This cookbook spotlights the recipes, traditions, and tales of a popular New Jersey bakery that started as a tiny, hole in the wall but became a pillar of resilience for the community during the global pandemic. Montclair Bread Company not only offers bountiful baked treats to throngs of fans, and is a mecca for runners who line up each year to race for doughnuts, it is the epitomy of adapting to survive a crisis.
Nine months after Rachel Wyman opened Montclair Bread Company in 2012, business was stale. She had spent years rising before dawn to perfect the combination of flour, water, yeast and salt, and she had the bread to prove it. But on a good day, only thirty people trickled through her door until one Sunday morning when one of her bakers asked her to make doughnuts. This was risky because her customers often begged for healthy foods. The doughnuts sold out in minutes, the number of customers continued to grow along with the line for doughnuts that stretched to the end of the block. Her business flourished until the global pandemic in 2020. Rachel had no choice but to adapt to keep her business going and even started a virtual bake-a-long to help support and communicate with the community during the lock downs. This book shares the tried-and-true recipes Rachel spent three decades perfecting that are now the backbone of her bakery. The recipes are organized by Childhood Favorites, Breads, Doughnuts, Community Favorites, Recipes from Quarantine. Some of these include:
Mombo's Carrot Cake and Cowboy Cookies
Sour Dough Bread and Stollen
Classic Brioche Doughnuts with Variations, Toppings, and Glazes
Pizza and Energy Bars
Cheese Crackers and Bagels
Rachel brings joy to baking, makes yeast less scary, and helps home bakers make the perfect dough under any conditions. This is a story of how the love of baking brought a community together and held it together during a global pandemic.
Rachel Wyman grew up in Maryland and as a child watched her grandmother make wedding cakes. After graduating from the University of Florida with a French degree, she studied baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where she discovered a passion for baking bread. She felt, “There was a soulfulness about it that wasn’t found in fancy cakes.” She has worked for Bread Alone Bakery, Amy’s Bread, and the Ritz-Carlton and has developed bread recipes for Wegmans, Whole Foods, Target, and Starbucks. In 2014 she won The Cooking Channel’s “Donut Showdown” competition. In 2015, Bake Magazine named her “One of the 25 Most Influential Bakers in the US.” In 2016, she was featured in the New York Times story "Montclair Bread Company has Sunday Treats All Week Long." Recently, Rachel wrote about the struggles of operating a business during the pandemic for CNN Business Perspectives. She is the owner of Montclair Bread Company in Montclair, NJ where she resides with her three children.
Rachel’s passion for baking is evident from the first moment you meet her. I’ve always been impressed with her dedication to our craft, her insatiable curiosity, and her generosity of spirit. I’m excited to read this book and learn more about her baking and go for a run!!! (Joanne Chang, author of Pastry Love and co-owner of Flour Bakery)
As a business owner, marathoner, race director, community activist, and mother, Rachel has both survived and thrived when up against hardship and adversity. When the pandemic upended Montclair Bread Company, forcing so many small businesses and restaurants to close, Rachel innovated. She got creative, she put in the work, and she’s still here—baking the best darn doughnuts New Jersey’s ever seen! Come for the recipes. Stay for the endless inspiration. (Allison Feller, host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast)
Running and baking go well together, and they’ve never been paired more harmoniously than they are in Rachel Wyman’s delightful cookbook-meets-memoir. (Matt Fitzgerald, cofounder of 80/20 Endurance, and author of The Endurance Diet and The Comeback Quotient)
Rachel Wyman’s spirit and imagination are infectious. I’ve been a fan of Rachel as a teacher, baker, and business owner for ages, and the way she worked through quarantine, drawing us all into her baking and ours, amazed me. Of course such a fun and practical person would create a fun and practical book, full of solid advice on tools and methods. (Amy Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket)
Rachel’s a baker whose stories about community and family inspire us to be better bakers and better humans. She’s a powerhouse in the bread world who’s taking the joyous doughnut to the next level! (Stephanie Swane, publisher at Modernist Cuisine)