Our bakehouse and everything that comes out of it is built upon a simple purpose, rooted in a core set of beliefs. These words are our North Star and we do our darnedest to strive for them everyday. Take a quick read - and learn what our little bakehouse is all about.
BREAK BETTER BREAD.
To break bread is to share a meal with someone - and beyond the simple act of eating - it is hopefully the giving of your time, presence and self. These days, not only is it increasingly harder to find the time to break bread as family or friends, but the foods we eat aren’t always the best for us - they may be highly processed or delivered to our front door through from an app on our phones. Then we chow down and move on to the next thing in our busy schedule. When we started baking naturally leavened bread at home, something awesome would happen. When a freshly baked loaf finally cooled, we’d come together to enjoy it. Whether it was avocado toast in the morning or grilled cheeses for dinner with the neighbors, bread was creating opportunities for us to slow down and just be together. And not only was bread giving us a reason to enjoy our meals more - it created moments for connection with others as we shared it! Pre-sliced-who-knows-what-is-in-it bread from the grocery store means a hastily made sandwich to suffer through alone in your office cubicle. We strive to make bread that is better than that - bread that will hopefully be cause for pause, enjoyment and the connection of others.
BREAD CAN BE BETTER
We believe that bread can be better when it's baked without all the extra stuff you see on the labels in the grocery. Your average loaf of commercially prepared bread can have well over a dozen ingredients in it, many of which aren’t actually necessary to make bread - more so to keep it “fresh” as it travels from the factory to sit on the shelf over who knows how many days. The industrial bread baking process has overcomplicated the simplicity of what bread really is: flour, water and salt. And when you keep it simple, using locally milled flours and ancient baking methods like starter cultures and hearth ovens - bread can be better - not just in taste - but also in nutritional content. The benefits to long fermented, naturally leavened breads are well documented and we are excited to be part of a shift in what is being put on the table.
Selling bread to our community is an absolute dream, but it’s also a ton of work, even though we love doing it! We also love lots of other things - like our two young kids, traveling, camping, hiking and a myriad of other adventures! Running Humble as a cottage bakery allows us to have a business where we can more easily balance work and play. Without the operational costs and expectations of a brick and mortar location, the elusive “work/life balance” seems somewhat more attainable. It also means shaping loaves while our kids watch, preheating the oven and then going back to bed and a very short commute! An operation at this scale allows us to balance the best of both worlds. Yes that means limitations to our production capacity and growth, but it also requires us to be very intentional with the decisions we make as they will have a direct impact on our home life...because it’s also our bakery!
We don’t know how many loaves of bread we’ve baked at this point, but we’ll always think back to when we first started learning to bake bread, mixing and shaping loaves with sometimes disastrous and frustrating results. But somehow, with lots of time and practice, we created something that we wanted share with others. And then enough people started telling us to sell our bread and we took their advice. And that’s how we got to where we are today, with the encouragement and enthusiasm of so many friends, family and neighbors who’ve enjoyed our bread. Naturally leavened breads are also a wicked teacher. A miscalculation in your dough formula, rushing through a bake or simply forgetting to set a timer can knock you down a few rungs real quick. No matter how good that last loaf was the next one could be really different. We don’t know what the future holds for us as we set out on this bread adventure, but whatever happens, humility will always guide us.
KINDNESS SHOULD BE INGRAINED IN EVERYTHING WE DO
The entire baking process for a single loaf of bread requires an incredible amount of patience. A starter must be nurtured so it can give your bread life. A rising dough asks for your undivided attention as you stretch and fold it to build structure. And the shaping of a final loaf requires a soft and delicate touch as not to harm the internal gases that have developed inside. Imagine if we were more patient and nurturing to each other, gave each other our undivided attention or were more delicate with how we treated every human we crossed paths with - how different things could be. Building a business on the notion of kindness may seem silly to some, but for us it is just as essential as every other ingredient that goes into our bread.
Humble Bakehouse is a Cottage Food Operation, permitted and licensced by Contra Costa County.