Passion becomes the ‘bread winner’ at Bolivar Bread Bakery
BOLIVAR – With the outbreak of the coronavirus, Katie Kopsick found herself, like many others in an industry that was shutting down to minimal staff, without a job. She was laid off from her position as pastry chef for Ayrshire Farm in Upperville, Va. and wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself.
However, she had discovered her passion for baking bread while working the overnight bread baking shift at Bouchon Bakery in New York City.
“I volunteered for that job, because they couldn’t find anyone else to work that schedule and I discovered I really had a passion for bread baking that I took with me throughout my career,” she said.
At the prompting of friends Brian Bircher and Jennifer Maghan of Black Dog Coffee, Kopsick began to bake bread for the couple to sell at Black Dog Coffee.
“I had not done any type of baking in my home for local markets,” Kospick said. “I had often considered it, but the time commitment working full time for restaurants and food service can vary wildly and it was hard to be able to find the free time to do something like this.”
Kopsick’s customers gradually began to demand an increasing amount of bread from her company.
“It has turned into full time. I may not be baking eight hours a day, although some days it’s that and more. I’m used to long days, though, and it feels good to be working for myself,” Kopsick said, mentioning that the extra work of making deliveries, accounting, social media and ordering ingredients add up.
Those long days and hours of baking generate approximately 200 loaves of bread per week that are available for purchase at Black Dog, as well as at Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg. Kopsick also has a website where bread can be ordered for home delivery within a 10-mile radius of Bolivar at bolivarbread.com.
“Black Dog gets about 50 loaves a week, and I’m just starting out with Orr’s, so I’m not sure how much they’ll be getting yet. I hope they have a good response with their customers and that I can keep them stocked up,” Kopsick said. “I am taking new customers for my home delivery. People order online and I bake their orders the next day and deliver the following morning. We do a no-contact delivery – you pay online and bake your bread and leave it on your porch.”
According to Kopsick, her favorite bread to bake is sourdough.
“I love it because it’s made entirely without commercial yeast. It’s a wild culture that leavens the bread and it’s made completely by hand. It’s simple, but it’s classic,” she said, mentioning the starter she uses was actually started 39 years ago.
“We feed it every night so we can keep it going enough for the next day’s bake. We call it ‘Jeffrey,'” she said.
When things return to normal, Kopsick hopes to move into a commercial space and expand the business.
“I’m really enjoying doing this now, though, and I hope to continue it in the future in some way. I have such amazing customers and they’ve been so supportive and I want to supply this community with bread for as long as they’ll let me,” she said.