By Gabriella Loielo
Bakers Guild Café, located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is a new café serving breads so tasty they will make you think twice about cutting the crusts off. Owner Doug Michaels and Manager Mike Jones let us in on their recipes and what it means for bakers to spread social good.
So Doug, a guild is “an association of people for the pursuit of a common goal.” What is Bakers Guild all about?
The goal of the guild is two-fold: to train employees for their own business paths and to have employees potentially invested in our company as co-owners. The business plan stimulates loyalty, low employee turnover, great food and customer service. It gives the employees a chance to recognize room for improvement in themselves and have the space to improve. Ultimately, what I want to see is for our employees and bakers to own the Café.
How is the Café making an impact?
We source locally instead of being at the very end of a long industrial food chain. Knowing the quality first hand from passionate farmers makes all the difference. This improves the lives of our neighbors by giving the small local stands our business and we get that in return.
We are also working with the community to secure one of the empty lots on Main Street and to turn it into a community garden.
We create an impact with our employees and our business model as well. I really support the idea of helping our employees start their own businesses.
How does Bakers Guild’s sprout recipe measure up to traditional flour recipes?
As far as baking goes, the fact that we don’t use flour is kind of cool. Instead, we prepare and shape our breads with water. It’s a completely different approach to making bread and is easily digestible for all diets. Traditional bakers use flour and that’s fine but you don’t need it. Sprouted wheat is an amazing grain. So all we do is take the wheat, add water and salt, then introduce time and human hands.
How did you raise the dough to make the dough?
Our Kickstarter helped us reach our most recent $3,000 goal in November. It was a comical video filmed by our screen printer Nick Rusnock. Nick is an example of an employee who eventually wants to strike out into his own business with our full support.
How did the sprout idea grow?
I got interested in sprouting when I got Lymes Disease. Lymes is this weird thing where you feel like you can never completely shake it. Somebody recommended that if I was going to eat grain it should be sprouted so I started eating sprouted breads. Then I wondered if I could make it myself, so I did.
When we moved here there was a farmer’s market right on the corner from where I worked and they didn’t have a baker. I thought if I’m going to integrate myself into this town and meet people that would be a good opportunity. So I built a little cart and took it out there with about two dozen loaves of this sprouted grain bread and immediately started meeting people and developed a small following. One thing lead to another and everything that I needed sort of came to me.
What keeps you going?
Meeting the right people at the right time. I made a lot of mistakes and my learning curve is enormous, but it seems like in the critical moments, the universe has provided. This town has magic to it!
Bakers Guild Cafe is a member of Columbia County Bread & Granola. To shop the BGC’s delicious breads and other tasty treats, visit ColumbiaCountyBread.com.
Check out one of our favorite Kickstarters ever right here!