Name: Eric Saxman
Town in which you live: Lansdale, Pa.
Job Description: Bread Baker
Do you have any other jobs outside of your bakery business?
I am a partner in a property management business in the winter.
When did you start your business?
May 2009 is when I started Saxman Breads.
Did you have any training or education before starting?
I am a 1998 graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. This is where I was classically trained in the culinary arts. In 2001, I opened a bakery with a partner, but closed it in 2003 after the birth of my second daughter.
What motivated you to become a baker?
After being the primary care taker for five years for my daughters, my wife and I wanted to start another bakery since the girls were getting older. This time instead of opening another traditional bakery, which is five to seven days a week, since we had the land, we built the bakery on our property, with the help of my father-in-law. Building the bakery on our property does not allow us to sell retail, that is why we use farmers markets as our outlets of sale. But it does allow us to maintain a work-life balance that is important our family.
Were you inspired by someone?
Chef Richard Coppedge, a master baker from the Culinary Institute of America is someone I’ve always admired from the time I was one of his students to the present. I also always found the story about the famous French Baker Poilane very inspiring.
What do you like most about your job?
I love everything about the process of making bread. From the mixing process, to hearing the crackling of the crust as it cools after it comes out of a 500-degree oven. Baking bread is a true passion for me. I enjoy shaping each loaf by hand, as well as making something for others to enjoy.
At how many local markets do sell your breads?
What do you do during the winter months?
In the winter months I run my property management company.
What are your most popular items?
My whole wheat loaves; farm grain with its seven different grains; honey wheat; the sour doughs; traditional; multi-grain, and chocolate cherry, as well as the focaccia (five varieties), are my most popular breads.
Have you considered opening a bakery somewhere rather than traveling to markets?
I have, but at this time I enjoy being with my daughters and wife. There is plenty of time for a store -- my daughters will only be young once.
What's your favorite baked good?
It depends on what I’m doing with it culinary-wise -- probably the sour dough or ciabatta. I love a great sandwich.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like spending time with my family. Outdoor activities are what I enjoy ... in particular I love skiing.
Tell us something unique that people might not know about you.
I enjoy the banjo.
You have children. Do you think they'll carry on the baking tradition?
I’m not sure if my daughters will carry on the baking tradition, but what I do know is that at ages 7 and 9 they understand the differences between the breads. They understand how the whole baking process works -- from mixing the ingredients, with them scaling the dough and shaping some of the loaves, to baking the breads. They also know how to enjoy the breads. Bread is a staple in our house.
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