The neighborhood is in need of a bakery. It seems like a half-bake idea. One day, I’m perusing New York Magazine’s ‘Grub Street’ section online. There’s an article, First Look: SCRATCHbread Rises in Bed-Stuy, about someone having the same dream, for they’re actively trying to open a bread shop in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York. Out of excitement, I sent an email to them requesting an interview. In between making the dream of having a bake shop in the neighborhood a reality, Alyssa Alpine and Matthew J. Tilden of ScratchBread agreed to answer a few questions.
How do you see ScratchBread’s role in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn’s food community?
We secured a long-term home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn this summer after going through four different shared kitchens in 16 months. Our new food WORKshop is on a great block, and we’re looking to dig into the area, and start hooking up the neighborhood with some delicious goods. A good loaf of bread has a lot of strength, and we intend to enhance our community — and then some — simply through the ideal that delicious, wholesome food should be accessible.
We plan to contribute to Bed-Stuy by opening a walk-up whole-sale retail window and hot toast menu for the neighborhood, plus developing an internship program for local teens. We’re confident that if we create an internship program based on a combination of youth development training and hiring from within our own raw talent, we can control our costs, give a little positive mentorship and spread a little knowledge as well. The process and completion of taking four ingredients to crusty deliciousness has a lot of power and significance to a young mind. Besides, we all like hanging out and smacking around somedough, it’s kinda relaxing.
If you had to create a bread named after Bed-Stuy, what would it be and why?
We already have the STUYVESANTsour which is probably the most prized possession in our bread line-up. It’s designed to challenge it’s inexpensive, popular store-bought competition, and hopefully open a few people’s eyes when they rip into the fragrant loaf for dinner or a snack. This bread has soul, and we’re looking forward to opening our walk-up retail window so more people can take a bite.
What are a few obstacles to opening a bakery? Any unique situations that only pertain to Bed-Stuy?
We’re a bakery. We’re a food workshop. We’re not a fan of limitations and rules, so we open ourselves to many levels of talents, products and ideas. Right now, the soul of the brand revolves around bread, but we’ve got alot of things in the idea tank. We’ve started a business in one of the hardest places in the country in a pretty rough economic time. Profit margins are slim, the hours are crazy. This brand was built with five grand, 18 to 20 hour days, 7 days a week, and an one-man operation for about a year. We’ve accomplished a lot over the summer, and we’re currently building up our wholesale client base. We really want to open this retail window with wholesale priced goods for the community, but we can’t do it without a little help from our new neighbors. This is why we’ve created the D.O.U.G.H. campaign to bring Delicious, cOmmunity, Urban-made, Goodness, Happening-now to the neighborhood. To learn more, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1105420724/dough.
What is your favorite recipe that uses one of your breads? Could you share the ingredients and directions?
Check out our SCRATCHstuffing mix we’ve created for Thanksgiving. It’s made from our seasonal crouton line. This version is butternut, and the mix includes toasted pecans, an earthy wild mushroom and herb flavoring satchtel, and the instructions to make the ‘purist’ version which would be dairy free with a quick make-your-own [vegatarian] stock recipe, plus a ‘luxury’ version which we’ve teamed up with our genius friends at the local Brooklyn Kitchen/Meat Hook. They designed a country sausage to pair with it… DELICIOUS!
Thank you for taking the time to participate in this email interview. Would you liketo share or add more information about ScratchBread that isn’t covered in the email interview?
SCRATCHbread’s products are stocked by Brooklyn cafes and specialty stores like Café Grumpy, Brooklyn Kitchen, Black Gold, Brooklyn Larder, Greene Grape Provisions, and Blue Apron Foods, and we sell directly ourselves at The Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays in Fort Greene. Check out where to find us until we get our retail window open at ScratchBread.com/Locations.
A special thank you to Alyssa Alpine and Matthew J. Tilden for taking the time to participate in this email interview. Please visit their kickstarter site to donate or visit Scratchbread.com to learn more.
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