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Easter Holiday Hours

Mixed Eggs

Easter Sunday is April 20, snow or no snow.  (I’m hoping for no snow.)  With the Good Friday holiday, our hours have changed a bit this week.

 

We’re open as usual Thursday, April 17, 9:30AM – 6PM

 

We are CLOSED on Good Friday, April 18.

 

We are open on Saturday, April 19, 9:30AM – 4PM.

 

Even though we’re closed for a day, the bakers will be working all day and all night to get ready for our two busiest days of the year.  The Thursday and Saturday before Easter really put stress on our tiny oven, trying to get the hundreds of Easter Braids, Hot Cross Buns and Easter Egg Sugar Cookies baked for you, along with our regular bread, pastries and sweets. 

So please forgive us if we look weary instead of cheery this week. We still love to see you and have a chat, but we may have to keep our hands moving at the same time!

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Will You Be the Next Orange Boot Baker?

2014 bake crew

Want to work with this bevy amazing of bakers?  Now’s your chance!

Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years at Orange Boot Bakery is how crucial it is to build a strong, energetic team to work with every day.  Our current bake crew is exactly that.  I’m so lucky to be able to work with Teisha, Sandy, Sheraea and Kim every day.  Not only are they talented bakers, with a love of their craft and excellent hand skills, but they are so much fun to work with too.  It’s a joy to come into the bakery every morning knowing I get to work with them.

There’s a downside to this, however.  When you hire great people, their lives are full of adventure and sometimes they have to move on.  Sheraea is getting married soon and next month is moving to be closer to her new husband.  We’re going to miss her calm smile, her eagerness to try new things and her mad oven skillz.

So we’re hiring again. Very quickly, since we need to replace Sheraea, but very slowly, because we’re looking for the Right Person.  The Next Orange Boot Baker:

  • is excited about bringing joy to hundreds of people every week through the food he/she makes in the morning
  • loves hard, physical, fast paced work if that’s what is needed to make the best baking for people
  • is enthusiastic and full of energy, even before sunrise
  • loves working as part of a highly motivated team
  • is willing to learn in the name of creating the best baked goods in the world

The Next Orange Boot Baker may have some pastry school cred, or previous professional baking experience, but it’s not necessary.  What’s necessary is the overwhelming desire to create something truly remarkable.

Does this describe you, or someone you know?  Then we need to talk. 

Call Mark or Cindy at (306) 584-2668 (mention you’re calling about the baker position), come into the bakery in person Tuesday – Saturday between 8AM and 2pm, or apply online here.

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We’re Baking for Respect

Respect

 

My friend Yvette told me about the Red Cross Day of Pink that’s coming up on Wednesday, April 9 and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get involved.  I want to stand up and be counted.  I hope you will too.

The International Day of Pink is all about taking a stand against bullying, especially bullying by kids and in schools.  It was started by two kids in Nova Scotia who had enough when another student got teased for wearing a pink shirt to school.  They started wearing pink too in support of their friend.  Now it’s an international event and has made its way to Saskatchewan.

I’m glad it’s here.  Respect (the antidote to bullying) is a value I cherish, although I don’t always have enough of it inside me.  I’m lucky though, in that I have a daughter with crystal clear perception of the people around her, since she was 3 years old.  She sees the kids and adults that are hurting and tries to help them out, no matter what. I’m lucky to have that beacon to inspire me to improve myself.

She’s also helped me see just how pervasive bullying still is in our society. Maybe it’s not as overtly violent as when I was a kid, when if you were different you got beat up after school, but we can be as mean, dismissive, gossipy and hurtful as ever.  That’s not going to change overnight, but it has to change.  It has to stop.

So I’ll be proudly wearing my pink t-shirt on Wednesday April 9.  We all will.  At Orange Boot (on Wednesday, we’ll be Pink Boot Bakery), we’ll all be baking for you and serving you in pink this Wednesday and making special t-shirt cookies too.  All proceeds from the t-shirt cookies will be donated to the Sheldon Williams Collegiate Peer Support program to support the good work they are doing at the school.

I hope you come say Hi on Wednesday, have a cookie and even wear some pink of your own.  Respect.

Photo from Red Cross Manitoba

*update* – I had originally called the SWC program “anti-bullying” but peer support is the correct name.

