A Baker’s Dozen

CELEBRATED FRENCH CHEF Alain Ducasse helped put San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery on the map when he wrote about it in Harvesting Excellence. It helped set off a decade-long artisan baking craze in Northern California, with bakeries such as Della Fattoria Café in Petaluma or Thomas Keller’s Buchon Bakery in Yountville.

Now the bakery boom is being felt in the Sierra foothills, where bakers who include Culinary Institute of America graduates who have cooked in Europe — just like Tartine Bakery’s founders — are opening or expanding. Nathan and Alice Shreve, CIA graduates who traveled extensively in Europe, are drawing a loyal following at The Baker & The Cakemaker in Auburn.

In downtown Grass Valley, Brew Bakers Family Cafe bakes fresh goods daily, including cakes and pies. We crave their cinnamon bread, redolent of the version from Bishop’s iconic Erick Schat’s Bakkerÿ near Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

In Grass Valley, the up-and-coming Colfax Avenue neighborhood is home to two of the region’s best bakeries: Summer Thyme’s Bakery & Deli and Emily’s Catering & Cakes, each with their own specialities.

Last winter Summer Thyme’s expanded to a new 4,600 sq.-ft. building. Under owners Amy and Chamba Cooke, Summer Thyme’s bakes fresh bread and pastries in a new commercial kitchen. Its cakes and desserts are made in-house, using fresh ingredients, including Guittard and Cello Chocolate.

Emily’s recently relocated to Summer Thyme’s former space and added a new kitchen. Chef Emily Scott exemplifies the foothills’ homegrown talent. After pursuing her culinary education and cooking in Europe, the Nevada County native is back home.

In Nevada City, Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.’s co-owner Shana Maziarz been baking since childhood and scouted out bakeries such as Della Fattoria to help refine her plan. All of Three Forks’ pastries, cakes, pies, scones, muffins, and cookies are baked from scratch with organic flour, butter, eggs and sugar.

(Photo: Melanie Soleil Photography)

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