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The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

Many of us dream of starting our own business and working for ourselves. But turning that dream into a reality requires no small amount of work, as well as the skill to manage others that can be a challenge for many. Sheila McCann, founder of House of Bread, shared her insight into managing a production team as a small business owner.

McCann left a career as a public defender because she wanted to make a living doing something she could feel good about, a workplace that was positive and stimulating, with room for growth. She felt there were “good people in the bread business,” and since it wasn’t the type of thing someone got into to get rich quick, there wouldn’t be the level of greed found in some other entrepreneurial endeavors.

But being the boss means supporting and working with your staff to deliver the best experience for your customers. McCann has found that as a small business owner many of her employees are young people in need of training. “I have a lot of younger people working for me, and many of them are afraid of making mistakes or doing something wrong,” she said.

McCann and her bakery owners have focused then on empowering their staffs to make decisions when she (or the managers) is not there. “You have to strip away all that fear and indecision and boost them up by giving them the power to make decisions on their own.”

This is particularly important to McCann when it comes to her staff making the decision to do all they can to make customers happy. She knows that frequenting a House of Bread requires her customers to make a special trip, avoiding the convenience of the grocery store bread aisle. To that end, her most important tip for managing her staff is to give them the leeway to always say yes to customers. “We want to foster a ‘can do’ attitude and teach them that the customer really is their boss,” she shared.

Not only does House of Bread want to give its customers bread the way grandma used to make it, they want their staff to treat you as graciously and generously as grandma would have as well—one natural, freshly baked loaf at a time.

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Turning Dough Into Money

Turning Dough Into Money

For Sheila McCann, opening her first House of Bread bakery was about more than creating a successful money making business, it was an effort to restructure her life. A former public defender, McCann wanted a career that would not only give her life a more positive spin, but also one that would benefit others. Providing healthy, natural bread seemed like the perfect answer.

Not that McCann didn’t want her new bakery to thrive. But she will be the first to tell you that she just naturally assumed she would be as successful in her new endeavor as she had been as a lawyer. However, she learned the hard way when she opened her second House of Bread location that lightning doesn’t always strike twice.

“I was widely successful on my first venture and thought business was very easy,” she recalled. “It was only when I went about trying to duplicate my first success that I realized I didn’t know why I was successful.”

McCann’s second bakery, which she opened three hours away from her first location, encountered problems she never had at the first House of Bread. But why? To start with, McCann learned that managing a business that far away from you can present challenges.

“You can’t pull labor, share marketing exposure, etc.,” she explained. Another drawback of branching out so far afield from the first location was that McCann did not have an understanding of the local community. “Finding the right location in a community is more than just running research reports,” she said. “It is understanding the unique shopping patterns that can only be learned by asking people who live there … not by doing a search on Google.”

McCann took those hard-learned lessons from her first attempt at expansion and changed her approach. Now with eight locations, no two House of Breads are exactly alike, but they do all share an inviting atmosphere that is tailored by the bakery owners to that locale. That level of authenticity perfectly mirrors the natural goodness that McCann stresses in their bread and bakery products. She explained, “I feel good about what we are selling, because at House of Bread we’re all natural.”

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The History of Bread

The History of Bread

Whatever form it takes, pita or tortillas, pumpernickel or sourdough, bread has been eaten by every culture. What’s more, this one food has been a part of our lives for more than 30,000 years. But why? Bread is easy to produce from common natural ingredients, and it packs solid nutrition with powerful carbohydrates that are a great source of energy.

The first bread

At some point, prehistoric man went from merely mixing grains in water to cooking these ingredients on hot stones. Research released from a 2010 study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences showed prehistoric mortar and pestle-like rocks contained traces of starch, probably from the roots of cattails and ferns.

As wheat and barley were cultivated in the Fertile Crescent, about 10,000 years ago, our ancestors shifted from a diet of animal meat (hunter-gatherer) to one that contained more plants (agricultural). Of course this impacted not only diets, but also how prehistoric man lived. The advent of agricultural societies meant that people started to settle in one place, rather than roaming. It also allowed larger groups of people to live together. Our modern lives would not exist if man had never shifted from the hunter-gatherer life.

