, Mark. Your bread from the new bakery is off the charts beautiful. Better than ever. You make every one of your customers happy, I am sure.

I wonder whether you would find some time for publishing a book with your bread recipes in a succint professional format. I own all of your DVDs, a book would be nice as well. You are not just a born baker, you are also a great teacher.

And maybe, just maybe, you would consider shipping your bread as well, to other locations. I.e. having it affordable for the locals and pricey for the folks who care to have it FedExed to them, maybe in a frozen format, parbaked, baked, unbaked. I would buy your bread and pastries regularly that way.

Thanks!

mcs's picture
mcs

Thank you very much for your kind words.  Some day I'll publish a bread & pastry book with the recipes and techniques in it too.  I'm constantly learning little things that make a big difference in the products I make, and it's nice to be able to share them with people.  I appreciate your comments about me being a great teacher.  That's something I take great pride in, especially since I think one of my skills is being able to see things from the learner's point of view.  I try to think of the questions he/she would ask, and then present the lesson to suit the questions.

Some of the pastries I have shipped already baked across the country since they hold up OK, mainly some puff pastries like the Apfelstrudel.  Others I have shipped overnight-frozen and unbaked for special occasions.  You can imagine the overnight shipping cost is very, very expensive. 

I haven't shipped bread (except to some relatives) just because customers who have bought it fresh from me (for example ones that vacation in Montana but live in other states the rest of the year) and expect it to be just like they bought it at the market, when they receive it 2-3 days later in the mail.  They would be disappointed. 

Once I had a regular farmers' market customer buy a bunch of palmiers (baked) to be shipped overnight to her regular home in Ohio.  The shipping cost more than the palmiers did.  I packaged them up so they wouldn't be damaged, and they looked beautiful.  Keep in mind, the palmiers they were used to buying from me here in Montana were usually only 2-3 hours 'old'.  They received them 24 hours after they were baked, and I received the nastiest phone call from the customer.  "These are not fresh!  They are not crispy!  I planned on giving them to a friend, but they are not even good enough to give away!"  Ohio was experiencing its normal 95% humidity summer weather, and the palmiers were tacky.  I told her how to crisp them up in the oven, and explained how the dry air in Montana affected the products differently, and all that stuff, but she was furious.

On the other hand, Eric (ehanner) ordered a few dozen from me years ago and he was ecstatic.

You never know, but I decided to stop mailing out the baked goods in the meantime, mainly so I wouldn't have to deal with irate customers or have to eat the cost of the shipping and products should the shipping get screwed up.

Anyway, thanks again Mariana and Happy Baking.

-Mark