Thursday, February 14, 2019

We Open on Wednesday, February 20!

We passed our inspections yesterday at the store front bakery at 445 Main Street in Etna, and will open on Wednesday, February 20 at 8 AM. I'm expecting chaos but we will work the kinks out. Tentatively our hours will be 8-2 Wed, 8-6 Thursday, 8-2 Friday, and 8-noon Saturday, but all of that may change. Thursday will be the day with the greatest variety of breads, Friday will have the greatest variety of tarts, cakes, and cookies, and Saturday will have the greatest variety of breakfast items. But we will have some of everything, especially bread, every day. Thank you everyone for your support over the past three years. It's been an honor to be able to bake bread for so many people in such a small community, and to see people stand out in the snow and rain to buy my bread.

It may be cash only the first few days of operation, but we are getting a card reader that should arrive any day.

--Erik Ryberg

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bread for November 1 and Thanks for a Great Couple of Years!

This will be my last week selling bread on Main Street.

We still have two separate permits to obtain from the County before we can begin construction on our bakery, but I feel confident we will get them. There are many obstacles remaining, and we are not going to be allowed to do most of the things you would expect from a bakery. Our menu is pretty restricted, we cannot have any seating, and everything we sell has to be fully packaged before it can be displayed or sold. I  am trying press on and stay optimistic, but I have been very frustrated that the County is enforcing to the absolute letter regulations that other restaurants in the valley don't seem to have to follow at all. For example, just this week I purchased a non-packaged burrito from the Chevron Station in Fort Jones, which has no hand-washing facilities at all in their sales area and whose sales people do not wash their hands in between purchases. We have to have hand-washing facilities and we cannot sell unpackaged items, even if we use tongs to put our displayed products in a bag. But I have found it only makes things worse to bring these kinds of things up, and I am not interested in bringing the County's focus onto other restaurants in the valley anyway.

The good news is, we will at least be able to sell our breads and pastries, even if every last one of them has to be fully enclosed in a bag before it ever leaves the kitchen. (If you want to buy 12 cookies, be ready to open a lot of bags.)

For this last week, Gracie and I will have Country French, parmesan-pepper, semolina, sprouted grain, and dark rye. We'll have more cookies than usual, too, and hopefully a cake or two.

It's been a great honor to be able to sell so much bread in this small town! It's been two and a half years now and I've sold over 10,000 loaves of bread and twice that many cookies. I'm very grateful for all my customers, and I hope you will visit us when the storefront opens, which should be soon. Before Christmas.

See you on Main Street from 5-7!

--Erik Ryberg

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bread for October 25

I'll have the Rosemary Polenta this week, along with Country French, sprouted grain, semolina, and the dark rye. For the first time in my 8-month odyssey of getting permits, failing to get permits, having to re-do permits and so forth, a representative from the County is going to actually visit the site of our bakery and let me know what is possible. I am very excited about this, but it will be happening at a critical time of the day for me and it might mean a slightly lighter supply of sweets. However, I should have two or three varieties of cookies, the flourless chocolate cake, and maybe some tartlets. Probably no croissants though, sorry.

See you on Thursday from 5-7 on Main Street! (Lately Gracie and I have been selling out before 7 PM pretty regularly, so if you come by toward the end and nobody's there, that's what happened!)

--Erik Ryberg

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Bread for October 18

I am hoping to have cranberry-walnut this week, at least a few of them. I will also have Country French in both the rounds and the sandwich style, dark rye, semolina, and sprouted grain.

I noticed an article this week about Pantera, the massive corporate "artisan style" bakery. They are releasing the ingredients of their breads, which doesn't seem like a big deal to me but apparently is. They are trying to ease people's concerns about bread, and advertising the "healthy" ingredients of at least some of their breads.

