The Story of Bread Box – Dough to Door Bakery

By Justin Stefanik & The Mainstreeter staff.

It all began with an idea Justin Stefanik had last year. He imagined a loaf of fresh bread and treats being delivered to his doorstep.

At that time, Stefanik was struggling to find meaningful work after graduating with a PhD in Geography from Carleton University. His spouse travels to Germany quite frequently on business and told him that she got fresh bread rolls delivered to her room daily. At the time, Stefanik was also hearing a lot about meal delivery services and about how this could revolutionize our future eating habits.

As a graduate from chef school and having a previous culinary career, he wanted to build on the idea of food delivery and subscriptions. Being a CSA veggie box subscriber, Stefanik also thought that a CSA baking box would be an interesting concept. So, he married his love of baking and passion for environmental issues into building Bread Box – Dough to Door Bakery.

Each week, Bread Box delivers a box of fresh baking to subscribers’ doorsteps. The box includes the bread loaf of the week and a surprise bake of the week. The loaf of the week could be a rye, a German pumpernickel, a classic sourdough, or one of the many other loaves the new company bakes. The surprise bake includes either sweet or savoury items, and in the past has contained fresh croissants, browned butter brownies, and apple strudel. Every week is different, so to let subscribers know what will be arriving, a newsletter is sent out a few days before detailing the bakes and a list of the ingredients.

It’s fun to be surprised with fresh baking, and kids love to wait by the door for the Bread Box to arrive. Some clients choose not to read the newsletter on purpose so it will be a total surprise when they open the Bread Box.

Bread like no other

While the administration operation is based in Riverview Park in Alta Vista, Stefanik bakes out of the Cauldron Kitchen in Overbrook. It’s one of the few shared kitchens in Ottawa where people can build their culinary dreams, according to Stefanik. He uses organic flour, cheese, and butter from local farm suppliers. These are often purchased directly from the farmer, such as George Wright of Castor River Farm. He buys Red Fife wheat and rye grain berries and mills them himself, so the baking has the flavour of fresh milled flour and not the stale taste stuff from bread that’s been sitting in bags on grocery shelves.

Bread has had a bad reputation over the last few years, but not all breads are created equal, says Stefanik. Bread Box breads contain no preservatives and are built on the basics of organic flour, water, and sea salt. Stefanik uses a four-year-old sourdough starter as the leavening agent and the loaves are fermented over 12 hours for easy digestion and beautiful flavour.

Many of his customers with gluten issues can eat Bread Box breads, whereas they are in excruciating pain if they eat store-bought bread. Every sourdough starter is geographically-unique based on flour being used, the local water, and even the baker’s unique way of handling and storing it.

Sigrid is going to be a big help some day to the Bread Box- Dough to Door Bakery and to her dad, Justin Stefanik, who owns and operates the new home delivery bakery.

Sigrid is going to be a big help some day to the Bread Box-Dough to Door Bakery and to
her dad, Justin Stefanik, who owns and operates the new home delivery bakery.

 

A zero-waste bakery

With the growing concerns over single-use plastics, it was Stefanik’s goal to build a zero-waste bakery. His delivery vehicle is fully electric, and the 100% recycled plastic delivery boxes are reused every week. Subscribers simply clean the box and set them outside on delivery day and Bread Box seals them with compostable stickers or, if you’re really zero waste conscious, a rubber band.

The Bread Box office even runs on a 6 kWh solar power system. For every 20 subscription sign ups, a weekly box of subscription baking is delivered to Russell Heights Community Housing. Each week a different family that has signed up for the service gets a box of fresh baking.

Stefanik felt that not only people with money should be able to enjoy delicious higher quality foods. As the company has grown, he has also recently hired and is training two residents from Russell Heights Community Housing to gain valuable job training in the culinary industry.

Many businesses try to make changes along the way to be more sustainable and more socially aware.

For Stefanik and Bread Box, these values were embedded in the business from the very beginning.

(This article was first published in the March 2019 issue of the Riverview Park Review. It has been edited and published by The Mainstreeter, as we think the contents may be of interest to residents of Old Ottawa East. For more information about Bread Box products, visit: www.breadboxbaking.ca)

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