Baker, entrepreneur, foodie, father and avid baseball fan, Josh Grunig is the brain child behind pop-up bakery Pocket Bakery in Central District.
Pocket Bakery has been growing inside Magpie Toy shop since August 2014, and will have a permanent home very soon … with your help!
The memory of his mother preparing home-cooked meals from scratch, including baked goods, while growing up is one of Josh’s fondest memories and inspiration to baking. He also remembers the magic of visiting Italian bakery as a kid with their enticing display of sweets and breads.
Baking started in 2006 for Josh when he went to San Francisco Baking Institute. In this past 9 years, he had worked in many prestigious places in the Bay Area until his relocation to Seattle in 2012. He worked at Grand Central bakery until he went out on his own, and heeded the advice from a friend to start the pop-up, to create loyal following for his baked goods.
I had the pleasure to try his pastries and bread — they were delicious and creative. My favorite was the parmesan fennel scone which had lovely cheesy flavor with pops from the fennel, and the maple bacon bar which was practically a melt-in-your mouth, solid, sweet, bacon square. His latest addition was croissant donut, and, he is currently working on a chocolate babka bun that will be available soon.
Great tastiness of his baked goods, in part, comes from his conscious effort of sourcing freshest ingredients locally: he uses Smith Brother’s butter, Rogers’ organic bread flour from B.C. and Toboten Farm’s eggs from Yelm. Josh uses as much organic ingredients as possible, with ingredient supplier selection based on taste, locality, and their food principle. Reducing carbon footprint is very important for Josh, and he will choose a local quality ingredient over organic sourcing that is unsustainable.
Josh takes his baking ideas from all over: baking books, Instagram and sometimes, just following his gut. He finds that having a pop-up bakery gives him the flexibility and opportunity to experiment constantly with different ideas, then get feedback from customers, and regroup for the next week.
Baking requires hard work, and it is mentally and physically demanding, yet rewarding at the same time. Josh loves that tactile sensation of creating delicious products with his own hands. With his roots from San Francisco, he loves baking the higher sourness, whole-grain, wheat San Franciscan sour dough bread, even if it means a delayed gratification. Josh explains that it takes 72 hours to finish a loaf, but the result is totally delicious, and he has received positive feedback for them.
The low start-up cost for a pop-up is certainly attractive, but Josh feels that he wants more steady connection with people, and the ability to reach out to a greater audience; three hours, once a week from the pop-up is just not enough. Now, Pocket Bakery is ready to have a permanent location in Central District. Josh is looking forward to have a shop that he can catch a bus to work without hauling all his baked goods in the car. He wants to follow the model to bake frequently during shop hours, and keeps his bakery goods no more than two-hour old.
An ongoing crowd-funding campaign for the brick and mortar Pocket Bakery will end on June 10. Josh’s goal is to raise $50,000. The great news is that community sourced capital is matching the funds, every dollar pledged means 2 dollars towards opening the shop, please support our local talent!