I have such mixed feelings about all of this. Of course I think people should be able to know what is in the food they buy, and this information is always available from me. It's pretty easy: all my breads contain flour, salt, water, and whatever additives are totally obvious. For example, the cranberry-walnut bread has flour, salt, water, cranberries, and walnuts. I don't use any preservatives of any kind in my breads, and nearly everything is sourdough (the only non-sourdough breads are certain of my baguettes, some holiday breads, and challah). There is no sugar in any of the breads I sell to the public except some holiday breads. (Pastries . . . are a different matter.) There is also small amount of molasses in the dark rye.

I am hoping to move to 100 percent organic flours by the beginning of the year. These are more expensive, but the per-loaf price isn't too bad, and I prefer to use organic flours.

Now, the mixed feelings come in when it concerns trying to advance bread as some kind of "health" food. I believe that bread is a healthy food, but not a "health" food, and trying to make it a health food does all kinds of mischief. I just don't think bread is well designed to be a delivery-system for vitamins and all manner of ingredients. It's designed to accompany healthy ingredients, like vegetables for example, on a sandwich. Or soup. Bread makes other food taste better, and diversifies the eating experience. It provides calories and a bit of fiber, but not much else. However, I think if you eat my bread, you will eat better naturally. It's so easy to throw a tomato and some lettuce on a slice of bread, and so easy to dunk it in soup. Any time you are eating real food over packaged and processed food, you are taking a forward step.

The other problem with this kind of marketing is, by telling customers you are making your bread particularly healthy, you are suggesting there is something wrong with it in its normal, simple form (as in my Country French). Bread has been so savagely maligned and disparaged in the past ten or fifteen years! I do not make a practice of telling people what is going on in their own bodies, so I am agnostic on the "gluten-intolerance" diagnosis that has swept our nation, but I will say that per-capita bread consumption has gone down a great deal since the mid 1900s in this country, and it has fallen a staggering amount since the 19th century, when many in the western world got more than half their calories from bread. It seems to me if we want to locate a culprit for a recent malady, we should be looking at foods that are being consumed more than in the past, not less.

Anyway, I am no marketer but I think a superior campaign would be, "Eat More and Better Bread."

See you on Main Street on Thursday from 5-7 (or until we sell out, which does happen sometimes).

--Erik Ryberg

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Bread for October 11

It looks like I'll have the Leinsalmonbrot on Thursday, which is a delicious German sourdough bread loaded with flax and made with a fair amount of buttermilk. I'll also have dark rye, Country French, sprouted grain, and Country French. I'm aiming to have a good selection of cookies and maybe some croissant-dough based pastries. Maybe a cake.

See you Thursday from 5-7 on Main Street!

--Erik Ryberg

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bread for Thursday, October 4

This week I will have the Golden Raisin and Oat, Country French in both rounds and sandwich style, semolina, and the sprouted grain. Have others noticed increases in a lot of food prices? I may have to raise the price on the oatmeal-pecan cookies as pecan prices, already high, have really gone up again for some reason. Vanilla has stabilized, thank goodness, at about four times what it was two years ago. Well, for now, my prices will be the same. I don't want to charge more than a buck for a cookie.

See you on Thursday from 5-7 PM on Main Street!

--Erik Ryberg

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Bread for September 27, and Notice of Impending Service Disruption

The big news over here is that we finally got our approval letter to begin building the bakery! I picked it up yesterday and we will begin construction this week. One thing this means is there will likely be a week or two in late October or early November when I cannot make bread because the oven will be at the new location awaiting an inspection from the County. I am trying to keep this period as brief as possible, but there are many unknowns. Just moving the oven is going to be a terrible ordeal because it won't fit through the door without being tipped on its sides and partially disassembled. Oh and it weighs 1,600 lbs.

This week I'll have the long-awaited Parmesan Pepper, along with Country French, semolina, sprouted grain, and probably a rye sandwich loaf. I'll have plenty of sweets too. My friend Jill gave me the flu for my birthday and it kept me from the Farmer's Market this week, so I have lots of sweets ready to go. I sure hope somebody buys them.

See you on Thursday from 5-7 on Main Street!

--Erik Ryberg