Back to the roots
Marquette Baking Co. combines quality ingredients with ‘old school’ techniques
By TRINITY CAREY
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE — Before the option to walk down an aisle filled with an array of bread at any grocery store, one would go to their local baker for a homemade freshly baked loaf either to have with dinner or for a special occasion.
Marquette Baking Co. is trying to get back to these roots of bread baking and buying.
First opened over a decade ago in the area, the bakery came under new ownership in January and reopened to the public in May.
After purchasing the bakery, former employee and now owner Brian Quale continued to wholesale the bread to local businesses and stores making for a seamless transition between closing and reopening. Since purchasing, Quale has remodeled the front end of the bakery’s interior and crafted some new recipes.
“We wanted a new challenge and it’s exciting,” Quale said. “Everything kind of fell into place.”
Quale has had many different careers, including a high school English teacher and a construction worker, but baking has always been one of his passions.
The bakery offers fresh breads such as three seed, a rustic country boule bread, ryes, wheat, sourdough and more. Each day, they also prepare baked treats such as flavored croissants, cookies, cinnamon rolls, pinwheels, muffins and scones as well as sandwiches and breadsticks.
Customers can also get coffee, tea and kombucha with their snacks.
Time is what sets Marquette Baking Co.’s bread apart from others. Certain breads are made with wild yeasts and fermented overnight before baking. This longer fermentation process gives the bread a more complex flavor profile, Quale said.
“A lot of our breads take 18 hours to make whereas normally people make bread in two to three hours,” he added.
Even the croissant dough ferments overnight and while this requires the bakery to plan ahead and customers to order bread a couple days in advance, it’s well worth it, he said. In certain breads, the pre-fermentation process also “aids in how we digest bread, so there are some health benefits to it as well,” Quale said. “The water gets to interact with the grain longer, which is always a good thing.”
The business’ unique style has made its products like the porridge bread, three seed and breadsticks loved by many.
“At the farmers market the bread sticks are a big hit because it’s something the people can buy and walk around with at the farmers market,” Quale said. “People come for the three seed, which is a recipe from the previous owner that we’ve carried on. The porridge bread is catching on slowly but some people are seeking it out. That’s how I judge whether it’s working or not.”
Besides fresh from the bakery, you can find Marquette Baking Co. bread at the Marquette Food Co-op and Farmer Q’s Market, their rye at New York Deli, paninis at Contrast Coffee made with their sourdough, and baguettes from the bakery at the Zephyr wine bar and The Crib. They even make the communion bread for the local Lutheran churches.
“There’s a lot of different strange requests for good quality bread that’s fresh and we’ll deliver (even) one loaf to an establishment,” Quale said.
He finds inspiration in simple ingredients and traditional techniques to create the best possible bread for customers. He’s now sourcing whole wheat, freshly milled from Liberty Farm and Flour Mill in Skandia.
It’s those little details that create high-quality baked goods, he said.
“We spend the time to make really good bread and we want people to come, and my idea is you come here and get your bread either for the week or for a special occasion or a dinner, like we used to do … You stopped by your bakery to get your bread because it’s the best place,” Quale said. “We’re experts at it and we’re trying to make something for everyone. That’s the idea. Or if you want to stop and get a cookie or a scone or whatever, we’re doing that too.”
Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.