Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fresh Bakery Aisle

When you look at our fresh Bakery aisle, we have many pre-packaged items that come from all over. We carry cookies from Lofthouse, which is a very good brand. We carry almost every type of cookie they make. We have cinnamon rolls, muffins, baklava, danish, cookies, too many things to list and brands you'll find in lots of other stores. But we also do some things in our own Bakery.

As I said in our last blog, we make our donuts fresh each and every day. But did you know we also make some great rolls? We do a green onion and cheddar roll and a jalapeno and cheedar roll. Both start out with French bread, which is a lean dough with almost no fat or sugar. Then we chop in either fresh green onions from our very own Produce section or chop in sliced jalapenos and we add Tillamook medium cheddar cheese. Delicious! They are weighed out into a 4 ounce bun then proofed and baked until the cheese is golden brown.

What can you do with these rolls? Well, they taste great just as they are but you can dunk them in soups or stews, use as a hamburger bun or sandwich roll, either as the are or toasted or grilled. My favorite is the green onion and cheddar roll, lightly toasted, with grilled ham. One of my customers said she tried them with grilled fish. Or they make a great breakfast sandwich. Sausage and egg anyone? Yummy! And the smell of the rolls is incredible as they come out of the oven. If you are lucky enough to be in the store when they come out of the oven, you know what I mean. There is no better smell in the world, I think, than fresh bread baking. It just smells like home.

We also make a Cheese and Onion stick. It's a french bread stick that we roll in a mixture of reconstituted dehydrated onions, Italian seasoning, poppy seeds for crunch and Tillamook medium cheedar cheese. Why reconstituted dehydrated onions? Because they are milder and more consistent in flavor and size as well as texture and I don't have to cry over them. They are great with soup or salad or just to munch. My daughter likes to split them and make skinny little long sandwiches out of them. My grandson likes to just munch on them whenever and he doesn't like onions.

We also bake fresh Kaiser rolls, french dinner rolls and french sub rolls, all available in white or wheat, and golden hamburger buns. We also make a garlic cheese roll, which is basically a sub roll but its topped with garlic powder and Tillamook medium cheddar cheese. I like to toast it in the oven a little then pile on the meat. Don't need any cheese as it's all ready there. Louanne, our Deli manager, says she likes them in a French Dip sandwich. Any way you like them, they are a great sandwich roll.

We have also begun carrying more Gluten Free products for those people with either allergies to wheat or with Celiac disease. We get some of our products from the Gluten Free Bakery and Market in Poulsbo. They deliver fresh to us twice a week. But we also get gluten-free cookies from Alternative Bakery in California that specializes in making only makes vegan and gluten-free cookies. And we just added some new breads from Canyon Bakehouse. They are available in white, 7 grain, rosemary focaccia, raisin bread and hamburger buns. And then we have the WOW brand cookies and brownies. We also added French Meadows gluten-free cakes this week. They are a 4 inch cake in chocolate or yellow, available thawed on the gluten-free rack at the end of our Bakery aisle, or in the freezer case. We also have gluten-free individual cheesecakes by Chuckanut Bay in Strawberry swirl, New York or Chocolate. I am trying to get a good variety of products for those who cannot do gluten. They are more expensive than the regular baked goods but a big portion of that is because some of the ingredients needed to make them as close to "normal" as possible are very expensive. Hopefully as demand goes up, price may come down more eventually. But until then, I will try to find the best products for the least price.

And as always, if you want a product and we don't seem to carry it, just ask and I will see what I can do to get it for you. We are here to serve our customers to the best of our abilities so we try to get what you want. If there is ever anything you don't see but want, let us know. We gladly do special orders. If it's not available through our suppliers, I will try to provide it for you. And don't forget we do custom cakes to order, too. Thanks for reading this and hop eto see you in the store soon. Happy Eating!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


 So for my first real blog about Ralph's Bakery, I want to talk donuts. Donuts make up a big portion of  our bakery business. I have customers come up to me all the time and say how much they like our donuts. I tell them the real secret to our success is the fact that we still fry our donuts fresh each and every day, 365 days a year.  New Years, Christmas, Thanksgiving; someone is there making donuts every night. No pre-fried then frozen donuts here. The reason why most donuts taste the same is because they are. They buy them from a warehouse all ready to go, just heat and ice. Blech!

