Posted on

On the Menu: Good Carbs at House of Bread

On the Menu: Good Carbs at House of Bread

“Carb” is not a four-letter word worthy of a bad reputation. Sometimes it gets caught in the parade of magazine covers, social media and TV shows that feed us constant advice about what it means to eat right. But carbs, short for “carbohydrates,” are a major nutrient and important source of sustained energy. Despite all the debate about diets, carbs deserve special consideration.

It should be a welcome relief to know you don’t have to decode carb content or worry about bad carbs baked into the House of Bread Bakery Cafe menu. Our healthy and nutritious bread is made with natural, high-quality ingredients. There are no fake fillers baked into the loaves. Let’s break down two of the basics of our most basic recipe, Grandma’s White Bread.

  • White flour comes up in a lot of carb-heavy conversations, often as the bad guy. House of Bread’s white flour is unbleached and milled at a low temperature to retain the vitamins and minerals. The bulk of the wheat berry is the white flour portion, and the hard bran is removed through sifting. So, it appears white rather than tan but it is not bleached white as is found in some commercial breads.
  • Honey is an ideal substitute for sugar, as honey has nutritional value beyond just calories. Honey is also a much healthier replacement for the high fructose corn syrup which strips your body of nutrients.  Nature’s perfect sweetener is nutritious, delicious in its raw form and is also a natural preservative.

The same standards of quality apply as we add ingredients for other recipes. Whole wheat, bran, walnuts, cranberries, zucchini, pumpkin? Yes! They are all players in the ensemble of good carbs, and just a few of the good ingredients in the wholesome foods available at House of Bread Bakery Cafe.

Good carbs come loaded with benefits for your body, which means not all carbs are the same. When people talk about good carbs, they are referring to complex carbohydrates, which are broken down slowly in the body and do not cause blood sugar level spikes. They keep you fuller, for longer when you eat them.

If you’re having trouble remembering how to tell the good from the bad, the main rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods and refined sugars. The biggest building blocks of a healthy diet—fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains—are all considered to be good carbs that offer more than sugar. The Healthy Plate from Harvard School of Public Health is a great resource for exploring the main foods in each of these categories. You’ll get a good dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each bite.

photo credit: Primeval Banknotes via photopin (license)

Posted on

3 Tips for Franchise Success

3 Tips for Franchise Success

When it comes to House of Bread Bakery Cafe, Eric Breeze is a bit like the family elder. He owns the company’s longest-running franchise operation, and he’s quick to share stories and advice about the business. He has watched many bakeries and neighborhood cafes come and go since taking root in Reno, Nevada nearly 14 years ago.

Breeze says that superior products and excellent customer service are common-sense, minimum requirements for success. In this interview, he reveals three additional steps franchisees can take to increase longevity and stay relevant to customers.

1. Create an Interactive Environment

“Our bread is kept behind the counter on a rack. You have to interact with one of my employees to get the bread,” says Breeze. “My employees can make recommendations about accompanying breads specific to any meal. I hire bread sales people.”

Eric feels that a positive experience depends on having knowledgeable and approachable employees who know how to interact, rather than simply react. He states, “Customers come in with one thing on their mind: To get bread. Shame on us if we let them leave empty-handed. We even slice it in front of them. We have the chance to interact with them from start to finish.”

2. Spread Enthusiasm

During the bakery’s building process, Breeze got busy generating buzz. “I opened the doors every day,” he recalls. “I let people in and talked to them. I showed them where the oven was going to be, made a visible countdown showing number of days until we opened—you know, really involved them.”

Once the doors opened, Eric pressed for more attention.  “In the first three days, we gave away everything for free. That was the best form of advertising I ever could have bought,” he says.

The freebies are still a popular way to get people excited and sell more. Breeze keeps bread on the counter and gives away an estimated 10 loaves a day in samples. Those are his advertising dollars, he says, and it reinforces his number one philosophy: “If you try it, you’ll buy it.”

3. Show Up, Be There

House of Bread Bakery Cafe’s oldest franchisee insists, “Go into business with the mindset, I am going to do whatever it takes.”

