When the oven is being installed, can croissants be far behind?
In the case of Black Walnut Bakery — and a 4,500-pound, Italian-made appliance — the answer can be measured in weeks.
“About four,” said chef/owner Sarah Botcher, watching as three workmen carefully maneuvered around her nearly completed dining room, removing packing materials surrounding her prized oven and preparing to ease it into its resting space in the adjacent kitchen.
Similarly massive equipment — including an industrial-strength Hobart mixer that’s as tall as Botcher — temporarily fill the rest of the dining room, awaiting installation.
“You’ve heard the expression ‘Boys and their toys’?” she said with a laugh. “Girls have them, too. Especially in a bakery.”
Botcher’s dream of owning a retail bakery, one designed to her specifications, is finally coming to fruition. She (and we) only have to wait about a month.
Botcher has spent the past several years immersed in a wholesale baking operation, laboring in a rented commercial kitchen and supplying the counters at the six Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co. locations. She’s built a rabidly devoted fan base with painstakingly prepared croissants, scones, sweet breads, cookies and other pastries, including the Kouign-amann to end all Kouign-amanns, the ultimate reflection of her obsession with laminated doughs.
At her bakery/cafe (at 3145 Hennepin Av. S. in Uptown Minneapolis), Botcher plans to expand that coffeehouse menu to include a full line of cakes, sold whole or by the slice (“I would love to be the go-to place for people’s celebrations,” she said) and lots of cookies (“I’m going to have to hire someone just to scoop cookie dough,” she said).
Breakfast will include quiche, an egg sandwich and a savory bread pudding. At lunch, expect to encounter four to six pressed sandwiches plus a selection of savory items.
“I’ll also resurrect some plated desserts from my past,” said Botcher. “My mind is full of recipe formulas right now.”
Beverages will include a brief wine, beer and cider list. The coffee program, no surprise, is coming via Spyhouse.
The 40-seat dining room has direct views into the kitchen, and a soon-to-be-busy work space, devoted to the creation of Botcher’s signature laminated dough, is visible from the front door.
“People will be able to see us baking, and we’ll be able to see people enjoying what we’re making,” she said.
Expect to encounter lots of white, including a sea of white subway tiles, in the airy, open space, punctuated by green accents. Tons of windows, too.
“Finally, after working all these years in a cave, I’m going to have sunlight,” said Botcher. “I can’t wait.”
A sunny, off-the-sidewalk patio will include seating for an additional 20. The plan is to open at 7 a.m. and serve through 8 p.m., daily.
“It’s been a long time coming, but it’s also been worth the wait,” said Botcher, who announced plans for the brick-and-mortar last September. “That’s good, because I’ve used that time to build a connection with my customers. Waiting also gave me maturity and wisdom. At this stage, there’s so much anticipation. Every day feels like it’s Christmas.”