MAKERS MONDAY: Saltine Baking Company by Ashley Schmalenberg
Saltine Baking Company is a Regina based micro-bakery with a focus on producing naturally leavened sourdough breads and savoury pastries. Owned and operated by founder Ashley Schmalenberg, Saltine has been supplying the Regina community with organic breads and pastries since the Spring of 2014.
Though we have no permanent storefront currently, all of our bread is mixed & baked within the local food hub Best Food Forward. Currently we bake every Saturday through January & February for the Food Hub Market and each Saturday during the Regina Farmers Market season, March through December. You can also currently receive our bread through our Breadshare program which is a subscription based monthly menu with biweekly pickups.
Our line of products is ever-changing but our focus is always the same, supplying our community with high quality organic sourdough breads and pastries. All of our products are made using local organic flours from Saskatchewan producers R&J Milling and Daybreak Mills & are mixed by hand in small batches.
Our breads are 100% naturally leavened, which means they contain no commercial yeast. They rise using our 5 year old sourdough starter, which we fermented ourselves before beginning our business! Though it can be long, we take great pride in our baking process which can run from 24-36 hours start to finish. We believe that good things take time.
We also are proud to say that we produce many individual bread & pastry components by hand, such as pickles, preserves & cheeses. Not only do we take great joy in doing this, it allows us to know exactly what we are giving to our customers.
Why do you create?
Our passion for good, flavourful food and bread runs deep. The joy of breaking bread & sharing a meal is something that brings us all together and always has. It is not always an easy journey - working through the night, running markets on little to no sleep & stamping hundreds of bread bags each week (as many market vendors know!). Yet our community continues to support us and to remind us of why we do what we do. Seeing the smiling, familiar faces & hearing how much customers enjoy our baking is the reason we keep on moving. The support we’ve received over the past four years, and this past year especially has been overwhelming to say the least & we are so humbled by it. It gives us the drive to keep pushing & dreaming for a permanent home someday!
How has your art practice evolved since you first started?
Our microbakery has been running for four years now and things have certainly changed! When we began we used to rent Fourth and James Bakery out in Lumsden. This meant running from my restaurant job out to Lumsden, baking overnight, driving home, hauling everything up to my third floor apartment for a few hours of sleep before hauling it back down & to the Farmers Market. Once winter hit & highway driving through the night was no longer a viable option, we began sharing the Food Bank kitchen for a few months with our friends at Local and Fresh, before eventually it baking for nearly a year from home. In 2016 we had outgrown our home kitchen substantially and headed to our current space at Best Food Forward. It’s not easy being a moving kitchen! Each step of the way is a learning process for us, and we truly believe it helps us grow as entrepreneurs for our eventual shift to our own space.
What does creative joy mean to you?
Creative joy is something we think about often. It is so easy once you transition your passion into your life’s work to get lost in the day to day stressors and forget why you’re here. Running a creative driven business is not always doing the job your passionate about, as any entrepreneur can tell you! Personally, I believe it’s about finding those little moments of light that remind you why you started in the first place. For me it’s a perfectly fermented starter, a loaf of bread that blooms beautifully in the oven or a croissant dough that was laminated just right. All of these snippets lead to my sense of accomplishment after the marathon that is prepping, mixing, shaping, baking and packaging for Market. Never mind the fact that I get to send out a few hundred loaves of bread each week to the people of Regina to share with their family and friends. This alone brings me creative joy each week. That, plus the smell of bread fresh from the oven is satisfying each and every time!
PLACES YOU CAN FIND SALTINE BAKING COMPANY
Want to be featured on our next MAKERS MONDAY?? Click to submit.
RED FOX CREATIVE STUDIO is a creativity & wellness centre located in Regina, SK.