As a teenager I watched, enthralled, as my first loaf of Challah sprang to life in my home oven; I felt brilliant. Then one day my neighbor, Alan Scott, stopped by to drop a heavy loaf of Desem bread in my hands; I was intrigued. I took up his offer to come see his backyard brick oven, and from there my passion for bread grew.
Knowing of my growing infatuation with breads and sourdoughs in particular, Alan suggested I come up and meet a young baker who was doing “great things” in his kitchen. It was Chad Robertson; he had yet to establish Bay Village Bakery.
I spent the next few years baking professionally, meeting talented bakers and learning new techniques. I travelled through France as well, hoping to apprentice at some fabulous boulangerie. This proved more difficult than I’d envisioned and I mostly ended up eating my way through the country, mentally storing away the breads that inspired me. It wasn’t until later that I was able to realize my desire to bake in France.
When I returned home to Point Reyes, I found that Bay Village Bakery was ready to vacate and so the opportunity arose to buy Chad’s brick oven and establish Brickmaiden Breads. I opened the doors of Brickmaiden in October 2000 and, since then we have become a wonderful family of bakers with an incredible community of supporters and enthusiasts.
Growing up on the ranches and in the parks of West Marin has instilled a deep appreciation for its natural environment and community. This appreciation is what has guided the philosophy of Brickmaiden.
Our intention is to provide the highest quality bread and baked goods to our community and its visitors, to commit to sustainable business practices and produce as little waste as possible. Our bakers work diligently to uphold the integrity and consistency of each and every loaf of bread, a hard feat when working with the fluctuating elements of sourdough.
Brickmaiden is committed to providing a living wage to our staff so they, and their families, may continue to thrive in Marin County. We support local businesses, non-profits and food makers by buying locally, donating our products, and sourcing our ingredients from independent vendors, as often as possible.
All of our leftover or unsellable breads, which is very little, go to croutons and food banks, and then to feed local farm animals. Our renewable source of firewood is from the almond and walnut groves of Northern California. The groves are periodically pulled and replanted to allow for maximum output and the old trees are then recycled into firewood.
Brickmaiden has been successful in remaining a low impact business and will continue to strive for that goal. Our greatest pride is having a face to face relationship with our community. Every day we are lucky enough to hear how our work is appreciated and how our story intertwines with hundreds of others as they tear into one of our crusty loaves.