I met Scott Ervin when he, or one of his cohorts on the SCV Foodies Facebook group, arbitrarily made me one of their co-administrators. Pretty soon I was to learn that I was out of my element as the others (Todd Wilson, Lori Rivas, Larry McClements, Mike Devlin and Michael Cruz) were longtime buddies and foodies before starting the popular group.
Then, to make matters worse (or better?), I found out that Ervin was a kind of bread hobbyist. What started out as a lark turned into giving his homemade bread away, supporting non-profits and teaching others – thereby nurturing a spirit in our community that is unparalleled.
And he agreed to one of my five-question interviews…so here goes:
EB: Scott, please tell readers WTF you are doing. I mean, you have a day job, a normal kitchen, a supportive wife and kids. And in your spare time you bake bread for free for the SCV minions and charitable events. WHY?
SE: Why? Because I love it. I love fresh bread. I love the process. It’s simultaneously creative, yet ritualistic. As an accountant, I don’t often have the opportunity to express myself in a creative way. This is my outlet.
EB: Your Facebook group has gone from offering free bread to offering classes and free baking advice. You seem to take great pleasure in empowering others. With that said, is baking bread akin to creating something from nothing? Like the way a farmer, winemaker (you knew I’d get that in) or a chef must feel in working with their hands?
SE: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. The progression from supplying to teaching to enabling was inevitable. As the group increased in number, I quickly became overwhelmed with requests. The one request that saved me, was the request to teach. That request is what got the group to what it is now. A community of bread bakers. It took me by surprise, but in retrospect, it’s where the group had to end up.
EB: What is the favorite bread that you like to bake? (Yes, I still dream of that rye pumpernickel twist that was auctioned off for more than $100 recently!) And for readers, is there a reference book that you always turn to that can assist them?
SE: Ha ha! That Braided Marble Sourdough Rye! It’s a monster! But so impressive. You’ll get yours. After making Baguettes, Ciabatta, Focaccia, English Muffins .. I still love to make a basic Sourdough Boule. As far as a reference book, I love Lionel Vatinet’s “A Passion For Bread.” Very inspiring and great recipes paired with a consistent and easy to follow program.
EB: I’ve got to tie this into wine or spirits somehow…do you have a fave drink that you like to sip on while creating your masterpieces?
SE: While? How about along with the final product? There’s nothing quite like a fresh warm baguette, with a salty Kalamata Olive Tapenade paired with a 2012 Presqu’ile Pinot Noir.
EB: What do you see as the future for The Speakeasy Bakery?
SE: I look forward to more classes. I think more people should make bread. I want to leverage the spirit of the community that has emerged into more charitable endeavors. Bread is such a basic staple. Yet there is a wide gap between what can be purchased and what can be made in terms of quality. I’m not sure at what point things changed for me since this began. But they did change. I want to make an impact.
From the Website (Eve Wine 101 readers are, well, how to put this…drinkers? Maybe even too relaxed with their wine to follow a link to a website? So I’ve copied and pasted most of Scott’s website info below, beginning with:
It’s pretty f’kin good…
GUIDELINES (aka the rules)
From July 1, 2014 forward, we will be experimenting with different kinds of bread, as was our original intent. We’ll still bake a few Sourdough Boules, which has become our trademark, but we want to branch out. We want you to branch out with us.
It will be a two stage announcement. Stage 1 will let you know when we will announce what exactly will be available. Stage 2 will be the announcement. Once the announcement (Stage 2) has been made, it will be first come first served via your comments on that post.
Also, once you’ve gotten in on some bread, I’m going to ask you to recuse yourself for the next two offerings to give others a chance.
We also, on occasion, participate in public events. Usually charity related so, you may have to pay an entry fee or we may actually collect (and then transfer) a “donation.” Look for announcements on our FB Group for dates and times.
I love bread. I love to make bread. I happen to think my bread is pretty fukin good. I hope it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, thanks for everyone’s support and interest. I hope you will all stick around.
If you know, you know.
Due to the nature of the speakeasy, there is no set menu in place, and no set hours. We understand this may not work for everyone, and that’s fine. Luckily this town has other bread options like Corner Bakery, Panera, and even your local grocery store of choice.
However, for those adventurous types that understand quality takes time and effort, and want to taste what others have been raving about, then The Speakeasy Bakery might be what you are looking for. Each bread is made to order using quality ingredients, and care goes into making sure that each and every item that comes out of the oven is the best it can be.
Here at The Speakeasy Bakery, the boss man decides when to bake, and although it may not be the easiest process in the world, we guarantee it is worth the wait.
What is The Speakeasy Bakery?
We are Santa Clarita’s first underground bakery. When no other bread in town would do, our baker decided to make his own. Now, for the first time ever, he is offering his baked goods to others in town.
Where are you located?
We are a speakeasy style bakery, therefore we only reveal our location on a need to know basis. We can reveal that we are located within the city of Santa Clarita. We will offer local pick up at a public location (which will be announced the day of) and in the future we will also offer free delivery within town.
How much is the bread?
This is a speakeasy, not a storefront. There are no set prices, however if you feel the need to compensate, just pay what you think is fair. No judging here!
Who is the one doing the baking?
For years, our baker has been perfecting his craft as a skilled home cook and bread baker, but it wasn’t until recently that he started sharing his breads with others. Soon word spread around town that his bread was indeed “pretty f’kin good” and so a legend was born. His bread can be found through The Speakeasy Bakery, but since he has a day job, you never know when he’ll get the urge to bake you some ciabatta, sourdough, baguettes, and more. And if you are really lucky, he might even make you his World Famous Apple Pie.
I’m feeling adventurous! How do I place an order?
Awesome! Due to high demand, there is some wait time for bread orders. Please be patient. Check out the pinned post over on our Facebook Group (See link on Guidelines page) . Thanks!
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com