by Sabine Rhyne
Brittany Migneault was smitten early. She remembers trips with her family from Keene, NH, up to Northfield, VT, to her uncle’s Italian-inspired bread bakery. “We used to fight amongst our cousins over those delicious breads, and take them home to hoard in the freezer for later.” Once she had apprenticed up there, she realized just how much she loved it. “I love physical work, I enjoy working on perfecting the breads, and I really like the business side as well,” she explained. So you see, she fell in love with baking and bakeries, and never looked back. Four years ago, the Bread Shed in Keene, NH, was born.
There was no bakery like it in Keene, and she thought it was a niche that could be filled—artisan breads all made with basic ingredients. Brittany, her boyfriend Luke, and three staff members are the powerhouses behind this little bakery that has found its way onto many a dining table.
For the first three years, Brittany spent almost all of her time in the bakery. Now, she manages to find a few hours to work on the business side of things, also a fun part of the deal. Since the Bread Shed has grown quickly, almost doubling every year, she has been able to get out of the kitchen more because of the increasing experience of her long-time staff, as well as her upgrades in the bakery with more ovens and mixers to increase their capacity. In fact, the day we visited them, the two new ovens had made it possible to produce quite a few more loaves than usual at that time of the day. This is good, because Brittany has no plans to move anytime soon. “Things are tight, but I like this spot,” she said.
The Bread Shed produces 12 to 14 varieties of products. Some customers love the multigrain, others the Toscano. And, of course, there are the biscotti in many delicious combinations. She has worked with customers like delis, restaurants, and institutional facilities to make different sizes of breads that suit their needs. This has come about because she asked for—and listened to—feedback, where her customers explained the ways that they used the breads. Her “minis,” for instance, were born of single- and two-person households wishing to buy the bread, but not being able to use it all. So, in an effort to reduce waste and meet demand, she made the wee loaves. She also has used the farmers market to try out new things, like the Bread Shed cranberry pecan bread. This was intended as a seasonal item, but people loved it so much that it is now their biggest seller. And, for those of you who despair about the choices of burger buns in the summer, look no further: the Bread Shed’s burger buns fly off the shelves during grilling season, and with good reason. She is experimenting with some organic products, and may expand the line to include an organic bread. Stay tuned.
Here’s the amazing part: Brittany wouldn’t change a thing. “Maybe just a little bit more ‘me’ time,” she said, “but I think I might be able to work that in, now, a little bit.”
Come meet Brittany and her delicious bakery items at the Co-op on Friday, April 17, from 3:30- 5:30pm.