How bread changed

Leavened bread, the precursor to our modern fluffy loaves, also probably first developed during prehistoric times. Yeast is all around, so if some found its way into a bowl of grain and water, the mixture would have naturally undergone leavening. Yeast cells have been discovered in bread made by ancient Egyptians dating back to 300 B.C.

Of course the next major change that allowed our forbearers to get closer to our modern bread came with the introduction of refined flour. Early flour would have been coarsely ground, meaning those loaves would have been denser and been somewhat akin to our whole grain loaves of today. However, around 800 B.C. the Mesopotamians created the first milling process to more finely grind grain into flour.

Modern bread

With industrialization, bread changed yet again. Otto Frederick Rohwedder created a machine that would not only slice, but also wrap bread, in 1928. And while generations of bread eaters have preferred white bread and viewed it as a form of status, that too changed in the last few years of the 20th century. The nutritional value of whole grain breads has come to be valued more as our attitudes about diet and lifestyle have shifted.

Another area where industrialized practices have changed bread is the Chorleywood Bread Process, which speeds up the fermentation process and allows for lesser quality flour to be used. This process, in addition to chemical additives that can be added to bread dough to decrease the rising and baking time, have dramatically changed not only the structure of modern bread, but also its nutritional value. At House of Bread, we don’t look for short cuts that save us money. Our mission is to craft the highest quality bread that evokes the history of bread, when it was a food rich in nutrients that sustained civilizations.

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Bread for Weight Loss

Bread for Weight Loss

Most likely if you have ever tried to lose weight, one of the first things you did was cut back or eliminate bread from your diet. But is bread really the reason why people gain weight? Or is it possible that bread could help you actually lose weight? The answer may surprise you.

A Kernel of Truth

Not all bread is created equal. White bread made from refined grains is not the same as bread created with whole grains. Why?

The flour that goes into House of Bread’s bread comes from grain kernels, typically wheat. That grain kernel is composed of three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Anything that is whole grain has all three of these. However, the refined flour used in white bread has only the endosperm; the bran and the germ have been removed. When those two go, a whole host of nutrients go too—vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fiber.

Sure, some manufacturers put a few of those lost nutrients back into their white bread (those options are labeled “enriched”), but it isn’t the same health-wise as eating whole grain bread in the first place.

Too Much of a Good Thing

So whole wheat bread, because it contains more nutrients just may, according to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Copenhagen and reported in the Journal of Nutrition, help you actually lose weight. That research looked at people on a restricted calorie diet that included whole grains, like whole wheat bread, versus those who ate refined grains. The group that included whole grains in their diet lost more belly fat than the other group that ate white bread. Of course more studies need to be conducted to see if these results hold true.

However, the average adult only needs six ounces of grains a day, and one bagel can be anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces. So it is still very important to not go overboard in your bread consumption, even the whole grain variety.

Shopping for Bread

If you are trying to make the switch to whole grain products, and pay attention to your portion sizes, these tips may help:

  • To ensure something is really made of whole grains, make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat, white whole wheat or whole oats.
  • Some manufacturers add molasses or food coloring to make their bread darker. Don’t be fooled! Always check the ingredients.
  • Whole grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving is the best option.
  • Avoid anything containing vital wheat gluten. Commercial bread makers use this to speed up the bread making process, and it leads to an unnatural amount of gluten in the finished product —something our bodies simply can’t handle.
  • Steer clear of high fructose corn syrup, too, which not only has zero nutritional value but also suppresses the hormone leptin, which gives us that full feeling.

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Gluten Free Fad, Fiction or New Way of Life?

Gluten Free Fad, Fiction or New Way of Life?

