It’s Wednesday, y’all!
Know what that means? Scratchbread is open to the public!
Every Wednesday afternoon, Scratchbread departs from its usual routine of baking goods wholesale for local restaurants and food markets, and instead, opens up a small window of time (literally, they open up a small walkup window) for regular consumers, like you and me, to buy their delicious, freshly baked goods.
Scratchbread, located at 1069 Bedford Avenue on the corner of Lexington, has been driving neighbors batty with the daily sun-up/sun-down smell of fresh baked bread since it first opened almost a year ago. And the fact that its products rarely are available to the general public makes humpday that more special.
Check out some of the items they’ve been cooking up in their ovens: Plantain breadcake with molé spice struessel and bitter-salty chocolate; rosemary and grey salt brownstone focaccia; goat cheese, sun-dried tomato and thick-cut bacon pizza; sour milk salt and pepper biscuits; sticky buns; and crème fraiche brownies.
Mathew Tilden, the storeowner and head cook, has done little to market the store or get it its name out there. What he’s most concerned with is making sure the business is firmly grounded with a team of steady, reliable workers. The reason this remains a challenge for Scratchbread is because he is asking for volunteer workers, in exchange for hands-on baking training and a little business acumen.
It’s a reasonable tradeoff, considering the quality of his product, which is another reason why has avoided publicizing the store: Tilden knows, like most who have tasted Scratchbread’s goods, the food is so good that even a little bit of marketing could potentially drive the store’s demand past its ability to keep pace.
“This is only going to go as far as how much people I can get to contribute,” said Tilden, who has been cooking professionally for almost 15 years. “I’m trying to bring the community in and keep the costs down. There’s also a lot of elements that I’m working to bring together, like bridging this with soup kitchens, community gardens, the CSA, and figuring how to link all of that.”
These days, Tilden says he’s growing a little weary of the wholesale grind. He’s trying to focus more on direct-to-consumer service: He hopes to soon be able to open his walk-up window not only on Wednesdays, but also Fridays through Sundays. Also, he says, he would like to use the sidewalk space on the side of the building to start brunches with interesting, experimental baked goods.
“This is a food brand; it isn’t a bakery,” Tilden points out. He says he can make just about anything, and he enjoys most when customers ask for a challenging food product, and the by the next week, he has it ready at the window for sale.
“Ideally, it’s about bringing nice, delicious food, with virtual sophistication,” he said.
This week’s special invention? The Oatmeal Chunky, made of two different kinds of oats, palm sugar, fresh berries, bananas and apples and red wine.
Yes, I tasted it. And mmmm, mmmm.