Aunt Thelma would be proud.
Brett Rebischke-Smith has taken her old family recipe for bread and is hoping to turn it into some dough.
The recipe is the foundation for his business, Brett’s Breads, which just opened Dec. 1 in Coupeville. Residents who frequent the Coupeville Farmers Market may already be familiar with the signature sweet bread, which he has sold there the past several seasons. The attractive, braided loaves went like hotcakes.
“People loved it,” Rebischke-Smith said. “I started by making 16 or 17 batches of dough and they sold out by noon. So the next week I made 18 batches, which sold out by noon. I bumped it up to 20 batches and sold out by 12:30 p.m.”
Business at the farmers market grew enough that Rebischke-Smith expanded his inventory to include two loaf sizes, small and large, and a wheat bread variety. He said he was happy to stay with the farmers market, but with the state’s rule changes for cottage kitchens, Rebischke-Smith decided it was time to open up shop.
“It gives us a commercial kitchen and the opportunity to expand beyond the Saturday crowd,” he said.
In addition to his white and wheat bread varieties, Rebischke-Smith added cinnamon rolls and cookies. During the holiday season, he plans to offer the “Coupeville Cringle,” a stuffed Danish-type pastry in the shape of a wreath. Special orders for dinner rolls are also available, but Rebischke-Smith suggests those interested get their orders in early.
Brett’s Breads is definitely a family affair. Opening day found Brett, his wife Gail and their children, Marenna, 10, and Ricky, 9, all busy running the shop. Ricky washed dishes, Marenna tended the cash register and Gail, who works as a nurse in Seattle during the week, helped prepare the cinnamon and sugar mixture for the rolls. Brett busily rolled dough, shaped loaves, tended the oven and measured ingredients for the next batch of bread.
The couple is happy the business thus far has been able to include the whole family.
“I was pleased and surprised with how the farmers market went,” said Gail. “It was something we could do as a family for the weekend. We’ve always involved the kids.”
The couple’s children are enthusiastic about the new venture.
“I think it will be a big hit,” said Ricky. “It will go very well and we’ll expand.
“This is a big jump from the farmers market,” said Marenna. “But I think Mom and Dad are happy about it. But I like it because of the paycheck.”
The family moved to Coupeville in 2008. A stay-at-home dad, Brett said he enjoyed the Coupeville Farmers Market because it gave him something to do that raised a little extra money for his family. Now he’s hoping to offer something back to the community he and his family have come to love.
“We want (Brett’s Breads) to be a community place where people come by to say ‘Hi’ to me and meet with their friends. I’d like to give that back,” he said. “And if I can make a little money from it, that’s all the better.”
According to Gail, Brett’s Breads makes wonderful French toast and bread pudding. The shop, she said, will continue to slowly expand its products and will also include products from local producers that go well with bread.
For now, Rebischke-Smith is concentrating on what he knows best, and that’s baking bread from Aunt Thelma’s recipe.
“Who knows what we’ll end up with eventually,” Gail said. “But this is a start.”