Elevating Grains Bakery is getting set to reopen
April 19, 2023
The reopening of the bakery in Big Sandy is fast approaching. Emily LePinnet, who moved to Big Sandy last September with her family, will be opening "Elevated Grains." Right now, the goal is to open the first weekend in May. "I'll do all of the standard bakery fare. I've got a bunch of sourdough offerings, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, and croissants. As soon as I'm able to organize my daily plan to execute it, because I will be most working mostly on my own, I'd like to have a breakfast and a lunch special. So, I'll be doing soup, salad, and sandwich sorts of things, but in a limited quantity so that it's something that I can execute well, and still provide a valuable service."
I interviewed Emily on one of the days she was cleaning and prepping the space for the opening. She explained to me that she would be traveling to the western end of the state over the weekend to visit the coffee roasters who will be providing the beans for the shop. "I still have a lot to do. I actually am leaving this weekend to go to meet my coffee vendor for my beans. They roast them here in Montana, and I'm going to shadow for the day and get an idea of how they handle their products so that I can handle their product well and be a good representative of it. She's also hoping to pick up some espresso brewing tips along the way." Big Creek Coffee Roasters out of Hamilton, Montana will be roasting the beans that they will be using.
Elevated Grains will be emphasizing sourdough breads in their baked goods selection. Anyone who knows Emily through Facebook has been treated to regular photos of her sourdough loaves. "I will definitely be providing sourdough. I try to do a lot with sourdough, because it's the ancient approach to bread making. Everything is heavily processed to be preserved to last as long as possible these days, and that causes a lot of the nutrients to be stripped out. There's a lot of digestive enzymes and probiotics that naturally occur in the fermentation process of sourdough, and that makes it very gut friendly. The fermentation process for sourdough breaks down gluten in the dough, so it makes it easier to process. You don't have to sacrifice taste for good bread. I got into doing sourdough for my own health, and realized that it was a lot of work, but definitely worth it to not have to sacrifice flavor."
Emily will be bringing her lifelong love for cooking and baking to Elevated Grains and to the Big Sandy community. "I've been cooking and baking pretty much since I was five. I just always enjoyed working with food. I've worked in a lot of restaurants. I've worked in commercial kitchens and small kitchens and have just been cooking and baking for friends and loved ones for most of my life." She went on to explain that she grew up in a very rural area, surrounded by family. The entire extended family owned property in the area. In addition, everyone gardened, hunted, canned, and baked. She learned a lot about baking through her upbringing, but also spent time self teaching the various skills needed to bake and cook well.
Though she has experience as a small business owner and working in kitchens, this is the first time she will be opening a restaurant of her own. "This is my first restaurant business that I've owned. I've had other smaller businesses that I've run myself for the last decade or so, but not in food. I've worked with food, and I've worked small businesses. Now I'm putting them together... It has been a lifelong dream. I feel like God opens doors for reasons." She went on to explain that she felt like the community experienced a loss when The Black Granary closed. The community has a need for a place to sit, drink coffee, and visit. She felt that she could help fill that space. At the urging of a friend, she decided to take the leap and open her own bakery.
Regarding whether or not the town has a large enough population to support a bakery, she explained that she also has "a fairly large online community that has been waiting a very long time for me to have access to a commercial kitchen and all the certifications and licensure to be able to ship to them." She explained that the online customers interested in her bread and other bakery offerings will help supplement the income for the restaurant. She also intends to continue her telecommuting job during the slower times throughout the day. She has set up a small office on site and will work both jobs until she is certain the bakery will be self-supporting.
Emily explained that she is particularly excited to work in the community. "I'm just eager to continue being a part of this community. When we moved here, I was doing computer work from home. We're 12 miles outside of town, and I felt very disconnected, just because it is so far. I'd sit and work in front of a computer all day and run the kids to town and back. You feel like you're not really doing anything to be involved with anything or a part of anything."
Emily and Steve LePinnet moved to the area with their two children in September of last year, since Steve took a job working on the Bahnmiller farm. Their experience in our community has been positive. "We really like it here. We like that it is a close knit, intimate community." In particular, they appreciate the sense of close community in Big Sandy, especially when it comes to kids in the community. The family moved to Montana from the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York.