I had a customer a couple weeks ago that told me she went to Voodoo Donuts in Portland and she wasn't impressed. She said ours were better. I've had customers tell me they come from across town to get our donuts because they are the best. I want to tell everyone that says all these wonderful things about our donuts how much I appreciate what they say. I try really hard to bring my customers the best possible products and my efforts are more than rewarded when you say such great things. I am always trying to improve what we do and I appreciate your suggestions and comments, good or bad.

As far as variety, I try to introduce different flavors. Our Maple Bacon bars have become a staple because everyone talks about them and asks for them. People either love them or won't even try them. Personally I think they are great. The saltiness of the bacon cancels out a lot of the sweetness of the maple and besides, I love bacon, especially maple flavored, so its a natural. I have one guy who wants chocolate and bacon bars and that's a little out there for me but hey, we'll make whatever you want!

Because thats one thing I try to impress upon the people I work with in the Bakery - its all about the Customer Service! Our Customers are important to us and I try to do what they want, not what I want for them. We will custom make anything for you that is in our power to do so. In fact, we make Texas donuts for special orders. The picture on the left is of 3 Texas Maple Bars that someone ordered for a birthday. (I wrote Happy Birthday in chocolate icing on top.) Each Maple Bar is the equivalent of 10 regular maple bars. The box they are in is a full sheet cake box and if you don't know how big that is, it's 25 x 18 inches! I've also done Texas Twists, glazed and drizzled with chocolate and maple.  Yumm!

But the donut that is the most fun is the Donut Dude. We have "dressed up" Donut Dudes (some of you call them gingerbread boys) in police uniforms (hat, night stick and holster) or as soccer players (t-shirts and shorts) or as Halloween vampires with fangs and cape! Sometimes they are dressed up with bow ties and hair and sometimes they just wear a goofy expression. And they aren't just for the kids! I know a lot of adults who like to eat them too. Their expressions are always good for a laugh or a smile. One day one of the donut makers had them lifting weights and barbells. How funny is that!

Donuts can be ordered ahead whether you want one donut or several dozens. We will gladly put aside your favorite so it is there when you come in because I know how you hate it when your favorite is gone. I have one customer who gets 3 glazed pershings (those are the ones that look like cinnamon rolls) 3 times a week. He got tired of coming in in the afternoon and they were always gone. So now he can stroll in late in the afternoon, 3 days a week, and know his donuts are waiting for him. We  have a company that comes in twice a week, Monday and Friday, and picks up 2 dozen assorted. We have them ready to go at 6:30 am. They just pick then up and go. You can set up a schedule or just call ahead of time (please try to give us a 24 hour notice) and we'll make you giant Texas Donuts, bag up a couple of your favorites or box dozens for a party or office. Because we are here to make your donut dreams come true! Special flavor? No problem!

And speaking of special flavors, for those of you who missed National Donut Day, it is the first Friday in June each year. This year we went all out and had lots of different flavors. There were 2 of us working fast and furiously to fill the case by 6 am. The case was so full, we had 8 pans of back up donuts and we put them all out by 9 am. People were buying them by the dozens. If you were one of them, thank you so much for your support. It was a great success. Maybe we need to declare more "Donut Days" like that one? I'll let you know.

And I hope you will let me know how you like our donuts and what you would like to see. I know we need to do the Mocha Mousse Bars again soon. I'm still trying to get my guys who actually do the donuts at night to make more variety but it is time consuming to do all the different kinds we currently do. Our donut makers start work at 10 pm each night and finish about 5:30 am so you can get fresh donuts every day. Its tough to work through the night while everyone else sleeps and go home to bed as everyone else gets up. But they do it and for the most part, they do a terrific job of it.

Yes, I know, the donuts don't always look exactly the same. That's because 2 different people do them and sometimes people just have an off day (or night, as the case may be).  But they are still better than pre-frieds on their worst day. And the human factor is what makes the donuts unique. If you want consistency, go to a big chain supermarket and buy theirs. I think they come from a factory back east and were fried, oh I don't know, maybe last month? Sorry, but frozen fried donuts just aren't the same as fresh. And you can't get the variety with premades that we can do. More variety, more choices, so there's something for everyone. When was the last time you saw a blueberry fritter in one of those other stores? We had some in our donut case last Saturday and I was told they were delicious. (No, I didn't try one. Can't try them all. Diabetic. Darn it.)  And they can't do Donut Dudes or Fruit Burritos or half of the other flavors we make because they don't make them. They don't even have a fryer in their bakeries. Pity. Donuts aren't cost effective because of the labor and skill involved. That's why the other bakeries have done away with doing fresh donuts. While we don't make much on them, we do it for our Customers. Because you deserve better. Because we are still about the Customer Service. Just ask!