The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
June 4, 2014

Going downtown….the rest of the story

Well, there is much to update since January.  I did get my permit from the city of Torrington which allowed me to open an in-home bakery.  This gave me the permission to get some commercial grade equipment at home which started with the double steam-injected oven  from French Canada.  It is the only Cadillac that I will ever own and here is a photo of the beauty.

This has helped me be more efficient with baking times and produce more product the last few months.  I was able to bake 48 dozen bagels in one day and then the next week make 64 dozen caramel cinnamon rolls over two days.  The oven is a blessing and will be a permanent part of the bakery for years to come.  It heats up quickly and has a built in fan to circulate the air for even baking.  I had to stop baking right after Easter, because that is when the wall of my kitchen was knocked down and we are progressing with the addition at home.  But I was able to sneak in an entire two days of baking with my sister, Jarene, in addition to the bagels and cinnamon rolls.  Here are some snapshots of the breads we made those two days.

I have been going through baking withdrawl for six weeks, but I am hoping to be baking again by the 4th of July.  They are actually installing cabinets today and the fabricator is here to make the template for the countertops.  I had an ingenioius friend of mine come and tear into the sheeter and learn all about how it works and he was able to get it running just beautifully.  I have a couple of parts to replace, but that will  be fine and then I will be able to begin test baking Croissants and Danish Pastries.  This will be very exciting, albeit challenging in the summer months.  During my time off from baking, I naturally have had many hours to plan the future of The Bread Doctor, LLC.

After a few months of baking, I had the growing realization that it would not be wise to build an entire commercial kitchen in my garage.  As the bakery business grew, I could see myself getting too big for the garage very quickly, and then having to move out.  This would leave me with a garage that was unfit for any vehicles to park and a large waste of money and time spent in repurposing the space.  (These realizations will seem obvious to any clear-thinking observer, but I was a man obsessed with a dream.)  Having accepted this realization, I knew that I had to explore other options.  I say this in a rhetorical sense, because I had no other obvious options at the time.

At the beginning of April, I headed downtown for theatre business and I happened upon a “For Sale” sign in the window of an old building right on Main Street.  It had large picture windows that jutted out to the sidewalk, wooden floors and a high-vaulted ceiling.  My pulse quickened and I called Lisa to come down and look with me.  Of course, this became the beginning of the Cinderella story.  After negotiating an offer and some repairs with the owner, the building became the property of The Bread Doctor, LLC.   Here is a photo of the front and the sign.

So…..the building purchase has led to a cascade of events.  I immediately have begun planning a renovation timeline and a timeline at work to allow me to be free to open the bakery down town in the spring of 2015.  I will be baking again at home in July and keeping the business going there until I am ready to move to Main Street.  I hired my baking teacher, Marda Stoliar, to come to Torrington over Memorial weekend to design the bakery.  That was a wonderful couple of days and was very exciting.  Here we are in the empty building sitting at the drawings trying to figure out how to use all of the space.

It has been a thrilling adventure the last few weeks, but I am very excited and feel that things are working out well.  There have been many meetings already with the plumber, electrician, city building inspector, HVAC specialist and discussions about the walk-in refrigeration and freezer needs.  The contractor working on our home has agreed to remodel the bakery, which is a blessing, and  I am learning a very large amount about the process of remodeling, and business planning. 

I will be attending school for two weeks in September and again next April to learn more about a few of the items I want to feature in the bakery and to learn to decorate wedding and special occasion cakes.  I will be working only in the Emergency Room starting on January 1 and will be leaving my clinic practice on October 1, 2014.  The eventual plan for the bakery is for me to work the emergency room on Monday and Tuesday each week and have the bakery open Thurs, Friday and Saturday.  There is much to do and I will be working and baking my brains out for the next year to get this all ready, but it will be exciting.   And that….is the rest of the story.