“Other than the baker, I’ve been the dishwasher, the janitor,” he says. “And if the driver doesn’t show up, I go out and do it. That’s part of the key to success in a business like ours.”

People seem to notice and respect his consistency. Eric says, “We have customers to this day come in who were here at the beginning. We’re a presence in our store on a regular business. It’s a driving force in the relationship building.”

Speaking of Relationships

“There’s a mutual understanding and respect with Sheila [McCann, owner],” says Breeze when reflecting on his years as a House of Bread Bakery Cafe franchise owner. “It’s been a good marriage. And we’re rolling in the dough.”

Posted on

Most Requested Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

Most Requested Recipe: Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

As a young girl, we made a homemade version of cinnamon toast that was just buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. That kitchen creation was a great starter recipe, and fun for little fingers, too! But since then I have learned some healthier alternatives. Today cinnamon is the star of several wholesome breads and delicious pastries at House of Bread Bakery Cafe.


House of Bread’s Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

Try this one at home for an all-out people pleaser at any meal. It also makes a thoughtful all-occasion gift. House of Bread Bakery Cafe’s popular cinnamon swirl loaf is based on Grandma’s White Bread recipe.

Start by making the swirl mixture:

  • ¾ Cup of Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon

Mix the honey and cinnamon until all the cinnamon is incorporated into the honey. Feel free to adjust the cinnamon to taste—just be careful because if there is too little cinnamon, the swirl runs out of the loaf. If there is too much cinnamon, the spice overpowers all the other flavors.

Follow the exact recipe for Grandma’s White Bread and after the first hour-and-a-half of rising, spread the dough flat out. Make it about an inch or two thick, as if you were going to shape rectangular pizza dough. Spread the swirl mixture evenly on top of the dough.

Next, roll up the dough as if you were rolling up a sleeping bag, and fold in the ends as you roll. Pinch the seams together and place seam-down in sprayed loaf pan(s). Scrape out the last of the swirl mixture and wipe it on top of the loaf.

House of Bread’s Apple Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

Using the same recipe as the cinnamon swirl loaf, add a cup of chopped apples to the swirl mixture. You can use canned apples, fresh apples or dried apples.

Spread the mixture on top of the dough, but instead of rolling it up; the bakers at House of Bread prefer to chop the dough into one-inch cubed pieces and toss it with the apple swirl.

Next, place the chopped apple swirl pieces into a well-sprayed loaf pan. Only fill the loaf pan three-quarters full in order to avoid the dough spilling out over the pans while baking.

Later you can vary the recipe by adding raisins or dates to the swirl filling but please try this one first because it tastes so amazing!

Posted on

Bread Making, Part 2: It Tastes Right

Bread Making, Part 2: It Tastes Right

Once you’ve pulled a loaf or two of your own out of the oven, any time is a good time to start experimenting with ingredients. That’s right! It’s time to channel your inner food artist. Adding elements according to your own tastes or swapping them out based on your dietary needs will make you even more fond of the bread making process, and let’s not forget all the baker’s bragging rights you will earn!

Here are a few tips to get you started, based on the advice you are most likely to hear in our bakery-cafes and in our bread making classes.

Adding Hard Ingredients

The key to adding ingredients with substance (such as nuts, dried fruit) is to add them after you get to “the good dough stage,” which is what we call it when you have gotten the feel and consistency just right after mixing and kneading the dough. Use a light hand and not more than a couple of ingredients, as dough needs other dough to stick together. If you are swapping similar ingredients in a recipe, use the same volume as called for in the recipe.

Not Too Cold, Not Too Hot

Dough has to remain a certain temperature in order to bake evenly throughout. Adding frozen or cold items to your dough will keep it from fermenting (rising) and will probably leave it half-baked.  Room temperature is the safest bet. With the minimal extra time you might spend letting items defrost or slightly warm outside of the refrigerator, you’ll save time wondering what happened to your dream loaf.