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Old School Easter Baking

Now that March has nearly finished going out like a Lion (hey, didn’t it come in like a Lion too?) we’ve turned our attention to our Easter Baking line up.  The Easter season has always been a very busy time at the bakery as Spring finally arrives, people head outside more and everyone gets active.  Couple that with special family meals at Easter and there are plenty of reasons to be hungry!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Folks have been asking for Hot Cross Buns since Christmas and they are finally here!  We will have Hot Cross Buns available every day at the bakery starting Tuesday April 1 until the Saturday before Easter.

We make a traditional Hot Cross Bun which, as best we can tell, is a unique thing in Regina.   Our buns are slightly sweet, a little spicy and full of candied orange peel and currants.  We pipe a flour paste cross on the top before baking and then brush on a light glaze when the buns are still hot.  They are beautiful to behold and even better to eat. 

No matter how many Hot Cross Buns we make, they tend to sell out early, so please order in advance to be sure you get your buns, especially closer to Easter.  Large orders (more than 12 HCB’s) need two days notice.  We’ll do our best to fill all orders within the constraints of Einstein’s theories of time and space.

Easter Bread Big

Easter Bread

We are also making round Easter Bread from April 1 through the 18th.  Orange Boot Easter Bread is a sweet, enriched loaf with dark raisins, golden raisins and cranberries.

This ‘new tradition’ celebration loaf is my take on my Grandma Silverson’s Kolach, which she would make every Easter at the farm.  When I was little I loved how her round, sweet loaf sat all big and proud at the centre of her dining room table.  Every year I regret that I didn’t pay better attention to how she made her bread, but I think she’d be proud of the golden brown, sweet braided loaves we make at Orange Boot.  They look great and taste even better.

I know for sure that at the bakery we take a lot longer to build a loaf than my Grandma did.  We use a technique called a ‘preferment’ to add more flavour to the loaf, but that means the loaf is another two day build.  So if you have a special occasion or want to order a large number of loaves, be sure to give us two days notice so we know to make more.  Once we’re sold out for the day, we can’t ‘whip up’ a new batch.

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Let’s Bake: Easter Bread!

Easter Bread

*Note:  This round of classes is sold out.  Stay tuned for more classes next month! *

It’s time for more baking classes!  In April, we’re going to run two classes where you can learn to make Easter Bread just like we make at Orange Boot Bakery.  This hands on course will cover mixing our Raisin Cranberry Easter Bread dough, fermentation, and braiding both as a long loaf and our traditional round loaf.

By the end of the class, each attendee will have three loaves to take home for Easter – enough for you and a gift too if you like.

Our Easter Bread is my take on the Kolach my grandmother made every year at Easter.   Armed with my recipe (home scaled of course) and the techniques we’ll teach at the class, you will be able to add to your own holiday baking tradition, or start a new tradition for years to come.

 Class Details:

Class 1: Sunday April 6, 2014

Class 2: Sunday April 13, 2014

Class Time: Noon – 4:30PM, or until the bread is baked and cool enough to bag.

Location: Orange Boot Bakery, 3904 Gordon Road

$65 per person.  Each class is limited to 12 participants.

 

 

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Give Your Sweetie The Box O’ Love. Or a Cake!

Valentines Cookies

We love baking and we especially love baking for Valentines Day.  I mean what could be better than gazing into your sweetheart’s eyes as she (or he) gazes upon a splendiferous selection of hand made treats?  And then she (or he) looks up at you and says something like “Wow, I had no idea you loved me so much you bought me an Orange Boot Box O’Love!  I’m overwhelmed!  We must be getting serious!”

And then, as if to prove her (or his) love for you (just you), she (or he) shares the box with you (and only you).  Win-win!

Every year Cindy tries to go beyond what she did last year and this Valentines is no exception.  She and Kim have been baking and testing for over a month, perfecting their recipes to add even more variety to our St. V’s lineup.   This year we have:

