Monday, August 20, 2012

SBP featured on Style Me Pretty

Back in May 2012, SBP teamed up with P E T A L O SErich Mcvey Photography  and several other talented Portland wedding professionals, to create a dreamy Monet inspired photo shoot. I'm pleased to announce that that photoshoot was picked up by, the web's premiere wedding styling website. You can find the introduction to the shoot here;  it also includes a video produced by Black Label Films. For the full gallery, click here.

The photoshoot received additional publicity at,, and 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The incredible pasture egg

Hello fans and readers alike. I realize it's been a very long time since I last wrote to everyone. Things have been rather busy these past several months, which is a very good thing for any fledgling business! In case you haven't been keeping up with news on our Twitter or Facebook pages, here's a quick rundown of what's been going on:

Serious Business Pastries was accepted into three farmers' markets: Wednesday Beaverton, Thursday Northwest Portland, and Friday Tualatin markets. We are so very happy to be apart of these great communities, and have felt very welcomed at all of the markets.  The bakery's products will also start to appear in area Whole Foods stores within the coming month — very exciting, and a huge point of pride for us! We were also named as the bakery of choice by Your Perfect Bridesmaid, and are very eager to be collaborating with them and bringing the best possible desserts to all of their clients. At the end of May, I partnered with Stephanie Major of P E T A L O S, along with several other talented individuals, to help produce an outstanding Monet-themed wedding inspiration shoot. I also managed to find time to write an article for the Portland Farmers' Market blog about SBP's signature Peanut Butter-n-Jelly Sandwich Cookie. Martha Wright was also kind enough to interview me for the Northwest Examiner (thanks again, Martha!). Things are going well at Food Front as well, and our shipping operation has seen dramatic growth in the past month.

Factor in baking on top of all of the above, and you can see why things have been quiet in the Blog-o-sphere realm. But today I'm here, writing to reconnect with my readers, in more than 140 characters. I also am here to solicit input from eaters, readers, and individuals interested in SBP's products and its mission to provide Portland with some of the best treats around.

For several months I have been considering whether the bakery ought to use pasture raised eggs, and only pasture raised eggs in SBP's pastries and cookies. I've sought the advice of several people in the food industry, and now I am throwing the question out to the people who matter the most to me and the bakery: our customers.

My personal philosophy regarding sweets is that they ought to be worth every penny, and every calorie — otherwise, why are you eating it? To that end I've put a lot of care and attention into the bakery's ingredients. Consider that we use:

Cream cheese that does not contain fillers or stabilizing gums;
Top-shelf pure vanilla extract and real vanilla beans from Madagascar;
European-style sweet cream butter from Larsen's Creamery in Clackamas;
Sulfite-free dried fruits and coconut;
Aluminum-free baking powder;
Local-local-local (and organic when possible!) produce, jams, honey, and herbs;
Bob's Red Mill and Shepherd's Grain flours and grains;
And so much more!

Currently the bakery uses Stiebrs cage-free eggs, from Stiebrs Farm in Washington. And they're a great product, hands down. But because I'm always in the pursuit of making outstanding pastries, I've been thinking about what it might mean for the bakery to use 100% pasture raised eggs. From a nutritional standpoint, pasture raised eggs are thought to have better values of Omega 3 fatty acids, and more vitamins. The issue regarding whether pasture raised eggs taste better than other eggs is debatable. Were the bakery to go with pasture raised eggs, it would be for the aforementioned nutritional reasons, and because the eggs themselves came from chickens who had access to better food (i.e., no genetically modified feed, tons of grains, etc) and a better quality of life. I believe this is something worth passing onto my customers.

There would, however, be a trade-off, were the bakery to go this route: a slight increase in prices, no more than 10-15 cents per pastry or cookie (so, our chocolate chip cookies would cost $1.60-$1.75 each, instead of $1.50).

So what I want to know from my customers, is: Is this switch something of value to you? Would you be more likely to buy pastries and cookies from SBP, over another bakery, if SBP switched to pasture raised eggs (I believe we'd be the only bake shop in Portland to offer this, btw). Do you care about the eggs in your pastries?

Please send your thoughts and comments to All input is appreciated! And thank you for your time. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

A strudel for all seasons

At the core of Serious Business Pastries's philosophy is the desire to give people carefully crafted, exceptionally delicious pastries at reasonable prices. It's not enough that a pastry or a cookie tastes great, they need to be well-made and beautiful, even on the inside, from end to end. There's no room for substandard pastries in my bakery. To maintain those standards, I devote a lot of time to research and development, from ingredient sourcing — who makes it, where, how is it made or cultivated, what does it taste like, — to recipe testing, to execution. Some days the kitchen feels more like a food laboratory than a bakery, but it's entirely worth it because it's led to repeat business. Which is what SBP want, and will continue to want. This feedback loop tells us that we're doing a good job, that we've lived up to our philosophy; it's perhaps the best compliment you can give a business (second best would be a referral).

For the past few weeks I've been working on developing an authentic German-style strudel for SBP. As much as I love working with yeast — it's magical stuff — at this point the bakery doesn't have the capacity to product yeasted laminated doughs (e.g., croissants, Danish, etc). I don't consider this a drawback as it is an opportunity for SBP to branch out into areas not already covered, and covered again, by the plethora of pastry shops in the city. We currently offer the Muffinletta (which has already received some press, here, courtesy of, and artisan soft pretzels, but I've been wanting to introduce to Portland a sweeter yeasted pastry, one that reflects the seasonal bounties available to us in the Pacific Northwest. Enter: the strudel.

Really, the credit for this idea goes to a gentleman I met shortly before Christmas. We happened to get on the subject of my line of work, at which point he shared his love of pastries, in particular, strudel. But not just any kind of strudel. He fondly recalled an apple strudel he had in Germany some thirty years ago. He vividly remembered how it tasted, what it looked like, down to the structure of the dough and its shape. And unlike the strudel we're familiar with here in the states, usually made with puff pastry or sheets of philo, this was a yeasted strudel. Yeasted strudel. Hmm. Color me intrigued. He returned to the subject of this magical pastry on and off over the next few hours, which was fine by me, because I always enjoy listening to people's stories about food. I love knowing that foods have the power to move people like great pieces of art can.

His love of this strudel, and the fact that it was made with a yeasted dough, inspired me to develop one for SBP. The end result is that we now offer a braided strudel that's light and airy, filled with Oregon fruit, but at the same isn't cloyingly sweet, or too rich. It's just delicious, every morsel. And it's a thing of beauty. The nice thing about it being a yeasted variety is that you won't end up with dozens of flaky pieces in your lap after you bite into it! I also think that by making it out of a dough, you really get to taste both the fruit and the bread in equal amounts: one doesn't overpower the other, which I feel is what happens when puff pastry or philo sheets are used. The filling will rotate depending on what's available during the season, so be sure to check out our menu on a regular basis!