Substitutions and Reductions

Sometimes people want to substitute flours. Instead of switching cup for cup, we tell them to use no more than 10% of the substitution flour to start. Then the next time they can go 20%, and keep raising the ratio until they have reached the threshold because the texture or flavor is compromised.

This baby-step approach works best with sugars and salt reduction, too. We recommend starting with half the amount. The change will result in substantially less flavor. Sugar can be reduced more easily than salt but might require less liquid, too, or more of another dry ingredient such as flour. If you reduce honey (our sweetener of choice), add more liquid or reduce the flour.

Endless Inspiration

At House of Bread Bakery Cafe, we use Grandma’s White Bread as a wonderful stand-alone that also makes a great building block for a wide variety of artisan bread. Our customers always want to know the secret to our specialty loaves. There’s no secret—just knowledge, which we are happy to share! Trust yourself to customize your own homemade bread in any way imaginable. Feel free to subscribe to our blog or bookmark this section so you can read the latest recipes and tips from House of Bread Bakery Cafe.

photo credit: pähkinöitä via photopin (license)

Posted on

Quality vs. Cost

Quality vs. Cost

For all small businesses, a crucial issue is controlling expenses without compromising quality. Sheila McCann, founder of House of Bread, knows how simple mistakes can eat into profits when it comes to running her bakery.

The main two costs for any small food service business are goods and labor, and the bottom line is those two costs should equal no more than 60 percent of your total sales. Having an awareness of those two numbers and keeping constant control of those expenses is imperative. McCann recommends any small food-related business track goods and labor costs on a weekly basis.

“Often, business owners will realize they aren’t making money, but they don’t know why,” McCann says. All too often, she explains, it is because they are not tracking and controlling their labor or goods costs. “Your rent and utilities typically are going to be the same month to month,” she adds. But even within those more fixed expenses it is imperative to pay attention. For instance, if your water bill has increased since the previous month, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot and figure out why—maybe you have a toilet that’s running or a leaky faucet. Or maybe your phone bill has gone up because your contract has expired. Looking at every invoice, and noting deviations, is one way to ensure you don’t lose money on unexpected expenses.

McCann also advises that even if you have someone else handling your books, small business owners should make time each month to go through everything to spot any discrepancies. Also imperative is doing an inventory as suppliers delivery products to ensure that what is delivered and what your business has been billed for are accurate on the invoice. “Even an honest supplier can make a mistake,” she says.

While you may be tempted to cut corners by buying lesser quality goods or decreasing your staff to cut back on labor expenses, McCann urges caution. “You don’t want to be so tight on costs of goods and labor that it adversely affects your sales,” she says. “You can cut labor and then people will have to wait too long. That affects customer service, and maybe that customer doesn’t come back. There’s a balance in there. I won’t cut costs if it compromises House of Bread’s product quality or customer service—you can’t save yourself to profitability.”

At House of Bread, quality is especially important because as McCann says, “We compete on quality.” Therefore, she feels it is crucial to invest in the best ingredients, as well as ensuring that the staff is never wasteful. “We enter any baked goods that don’t turn out right into our point of sale system,” she explains. The “mis-baked” items are given a price and tracked. “We are all human, and everyone makes mistakes, but this sends employees a message that there are costs associated with mistakes,” McCann explains.

House of Bread stresses the importance of not being wasteful during employee training, as well. That ethos includes how to slice meats so every bit is useable or not cutting off the end of a tomato and throwing it away. “Once they have the training, they understand the House of Bread philosophy—it’s all about balancing.” McCann adds, “We can’t, we won’t skimp on quality, so we use high-end meats and cheeses. And since we can’t compromise on quality, we can’t afford any waste. We don’t want to substitute inferior products because we want people to go out of their way to come here.”,

From utilizing the best ingredients to the most gracious staff, quality is at the heart of all House of Bread items. Visit your local House of Bread today and experience our natural, freshly baked products for yourself.

Posted on

The Joy of Baking

The Joy of Baking

No matter where you turn, you hear something about ways to eat healthier. All too often that talk centers on eliminating things from your diet that you really enjoy, particularly baked goods. But treats are part of healthy diet—when enjoyed in moderation and, most importantly, when they are made with real ingredients.

