Indulge in a Tasty Treat With Vintage Baking Co.
A pastry chef-turned-small-business owner creates delicious breads, pastries and baked goods using local ingredients
Welcome to Re-Tales – an ongoing series of stories from retailers throughout the Granite State. Get to know your local shopkeeper and discover what makes their establishment special.
What’s your name and title? What’s the story behind the name of your business?
My name is Lisa Somerville and title is co-owner. When we first opened we sold wine, so it was a twist on vintage in wine. We also make everything from scratch, so in essence everything was done in a “vintage” way.
Tell us about the history of Vintage Baking Co.
We opened Vintage Baking Co. in July of 2010. Previously, I was a pastry chef at some of the grand hotels in New Hampshire, and I had always dreamed of having a place to make my own creations. My husband had been working as a sommelier and had dreamed about a store where locals could find great wine not found anywhere else. At first we were going to open a wine and craft beer store, but we quickly discovered it would be a really hard way to make a living, so we combined our efforts to open VBC. Over the years the pastry business overtook the wine sales, so he has transitioned into baking full time and we have stopped selling wine. He now oversees the bread and pastry production and has become a talented baker in his own right.
What makes your store unique?
We shape all of our products by hand. Every loaf of bread and every croissant is cut and shaped by a skilled baker. We use local ingredients as much as we can, including growing produce and herbs in our own garden. All of our whole grain flour comes from Maine Grains in Skowhegan, Maine.
Tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had.
When my first daughter was born in 2014 it was the height of foliage season, so I would bring her to work with me a few days a week. Since her dad and grandmother were also working at the bakery, we would all take turns holding and caring for her. The amount of customers that would stop in to see her when she was there was overwhelming; it was a great feeling to feel so supported by our community.
Do you have anything new/exciting planned for the near future?
Yes! I am planning on teaching some baking classes. They will probably be Zoom classes to start, but I’m hoping to transition to in-person classes once the pandemic allows. My goal with the classes is to show that people don’t need expensive gadgets and mixers to make great baked goods and desserts with whole foods.
What keeps you passionate about your business?
My staff and my customers. I love it when our staff are passionate about our products and eager to learn. It’s also amazing when our customers are willing to try something new, and end up loving some of the new products we have been making this year, like German sourdough rye breads and desserts to plate at home.
How have you adapted to COVID-19? Or, if you opened during COVID-19, what has that been like?
We have created online ordering, which has been great for helping us organize large orders for the mornings, and allows us to have a curbside pickup. We have also created a pre-order subscription, which is a weekly special menu that is emailed. We offer specials, sneak peeks and returns of old favorites that we don’t make very often. It has been very successful.
How can people best support Vintage Baking Co. right now?
Keep seeking us out and ordering online! We are headed into the slowest time of year so we’d love to keep busy, especially during the midweek.
What are some of your most popular items?
Croissants, cinnamon rolls and sourdough breads.
Tell us a bit about your recipe blog.
I started the blog as a way to share some recipes that really worked. When I first started baking professionally it was so hard to find modern recipes that worked well in both small and large volume formats that didn’t use ingredients like shortening (I prefer to use butter). I have started scaling down recipes for people to make at home, and for culinary arts students I mentor to be able to access freely when they are planning menus for competition. I often include the large scale versions we use in the bakery as a way for other bakers to use.