In a Portlandia-esque story, two musician buddies with a common interest in baking and bikes got together and decided: If they could get 20 people interested in a weekly loaf of freshly baked bread delivered to their doorstep by bike, well, then, they were just the two to make it happen.
According to owner/operators Micah Taylor and Nate Hogue, the St. Paul-based Brake Bread is not only a reference to bikes, but also to "putting on the brakes" -- to doing things the slow way.
Both men say that they got interested in baking bread for similar reasons -- to create something with their hands. "I really dove into it during my years as a stay-at-home dad," says Hogue. Now they head to the bakery right after dropping the kids off at school in the morning.
"It was a sense of accomplishment to have something to show for the day. It was the release of stress to get my hands into the dough, and as I continue to bake at a more intentional level it's sharing with neighbors and then hearing stories of their family members that used to bake. Nowadays a loaf of homemade bread is such a luxury. And to make great bread from such simple ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast) is an incredible mix of science and art. Everybody's got a bread story. I guess we're still writing ours. Hokey, but true."
The 80 or so households a week they deliver to don't seem to think its hokey -- the company continues to grow, mostly through word of mouth. They load their converted Burleys up with loaves and deliver down the West Seventh corridor and into downtown St. Paul each Wednesday morning (yes, even in winter). They are only delivering in the West Seventh neighborhood of St. Paul for now, though there are pick-up locations for anyone outside the delivery range still interested in the subscription.
"Nate goes one way and I go the other. People seem to love seeing us on the road and always honk and wave," says Taylor.
Currently, they're sharing a kitchen space, so their offerings are limited to five selections, each cheekily given a bike-themed moniker, like the Single Speed, a "rustic, lean bread with a chewy crust and a moist open crumb." They're currently on the lookout for a permanent location.
Subscription price is $18 a month for a weekly loaf delivery.
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