  • Sugar Cookie Hearts: decorated with either a zigzag of royal icing smattered with heart shaped sprinkles, or zigzags of white and pink royal icing;
  • Black Forest Cookies: luscious fudgy chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and dried cherries;
  • Linzer Cookies: two delightful, crispy heart shaped hazelnut cookies sandwiched together with raspberry jam;
  • Sicilian Fig X Cookies: a sweet, light dough wrapped around a sumptuous filling of dried figs, toasted almonds, preserves, rum and chocolate – shaped into an X;
  • Lemon Jumble O Cookies: Nothing at all like our apple or pesto jumbles! In the world of cookies, a jumble is a rather old fashioned, crisp, slightly buttery sugar cookie rolled into a ring shape. A nice companion to our X cookie, the O is a light, crisp lemon cookie, dipped in lemon glaze;
  • Raspberry Rugelach: a cool little cream cheese pastry, filled with raspberry jam, chocolate, currants and almonds;
  • Chocolate Friand: friand means “small mouthful”, and this is a small mouthful of chocolate heaven;
  • Classic Brownie: this is the recipe that Robyn always made for us at home, so we may have been a bit biased when we were taste testing brownie recipes, although the whole crew liked this one best. Here is our take on chocolate brownie bliss;
  • Chewy, Crunchy Blondie: meet brownie’s cousin blondie, a chewy coconut-y bar packed full of chocolate chips and walnuts;
  • Raspberry Chocolate Muffins: a moist, airy muffin loaded with raspberries and dark chocolate chips. Brilliant with your favourite cup of joe;
  • Strawberry Swirl Cake: we LOVE this cake. It has a dense crumb, kind of pound cake-ish, but still light, with bursts of flavour from the strawberries and strawberry swirl….hmmmm, we think you just have to eat one to see what we mean!

 

We are adding more and more sweets to our a la carte lineup starting today, will have most everything by Saturday the 8th and will have absolutely everything available starting February 11th.

Just like last year, we are also making two different gift packs, available for pick up on February 13th and 14th:

  • The Orange Boot Box O’ Love, a local tradition since 2011, is back again this year.  16 pieces in a lovely gift box for $30.  Available in a nut free edition if you like.
  • For those of you looking for something a little smaller, or who possibly have commitment issues,  we have the Orange Boot Bag O’ Strong Attraction.  9 pieces bagged up all pretty for $15.  Also available nut free.

 

Gift boxes and bags are available by pre-order only.  We may have a very few bags available at the shop, but that’s taking a big chance with your love life, isn’t it?

[It's too later for Valentines orders.  Next year! but here's our regular order form]

 

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Let’s Bake Together at Schoolhaus

Schoolhaus

 

My friend Aimee Schulhauser is a busy, busy lady.  It’s not enough that she is one of Regina’s most sought after party and event caterers and she already owns one of Regina’s best lunch spots. Now Aimee wants to turn you into a kick-ass cook too!

After teaching over 300 cooking classes after hours in her catering kitchen, Aimee has opened Schoolhaus Culinary Arts in the basement under Tangerine.  She’s got a fully outfitted kitchen and they are running a series of short, entertaining cooking classes nearly every night of the week.  The new kitchen is perfect for small group cooking parties too.

Many of the classes are taught by  Aimee and her lead instructor Mariana Brito.  But Aimee is also rounding up a group of local chefs, restaurateurs, and yes, bakers to share their knowledge at Schoolhaus too.

Bakers, you say?  That’ right!  I’ll be teaching one of the first classes at Schoolhaus, titled “Artisan Bread at Home” on the afternoon of Saturday, February 15th.  It’s going to be a jam packed class with a good mix of theory, hands on baking and lots and lots of bread tasting too.

One of the major differences from the Schoolhaus class and the classes we’ve run at Orange Boot is that we’ll be focused on how to bake the best bread possible using the tools you have at home.  That means no spiral mixers, no steam injected deck ovens, no 26” long proof boards.  But we’ll have our wits and our senses and that will get the job done!

Space is very limited for this class so if you’re interested, please sign up now!

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Farewell to Maple Leaf Bakery

maple leaf

Last week one of my suppliers told me Maple Leaf Bakery was closing.  Yesterday I got the auction listing for all the equipment from MacDougall’s Auction.  And another Regina bakery is through.

I can’t claim to know Cal Howell, the owner of Maple Leaf, very well.  In fact, I don’t think we’ve met face to face at all before.  But Cal made a point of calling me every year at Christmas to check in and talk shop.  It was a lot of fun.  We’d talk about how busy Christmas was and how slow January was going to be (good time to go to Cuba, according to Cal!)  A couple years back he told me about his plan to only be open four days a week so both he and his bakers could get two days off.  He was like us in that we both worked six days to be open for five and that gets tiring quick.

