Ashley Chapman runs Sable Baking. It is located at 4 Latah in Boise, on the Bench, adjacent to the Ahavath Beth Israel synagogue, in a nondescript strip mall. To be precise, it is located on the east side of the building, around back. The bakery creates artisan baked goods with a European style and flavor for Petite 4, a new upscale restaurant at the same address only up front, and for subscription delivery.
It also throws open its window at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, allowing the (nearly irresistible) fragrance of freshly baked breads, pastries, cookies and cakes to waft through the neighborhood and tantalize patrons who appear in pied-piper fashion with money in hand, until the last crumb is gone. The shelves are typically empty after only a few hours.
Idaho Press-Tribune caught up with Chapman between Saturdays.
IPT: A little about you — what is your background?
AC: Born and raised in south eastern Idaho, I grew up in the small town of Firth. In the early 2000’s I studied at Boise State University where I received my B.A. in social sciences. After college I moved to New York City where I was inspired to go to culinary school for baking. I moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Bakery institute where I completed a professional baking program and went on to work as a professional baker in the Bay Area for several years.
IPT: When you were little, did you want to be a baker?
AC: I didn’t actually become interested in it as a professional until later on in life; however, I’ve always loved baking. As a third grader I submitted a giant gingerbread cookie to a state Idaho History project competition. That may have been my first big baking pursuit.
IPT: Why did you land in Boise?
AC: My experience living in Boise before left a great impression. After working in the Bay area for a few years as a professional baker I knew I wanted to open my own business. Boise seemed like a great place to do that. My family also still lives in Idaho.
IPT: Currently, you are open on Saturdays until you sell out of baked goods, is that correct?
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AC: Saturdays only from 7 to 11 a.m.
IPT: Do you have plans for more hours and days in the future?
AC: I would like to eventually open more days in the morning but am taking it slow. For now, just Saturdays.
IPT: Can you explain your bread delivery service?
AC: I don’t actually have a bread delivery service. I think you may be asking about my bread share program? The Bread Share is a subscription-based service. This a program that runs on a pre-order subscription system. This helps keeps cost and waste down and guarantees fresh bread the day it’s made. The monthly subscription includes four weeks of fresh bread — one loaf per week — and three pick up days: Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, as available. I bring the bread to various pick up locations which have agreed to be host. My customers go to their chosen pick-up location and pick up their loaf during a certain time window.
IPT: Everybody sure seems to like your baked goods — last week you were sold out by 9:30 a.m. Do you have plans on expanding your staff to aid in satiating the masses?
AC: I’ve always described Sable as a “micro bakery.” When I first started my bread share program last year out of my own home (under the cottage foods act) my business plan was to stay small which I intend on doing … . The idea of the “pop- up” is to strive for a no-waste based business; selling all of the items baked that day is very important to me. From my experience in food service I’ve seen lots of food go to waste; I’m trying really hard to not be a part of that problem. I’m flattered that I’ve been getting a good size turn out the last few Saturdays but I’m not able to hire staff at the moment. I am, however, hoping to open more days in the future.
IPT: What is your favorite baked good? And why?
AC: Pie. It’s one of the first things I learned to make and (it) became my signature baked good for many years. It’s the baked good that I took seriously right away, and practiced making many, many times. I’ve even entered a few in competitions. There is a pie for every season, and every occasion! Pie is also very diverse, you can find a unique pie in almost every region of the United States.
Pie is simple, rustic and beautiful. It’s my favorite for so many reasons!
Jeanne Huff is the community engagement editor for Idaho Press-Tribune. You can reach her at 208-465-8106 and follow her on Twitter @goodnewsgirl.
Phvntom, Inc. is a digital marketing company located in Boise, Idaho that creates websites, apps, and full-scale promotions/campaigns for other businesses. The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of its authors and were not written by Phvntom. This article was originally published by Idaho Press.