What we eat and why has become as trendy as what skirt lengths are in vogue this season. One year fat is bad. Next it is carbs. For the past five years, it seems like everyone wants to blame gluten for feelings of bloating or mental fogginess, as well as bowel changes. These reactions are perceived as gluten intolerance, and it’s behind the recent rise of gluten free products.
Eating clean by avoiding processed and refined foods is a good way to improve your overall health. Additionally, people probably are eating too much gluten, but that may be because of the addition of vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is used by commercial bread manufacturers (and even most organic bread makers) to speed up the bread making process. This highly condensed form of gluten leads to an unnatural amount of gluten in the finished product, which many people’s bodies may not be able to handle.

Are FODMAPs the Real Culprit?

Not sure what a FODMAP is? Short for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, new research is hinting that FODMAPs may be causing some of the intestinal distress that many have blamed on gluten. Fructans are a kind of FODMAP, which wheat contains. But wheat isn’t the only food that contains fructan; in fact it is found in a range of other things, such as artichokes, bananas, broccoli, garlic, leek bulbs, melons, onions, white peaches and rye, according to researchers at Georgia Regents University. No large-scale studies have been done yet to see how common a problem fructans are for people, but those who are known to have problems with fructose malabsorption show similar symptoms as those with celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

And fructose consumption, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, may be another problem area in many of our diets. In the last 30 years, our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has jumped dramatically—up 60.8 percent since it become more readily available in 1978.

Cut Gluten, Lose Weight

Of course many who are interested in removing gluten from their diet are doing so as a means of losing weight. Many years ago, before gluten-free products exploded, that idea may have contained some truth, because to give up gluten 10 or even five years ago meant simply giving up bread, muffins, cake and other bakery items. But today, all of those foods are available in a gluten-free form, so you can have all the calories of your favorite treat, just minus the gluten.

It is important to read labels, avoiding products that include vital wheat gluten. The unnatural level of gluten may be to blame for any digestive issues. Want to have your bread and eat it too? House of Bread’s products are made with natural gluten only, giving you the healthiest, and tastiest, option!

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Bread Baking 101

Bread baking 101

So you want to make bread? Creating a loaf of your favorite bread—soft on the inside, crunchy on the exterior—can be a rewarding, and delicious, experience. But even the best bakers occasionally struggle with turning out that perfect loaf of bread.

Here are the top five most common problems and the possible reasons why your bread baking experience didn’t rise to your expectations:

  1. The dough didn’t rise. Nothing is sadder than a flat as a pancake loaf of bread. The most common reason your bread didn’t rise is you used the wrong flour. Most people use all-purpose flour at home for baking cakes, cookies, pies, etc. However, with bread you need high protein bread flour. The general rule is if the product has yeast, then use bread flour. If not, all-purpose is fine. The other two reasons for flat loaves are either there was not enough water in the dough and/or not enough kneading. People are not used to baking doughs that stick, and your bread dough should be sticky as the dough only gets drier as time goes on in proofing and baking. Lastly, the dough should be kneaded long enough to get that “good” dough feel. When in doubt, knead longer and add more liquid.
  2. The bread isn’t brown on the sides. No one wants a pale loaf of bread. If your sides aren’t coming out golden brown, it may be because your oven was over-crowded or the temperature of the oven was too low. Another reason could be your pans were too bright and reflected the heat away.
  3. The top of the loaf cracks. A crack along the top of your bread loaf is most likely the result of the bread being cooled too quickly or even in a draft. It also may happen because the dough wasn’t mixed well or was too stiff.
  4. A doughy bottom. If the bottom of your bread loaf is doughy, you need to remove it from the pan to cool completely on a rack after taking it out of the oven.
  5. The bread is too dense or heavy. This can happen when you use too much flour in your bread or if you don’t allow the dough to rise enough during proofing. Also, different types of flour will change the density and texture of your bread.

Baking bread shouldn’t be scary, but it does require some practice. But even loaves that don’t turn out so great are delicious because they contain your love and effort. And worse case scenario, you’ll have some great breadcrumbs for homemade stuffing!

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Good Carbs for Physical Stamina

Good Carbs for Physical Stamina

Think a healthy diet means cutting out carbs? Think again. The right kind of carbohydrates is actually very important for giving your body the energy and stamina it needs. That being said, some carbs are better for you than others. Want to know more? Let’s start with a refresher on just what exactly carbs are.