Of course the way to ensure that you are getting backed goods of the highest quality is to make them yourself, or to buy them from House of Bread! The love, care and quality of ingredients we use in our breads and pastry items are the same that you would put into your own home baked items. And naturally House of Bread’s treats are head and shoulders above what is put into mass-produced baked goods.

Sugar and Fat

Where a mass-produced baked good uses high fructose corn syrup, House of Bread uses real sugar or pure honey as a sweetener, just like you would at home. If you are looking for ways to lighten up the sugar of your baked goods you make, try substituting unsweetened applesauce for the sugar in many baked items (just be sure to reduce the liquid in the recipe). Another substitution is Stevia. This natural sweetener is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but it can be expensive.

If you are baking at home and want to reduce the fat in your baked treats, there are also some options to try. Again applesauce can be used in place of half of the recipe’s normal fat content, and it works really well in sweet breads or muffins. Other options include avocado or bananas. When pureed or mashed both can be used in the place of butter in cookies and brownies without altering the taste.


Where the big manufacturers of bread and pastry items use flours with additives or that have been bleached, at House of Breads, our flour is always the highest quality, from the freshest wheat and white flours available that have been milled utilizing an all-natural steel cut milling process. Interested in trying to use more wheat flour in your home baking? The general rule is replace 25 percent of the white flour a recipe calls for with wheat flour, spelt or various nut flours.

Want to go even further? The only way to find out the ratio that you like in terms of taste and texture is to gradually increase the amount of non-white flour in the recipe. Maybe go up by five percent each time to see what you like. If you do opt for a nut flour, remember nut flours are heavier than regular white flour, so you may even need to include more of a rising agent to keep your baked good light and fluffy. Finally, if you are making brownies, you can put in pureed black beans in the place of the flour.

Enjoy your baked treat!

Whether or not you love baking at home, or simply love indulging in the finished product, enjoying the occasional sweet treat or slice of warm, fresh bread is something we all deserve now and again. When it comes to baking—at home, from a manufacturer or at House of Bread—you get out goodness from the goodness you put in. You know what you are using in your home baking, and you know that House of Bread is using the same high-quality ingredients you would pick, but what about the mass-produced baked goods? Do you trust that they have the same standards?

At House of Bread, we know that it is more convenient to buy mass-produced baked items in a grocery store. But if you want to enjoy your baked treat more, and feel less guilty about the occasional indulgence, than House of Bread is the best solution. The taste and nutritional value of House of Bread’s bread and pastries simply is superior.

Posted on

Milestones: An Entrepreneurs Journey

Milestones: An Entrepreneurs Journey

My 20 year anniversary on November 11, 2016 is a milestone of professional and personal success.
As I reflect on the 20 years, the success comes from the feelings of being happy, proud, and grateful to still be working in the bakery business. I never get tired of the aromas of freshly baked breads…or the taste. The career choices we make are a direct correlation to our emotional success. While money can’t buy you happiness, in business you do need to make money to keep going. But equally important is the enjoyment you receive in your job.

I like owning House of Bread because I feel really good about producing a healthy and delicious product. Today’s breads have gotten a bad rap the last 20 years, and rightfully so. House of Bread is truly different from the modern loaves. While people can taste the good ole fashioned quality difference immediately, the nutritional difference is often harder to discern. Mass manufacturers of breads are trying to paint themselves as nutritional and use clever ways to package the inferior breads as “healthy”.

My longevity in this business is because I keep producing breads with integrity, just like my beloved grandma did. The integrity is in baking with all natural ingredients and never compromising our commitment to health with the addition of vital wheat gluten. Today, the “organic” “natural” breads in the grocery stores, splash that title around and many people assume an organic bread is the best healthy choice. Unfortunately, that is not true. There is a real gluten problem, with people consuming way more gluten then the body was designed to handle. House of Bread doesn’t add any vital wheat gluten, which is why people tell me all the time that my bread is the only bread they can eat and feel good afterwards.

The intangible rewards of knowing you are helping people have better lives is priceless.