Meet the Baker: Catherine Brennan of Flour Chylde Bakery in Novato
Flour Chylde Bakery began in 2002 with one torte that was sold at local farmers’ markets. Since then, they have been baking and promoting the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle. Over the the past 12 years they have created a line of sweet and savory hand-crafted, small batch gluten-free products, with the best product possible.
MM: What is the origin of Flour Chylde Bakery?
CB: The idea of a bakery originated the morning our son, Max, was born. At the time I was working for Levi Strauss & Company as a clothing/fabric/finish designer and decided I wanted to be closer to closer to home and my family. All my life, since I was very little, I was the ‘baker’ of the family.
MM: Why gluten-free?
CB: At the time I launched my own bakery – 2002 I set out to distance my products from the run of the mill bakery. I understood that product merchandising, quality, and consistency were key to any manufacturing company. While developing my line of baked goods I spent time selling through Marin County farmers markets and talking to my customers. Their insights and needs regarding health concerns and gluten-free helped shape Flour Chylde Bakery’s list of gluten-free baked goods.
MM: Where do you source your ingredients?
CB: At Flour Chylde Bakery we source a majority of our ingredients through world class suppliers such as Guittard for our chocolate products and Guistos Specialty Flours for our grains and flours.
MM: Can you describe a typical day of bread baking, and how it may differ with gluten-free ingredients?
CB: I am trained in classic naturally leavened break baking as well as French pastries. Baking gluten-free bread is unlike your classic style of bread baking. Gluten-free breads are much more sensitive to floor time and require much hotter temperatures to bake. This results in a much earlier start time for our bakers and a longer cooling period before we can package.
MM: Do you have any specialties and/or top sellers? Are there certain items you are best known for?
CB: Flour Chylde Bakery is best known for our amazing desserts – we refer to them as tortes, which best describes short, dense cakes made with nut flours, which is a European tradition. Within that line up we have Pure Chocolate Torte, Lemon Coconut, Linzer, and Rapture (a combination of our Linzer Torte and Pure Chocolate Torte) to name a few.
MM: Where can your products be found in Marin?
CB: You can find Flour Chylde Bakery products at our retail location in beautiful downtown Novato; 850 Grant Avenue. We are open Tuesday through Fridays 9am-6pm and Saturdays 9am-4pm. Or, Flour Chylde Bakery is a weekly staple at several Bay Area farmers Markets, including the Sunday Market in San Rafael.