Some people who slice into a loaf of The Bread Board’s pumpernickel rye or dig into a sticky bun, may not be familiar with the style of bread baked by the Falls City bakery.
“People who like it become extremely devoted and continue to come around; they say it’s better than anything anywhere else,” owner John Volkmann said.
The Bread Board opened in Silverton on March 22, next to the Coffee Station at 206 S. Water St. The shop is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Bread is brought in fresh every morning.
Volkmann said the European artisan-style bread is baked in the largest commercial style wood-fired brick oven on the West Coast, producing a unique, high quality product. Using their own wild yeast sourdough starters, Volkmann and partner and baker Keith Zinn, along with the eight other employees, mix and knead the dough by hand before baking it in the 1200 firebrick hearth oven.
Volkmann said that while the American palate doesn’t always lend itself to the European artisan style, for many people the taste and texture of this type of bread reminds them of a trip to Italy or France.
One woman who came into The Bread Board said the bread reminded her of her French descent. Zinn said he and Volkmann have been overwhelmed by the welcome they have received from Silverton.
Volkmann said the decision to open in Silverton came after he and Zinn were pondering the direction they wanted the business to go. Their breads were sold at the Silverton Farmers Market during 2009 and 2010 and developed a following among many Silverton residents. But after The Bread Board opened its bakery in Falls City, they no longer had the time to do all the farmers markets, so they stopped coming to Silverton.
“We got so many disappointed calls and emails after that, we knew we had a good customer base here,” Volkmann said.
The Falls City bakery opened on Memorial Day 2010 and continues to sell more than 60 kinds of breads, pastries, foccacia, and pizza by the slice. Silverton carries the bread, pastries and foccacia including country sourdough, toasted sunflower, and roasted garlic/sundried tomato.
The concept for the bakery began in Volkmann and Zinn’s home kitchen, when they built a small wood fired oven. Zinn, who had apprenticed at a bakery in Northern California, started baking again.
“We started emailing a menu every week and people would respond and place orders; they’d come to pick their orders up on Sunday,” Volkmann said. “From that we developed a customer base and started at farmers markets in 2009.”
Their wood fire oven has the tremendous capacity to bake bread, so expanding to more locations made sense, Volkmann said.
After looking at several locations in Silverton, they decided on the move next to Coffee Station.
“It’s a perfect location,” Volkmann said. “It’s across from the farmers market; it’s the perfect size and old world style,” he said.
He said Christy Peters, owner of Coffee Station, was already a fan of The Bread Board’s bread and pastries. She thought it might draw customers between the two locations. Volkmann said he is excited about the latest in development in his business.
“So many people are finding us for the first time, and our volume of business exceeded our expectations,” he said.
Zinn said business has continued to increase. “When I got here this morning, there was a line of people waiting to buy bread,” he said one Thursday.
For information, visit, www.thebreadboard.net