The simplest carbs are sugars, i.e. fructose, glucose, lactose and sucrose. These occur naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables and milk products. When lots of these sugar molecules join together you get a complex carbohydrate, such as starch, which can also happen naturally in foods. Fiber is also a complex carb, and like other complex carbs is found in vegetables, grains and dried beans.

Carbs as Fuel and More

Your body’s main source of energy comes from carbohydrates, which are broken down into simple sugars. If you cut back too far on carbs, or eliminate them altogether, you will be left feeling lethargic with reduced energy levels. The problem arises when you have too many carbs and your body doesn’t use them all for fuel; the excess simple sugar turns to fat.

What’s more, fiber from whole grains is believed to help reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as being vital to your digestive system.

Finally there is weight control. Eating the right kind of carbs, like the ones found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help you feel full without a lot of calories.

The Right Carbs

So it all comes down to picking the right carbs—unprocessed carbs and avoiding any items with vital wheat gluten added to them. Basically gluten on steroids, the addition of organic vital wheat gluten leads to an unnatural amount of gluten in the finished product, which our bodies simply can’t handle. Here is what you want to focus on in your diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables—Fresh, frozen or canned is fine, just opt for those with no added sugar.
  • Whole grains—These provide more fiber and nutrients than refined grains which have had many important nutrients removed.
  • Low-fat dairy products—Not only do foods like milk, cheese and yogurt provide a good source of calcium and protein, but they provide good carbs, too. Choose the low-fat versions to cut back on calories and saturated fat.
  • Beans—Otherwise known as legumes, these are nutrient powerhouses, providing protein, potassium, iron, fiber and so much more. They also just happen to be low fat and cholesterol free.

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Naturally Made Bread for Weight Loss? Yes!

Naturally Made Bread for Weight Loss? Yes!

As more people turn to gluten-free, high-protein, no-carb diets to lose weight, bread is getting kicked to the curb—and in some cases, downright demonized.  While most commercial breads should be avoided, what people seem to be forgetting is that real bread has been a staple in humans’ diets since before Biblical times, and with good reason! The right kinds of bread can be part of a sound weight loss strategy and a healthy, nutritious dietary plan.

Bread is made from different kinds of grains, and the average adult needs about six (6) servings of grains, mostly whole grains, every day. People get in trouble with bread when they consume too many refined grains, like white bread, crackers and pretzels. In fact, research suggests that the more refined grains you eat, the more you want.

You’ve probably heard about the growing concern over refined flours, which is the main ingredient in the majority of mass-produced loaves. Refined grains lose much of their nutritional value in the refining process. They end up as empty calories in your diet. House of Bread is dedicated to serving wholesome bread, baked daily with high-quality grains and NO refined flours. We know you will enjoy your food even more when are confident that it is good for you.

It’s important that you stick to whole grains rather than refined. Whole grains have an abundance of vitamins and minerals plus protein and fiber. In addition to being high in complex carbohydrates, they’re also low in saturated fats. Complex carbohydrates, like whole-grain bread, are burned more slowly by the body, take longer to digest and don’t raise blood sugar levels as quickly as simple carbs (like refined white flour); they also leave people feeling full longer than simple carbs.

According to a study published in 2011 in Nutrición Hospitalaria, subjects who included bread in reduced-calorie diets experienced greater satiation after meals than study participants who consumed rice or pasta instead of bread. So, let’s look at this: Whole grains are low in calories, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and leave you feeling full longer. Why do so many people think that the road to obesity is paved with bread?

If you’re trying to lose weight, you definitely don’t have to pinch your nose when you walk by a bakery—especially if it’s House of Bread. You simply have to make wise choices that include whole grain breads and keep a balance in your diet. Bread is one of the most nutritious ways to get your calories every day, and the 60 to 80 calories you’ll consume in an average slice of whole-wheat bread will keep you fueled and leave you feeling sated longer. A healthy meal, complete with a serving of bread will help you kiss those sugar crashes and afternoon vending machine runs goodbye, and you won’t have to give up one of the oldest and greatest food joys of all time.