It felt weird to do it, but I checked out the Auction listings to see if there was anything I could use at our bakery but all the gear is way too big for us.    Cal ran a wholesale operation.  Sure, lots of his bread and other products graced the shelves of Oscar’s Deli on 11th Avenue (and I know many Orange Boot customers are also loyal Maple Leaf/Oscar’s Deli customers – I used to go there too before I started baking in my brick oven), but the bakery itself was 2-3 blocks away on Toronto St.  When you’re selling wholesale it’s all about efficiency and Cal used modern baking equipment to make his bakery go.  A huge mixer that actually lifts in the air and rotates to get the bread out.  A mechanized bun line that divides and shapes each roll.  A mechanized divider and shaper for forming round loaves.  And a massive Picard revolving oven, the style of oven that has graced almost all the family run prairie bakeries over the past 50 years.  One or two bakers can make a ton of product with a setup like that, but all that gear scares me to death.

I say it felt strange to check out the auction because it makes me sad when, after years and years of effort, everything a baker has built gets deconstructed to a building and pile of equipment.  I always hope that instead there will be someone to buy the business and keep it going.  Regina needs more unique, independent bakeries, not less.  Besides, nobody is going to retire on the proceeds of used bakery equipment.   Rumour has it that Cal owned his building, so at least that was in his favour.

I know from talking to Maple Leaf customers that his light rye and his Saskatchewan Field bread had a loyal following.  I have to think that Cal and Maple Leaf meant something to these folks and both he and the bakery will be missed.  I know I’m really going to miss those phone calls at Christmas.

PS.  A few people have come into the bakery over the past week asking whether we’d start baking bread like Maple Leaf’s.  That’s a tough question to answer, since I don’t know what characteristics folks found appealing.  I mean, I might describe a Maple Leaf loaf completely differently than you or someone else would .  And there are differences in equipment, ingredients,  ovens and the like. But we’re listening and learning and thinking about what we would add to our ‘new bread’ list.

PPS.   There are some low quality videos of Cal’s bakery and his gear that were made for the equipment auction.  The overview video is fun simply to show the difference between a bakery like Maple Leaf and a smaller place like Orange Boot.

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Orange Boot Is Three! Yippee! Come Celebrate!

Hand painted sign saying Happy 3rd Birthday

Photo Credit:  Transition Heathrow

On Saturday, January 18, Orange Boot Bakery will be exactly three years old.

Three years of great bread and yummy sweets;

Thirty six months working with talented, cheerful and energetic bakers and front staff;

One hundred and fifty six weeks working with caring, professional, ethical farmers, millers and ingredient suppliers;

Seven hundred and eighty days helping charities and community groups across Regina;

And most importantly, seven thousand eight hundred hours spent making new friends and catching up with old friends every day at the bakery.

There are times I think we only wedged in around 32 hours of sleep in there somewhere, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

If you were at the bakery this morning, or haven’t been by in months, I hope you come by and help us celebrate our birthday this Saturday, January 18, 2014 from 9:30AM – 4PM.

We’ll have special treats (sweet and savoury) for everyone who comes by. Ben is working on getting the music together (I’m hoping for a Mariachi band but it’s unlikely.) We’ll be launching our third “True Friends” contest as well. And of course, we’ll have the cases full with our usual selection of bread, pastries, coffee and sweets to keep your belly, and your pantry, full.

One thing is clear: it doesn’t matter how good our bread is if nobody is there to eat it, share it and enjoy it. There’s no way Orange Boot would have made it three years without your support and encouragement, right from our very first day in 2011. So I really hope you can come by for a few minutes on Saturday, even just to say Hi. We’d all love to see you again.

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Spelt is Back!

Spelt Loaves, looking awesome

 

 

One loaf that has made a comeback lately is our 100% Whole Grain Spelt loaf.  We had a lot of requests to bring this loaf back after we took it off the menu this summer.

We had become unhappy with the lack of volume we were getting from the spelt loaf.  Generally, you can expect a heartier loaf from 100% whole grains.  Spelt has a lot less protein than wheat, which also causes challenges in the volume department.  But after several weeks of thinking and testing,  Teisha, Sandy and I tweaked our process to make a slightly lighter loaf that we could be proud of.

The Spelt loaf is a whole grain loaf, made with whole grain Spelt flour and our Rye sourdough starter.  It has a lot more substance than our baguette for example, and a robust, hearty flavour. We like it a lot.

Our spelt loaf is baked on Wednesdays. We’ll gladly put a few in the freezer for you if you want to pick up on a different day. Just give us a call at (306) 584-2668.

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