Oven news! 🎉

plans to get bread flying out of a new oven ASAP

Hi bread friends.

It is a strange feeling to happily do a thing routinely and then suddenly and unexpectedly break that routine. Reflecting on the past six months of baking sourdough bread on a weekly basis, I realize that I’ve made and sold over 1000 loaves of bread already in 2021. And now since my oven abruptly broke a little over a week ago I’ve made no bread at all for over a week.

Many of you have reached out to me since my email a week ago letting you know that I was unable to make bread right now because my oven suddenly broke. Thank you all for your kind notes. I really appreciate the reminder that we are all part of a community and we’re here for each other.

My bad news for this week is that I’m still without an oven this week and again won’t be baking bread for this week.

🎉 The good news today is that we found an oven this weekend at a local appliance store, and I expect to have a new oven delivered by the end of this week. So after I get some test bakes in place this weekend… I hope/expect that I’ll be back to a regular schedule next week.

As many of you know, I have a day job, which makes breadmaking a before-work activity for me. Sometimes that makes me feel like a bit of a poser in this cottage baking community. Almost all of my friends who bake and sell from their homes do it both as something they love and as a source of income for their family. One thing that I’ve reflected on during this time period without an oven is how stressful it would be to be a full-time baker without an oven. Not only would you be dealing with an unexpected expense, but you also would have no income while you’re trying to navigate that.

So many small food-based restaurants and businesses have been through so very much this past year. I guess I’m just reflecting on how fortunate I feel that I have gotten to pursue my newfound love of baking, while also having a relatively safe and steady income from a day job that allows me to work from home. I’ve made it a point to shop local and eat local these past 16 months… but I think this experience is going to cause me to be more attuned to ways that I can support businesses that I frequent if I learn that they are facing unexpected expenses. Oftentimes small businesses just quietly take out a loan to get over a hump… but if they have a community of people who love and support them - hopefully, we as a community can help them navigate hard times.

Speaking of being a community – Several of you asked if I was going to do a GoFundMe or somehow raise funds to replace my oven. You’re very kind to offer that, and let me tell you what the plan is for that.

I have a dream of being able to increase the scale of Bread & Justice someday. When that day comes, I absolutely will need your help to do it. My wife and I have loosely brainstormed what it would take to turn the basement (or part of it) into a proper micro-bakery. This idea absolutely makes my heart sing. Having dedicated space for mixing, shaping, and baking your dough would be amazing. Having a bread fridge for cold proofing, and a dedicated bread oven for bake days would be phenomenal. (shout out to a handful of you fellow bakers that sent in cool suggestions for other bread ovens that I should look into when the time comes.)

Whenever that time does come, the goal of course would be to increase our bread production and ensure a sustainable footing for Bread & Justice to be able to keep donating to social justice nonprofits. I’ve never done a GoFundMe before. When it is time to create one you bet I’m going to need a bunch of help from this awesome community.

For now, we just bought a new oven for our kitchen. I’m excited about its arrival so that I can do some test bakes this weekend. If you’re curious to follow along, I’m sure I’ll be posting about the oven and about my test bakes later this week on my instagram.

Until next time 😎 Have a great week!
To my fellow dads out there, I hope you have a relaxing and joy-filled Father’s Day.