About Orange Boot Bakery
Hi, we’re Mark and Cindy Dyck and we love to bake. Mark’s obsessed with bread in all its lovely fermented forms. Give him some flour and some yeast (or better yet, an active sourdough culture) and he’s a happy guy. Cindy’s all about the sweet stuff: cookies, muffins and other tasty treats.
(Mark’s also the writer of the duo, so let’s dispense with this third person narrative. It’s way too formal. Rest assured Cindy’s read everything before I post it and somewhat agrees with what I say about her. Onward!)
We’d been baking for a long time when our projects slowly got bigger and bigger. It wasn’t enough to bake for our lunches; now we were baking for church sales and teacher appreciation days. It came as a bit of a surprise, but we really loved baking for other people. The idea for Orange Boot Bakery was born.
The Brick Oven Bakery
The first version of “Orange Boot” was a secret hideout in our garage. After learning how to build brick ovens from Alan Scott in 2004, we spent a summer building our own oven beside the garage. I love that oven! After baking 1-2 loaves at a time in our kitchen oven, now I could bake 16 loaves at a time and 50+ loaves a day easily. I’d pick a recipe from my favourite bread books and email a dozen friends. They’d order a loaf or two each, Cindy would fire the brick oven and I’d bake the loaves on Friday. It was a lot of fun, even if it meant chopping wood in the snow all winter.
Brick oven baking was a blast, but it wasn’t long before things got out of hand. Even though people loved my bread, I wasn’t 100% happy with what I was baking. So in January, 2008 I left Cindy and the kids in -40C Regina and went to school at the San Francisco Baking Institute. More classes through the Bread Baker’s Guild of America followed. I was lucky to learn from some of the best teachers in North America and my bread improved by leaps and bounds. We were more popular than ever.
Our Retail Bakery: Bread, Pastries and Great Friends
Our popularity spelled the end of our back yard bakery. Our ‘secret’ email list had grown and grown as people begged to get on the list. Soon it was impossible to keep up in our small brick oven (the oven that only 18 months earlier had seemed huge!) So I quit my job, took out a big loan, leased a building and filled it with mixers, sinks, benches and an even bigger oven. Orange Boot Bakery (retail edition) was born in January 2011.
Boy was that ever an adventure! A lot of amazing people came into the bakery every day. We made so many friends through our baking, whether it was our regulars who picked up a fresh loaf three times a week, the lady who gave our holiday bread as presents every year, or the charities we supported through our donation program.
An Amazing Adventure, In Sourdough
We grew a bunch too. What started as a real family business – Cindy and me baking in the early mornings, our kids Ben and Robyn helping after school, and even Cindy’s sister Candy helping on her days off, – grew into a team of 5-6 bakers and an amazing front crew. We earned the reputation of being friendly, open and welcoming, in addition to having the best bread and sweets in the city. We were known as being adventurous too, always willing to try baking from our customer’s childhood, be it chorizo buns from Portugal or an extra sour Rye loaf from Poland. It was an amazing, challenging, rewarding, exciting adventure.
But it was also an exhausting adventure. After five years, Cindy and I decided to close the retail bakery to recharge and regroup. We’re still baking, but back in our kitchen and in the brick oven. And I’m still dreaming about bread and baking. I can’t look at a “For Lease” sign or an empty space without laying our baking gear and a front counter in my mind.
What You’ll Get From This Website
If you’re a home baker, we’ve got recipes, tips and tricks to help you bake your best ever loaf in a home kitchen.
If you’re dreaming about opening your own bakery one day, well let’s just say it helps to learn from the mistakes of others. You’ll get our best tips (from our experience and the amazing bakers we’ve met over the years) about starting up your dream bakery and keeping it going long term.
We call the teaching area of the website The Baker’s Bench because you learn to bake by getting your hands in the dough and baking. So gather ’round the Baker’s Bench, take a course or get a new recipe. It’s free to join, so sign up now!
How to Contact Us
We love hearing from you, whether you have a question, a project to work on together or just want to say hi.
Email works best for us. bakers [at] orangeboot [dot] ca will reach both Cindy and me so let’s go with that one.
Replace “bakers” with “mark” or “cindy” if you want to reach just one of us.
Finally: What’s the deal with “Orange Boot?”
Ahh, our #1 question. Why did we name ourselves Orange Boot Bakery?
If you want to build a bakery that is so magical, so creative, so amazing that you can’t help but break into a grin, then there’s only one person to name it after.
Dennis Bergkamp. Yup. Here’s the story.