Early Riser: Bake Room
Wade Taylor, owner of Bake Room, seems oblivious of his talents and good fortune. He speaks of his entry into baking as something that just kind of happened and sees the feedback his basically-brand-new business has received as a shocking surprise. Humility is too small a word to describe the man that seemingly fell into the role of making some of the best bread in the Upstate.
During college, Wade spent a summer working in Jackson, Wyoming and somewhere along the way experienced a very important moment in any person’s life—“That first time you have good bread.”
“When you are in college, you don’t buy $6 loaves of bread,” he says, as every-college-student-ever can attest to. Realizing what good bread can do to the soul, however, he immediately pursued it and the political science major sprinted down the rabbit hole of the science of baking that bread that he had never tasted previously.
His tutelage began at Jackson’s Persephone Bakery and continued in Richmond, Virginia until Wyoming called him back. Eventually Wade was ready to settle down in a permanent place with his own bakery and the Upstate, which much of his family already called home, seemed like the perfect landing spot. He saw a growing food community, family support and a nice little home for a bakery in the thriving Village of West Greenville.
What was not in his master plan, however, was the response he would receive.
Bake Room officially began production in April, just in time for farmers market season. It began without any advertising and a minimal amount of word of mouth as Wade went forth simply doing what he knew how to do—bake bread. The result was that he sold out at his first TD Saturday Market in less than two hours, and a line remained well after the last loaf was sold.
The momentum built like a speeding train and Wade soon found himself at maximum production each week to support the TD and Travelers Rest Saturday markets. Even now, during the markets' offseason, people line up on Pendleton Street waiting for their turn at the counter during the bakery's Saturday retail hours. This means baking for essentially 24 hours, from first thing Friday morning until it is time to go live on Saturday. The rest of the week is spent baking bread for The Anchorage and Sidewall Pizza’s new Greenville location and pastries for Methodical Coffee and The Village Grind. There is also a growing demand for special orders which Bake Room welcomes with open arms because, at least with those, Wade knows exactly how much to produce.
When asked for the secret to his bread, Wade is modest in his reply. He downplays the importance of technique and talent (which he clearly has in spades) in favor of time and ingredients. “Bad bread is made quickly,” he points out, as he explains the importance of a long, slow fermentation process. That, coupled with stone ground and organic flour procured from local and regional mills, is key to his business model and something he wants to expand on even more in the future, eventually milling his own grain.
For now, though, Wade has his hands full just cranking out enough baguettes to meet current demand. “I can’t believe the response,” is something that he seems to say every time the subject comes around. For our part, however, we just can’t believe how good this bread is. See for yourself, but just make sure you get there early.