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Go for the Gusto: Garlic Cheddar Bread Recipe

Go for the Gusto: Garlic Cheddar Bread Recipe

Take one part passionate baker, and one part people-pleaser: What do you get? An irresistibly delicious recipe, of course! The garlic cheddar loaf was created at the suggestion of a customer, who desired fresh, flavorful bread baked with her favorite ingredients.

If you already like to make your own kitchen creations, then you already know how slight ingredient or process changes can leave you with a series of trials before you get an out-of-the-oven taste that pleases you. We have so many stories like this and can assure you, it’s all part of the baking experience. Your recipes and your baking skills will be better for it!

House of Bread Bakery Cafe has been offering Garlic Cheddar Bread for 15 years. It’s hard to believe you can follow such simple instructions and produce this customer favorite. Make it straightforward, as shown, the first time. We tried adding the cheese and garlic into the dough during the mixing process, but found that the garlic and cheese tastes were too mild. The star flavors stand out much better if they are added after the first rising. With that in mind, go ahead and prepare your garlic butter–water mixture:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Crushed Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons of Melted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Warm Water

NOTE: It is perfectly find to adjust the amount of garlic in the recipe for your own personal tastes.

Have ready:

  • 1 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese

NOTE: Monterey Jack, Parmesan or any type of hard cheese may be substituted.

Follow Grandma’s White Bread recipe for the dough. After the first hour-and-a-half rising is done, spread out the dough with your hands. Make it approximately one (1) inch thick. Evenly apply the garlic butter and water mixture. Sprinkle the cheese all over the dough. Roll up the dough into a torpedo shaped loaf. Garnish with the garlic mixture and sprinkle with cheese on top.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Slice the loaf lengthwise and broil in a 350 degree oven until toasted. Serve with any type of dinner. Best served hot, right out of the oven!

We are confident that if you are following this recipe, yours will be just as tasty and in-demand as our Garlic Cheddar loaf! Even so, we hope you will visit our neighborhood bakery and cafe, where you can tell us about your baking experience or sample any of our wholesome, homemade breads for yourself.

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Bakery Ownership: Are You the Ideal Candidate?

Bakery Ownership: Are You the Ideal Candidate?

Have you ever considered the role that bread could play in your future? Not in your diet, but in your career!

Ours isn’t the typical day job. When people end up meeting the owners of House of Bread, a neighborhood bread bakery and cafe, they are surprised that we are there every day, in the mix and engaged with any customer who wants to talk and ask questions. Most are quick to ask how we got into this line of work. The business was born from a desire to bring healthy, nutritious homemade bread to the community, along with the founder’s wish to share the unforgettable recipes from her childhood.

You probably know plenty of individuals who want to own their own business, yet years pass by while they continue to toss around ideas in search of the perfect opportunity. We created this franchise opportunity because there is an overwhelming demand for it just three years after the original bakery opened. Plus, why wait for someone else to do it when you know that patrons will always seek out delicious, quality food?

The customers we serve depend on us for consistently yummy, wholesome bread and cafe fare. They want meals they enjoy themselves but also the kind they can happily bring home for families and friends to relish. You might be wondering whether you’re the kind of person who could make it happen. We hope so! In fact, most likely so, but we want to know whether you’re the kind of person who would enjoy it.

How much do you love bread? Is wellness a passion of yours, too? Whether or not you have extensive retail experience, do you consider yourself to be someone who has business sense? Are you a sociable person who enjoys sharing stories and tips with people? House of Bread franchisees have all these qualities, and they are approachable leaders who are determined to run a successful business. Oftentimes the bakery takes on a unique position within the community as a social hub, meeting place, go-to for catering and even a friendly spot for those who need a few scrumptious moments to themselves.

We wish everyone could experience the personal reward that comes from providing excellent customer service and supporting the livelihood of good employees. We’re sure there are plenty of people like us who have an entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm for providing food so satisfying that it keeps people coming back for more. Are you one of them? We want to hear from you.