Wild Crumb Artisan Bread & Pastries
Do you remember baking with mom when you were little? Hands clamped excitedly on the edge of the counter while you struggled to peer over at all the ingredients laid out in order of use according to the recipe. Joyously whipping everything together while mom supervised, often getting more batter on the countertop than in the bowl. With a faint mist of flour in the sunlight, mom would knead and expertly work the dough and somewhere between that and the oven, a flaky, delightful creation would emerge. While it tasted warm and perfect just out of the oven, there was one ingredient that you couldn’t really put your finger on. It was love. Everything made at home tasted better because mom baked it with love.
That’s the exact experience you will get at Wild Crumb.
This bakery, located on North Wallace, specializes in organic artisan breads and pastries, but also offers an insanely delicious selection of sweets and treats. While you might not be helping with the actual baking process, you will still be peering over their counter in excitement at the wondrous confections, pastries, and baked goods they create each day. It’s that same elation and joy of mom’s creations you will get when you sink your teeth into their lavender lemon shortbread or a huckleberry scone. It’s the same because it’s baked with love. But, while their menu offers many constant staples, they rotate lots of goodies based on season or simply desire, making every trip there a delightful exploration of food. I sat down with Lauren Heemstra, half of the twin-sister duo that powers Wild Crumb, on a sunny Wednesday afternoon to chat about the bakery and Bozeman. It was easy to tell from her smile and her genuine conversation that she was all about loving what she does.
CM: Give me the story of Wild Crumb. How did it come to be?
LH: Well, it started as me and my sister Caroline baking, doing what we loved. We did the farmer’s market thing and found an audience, a market for what we were creating. I got married and my sister and I were looking for something where we could have total creativity with what we were doing. That came from this space.
CM: And where did the name come from?
LH: It’s sort of a double play on words. In the baking world, it plays off the sourdough starter used for making sourdough bread, which is a baking classic. But, it also kind of refers to the wilds of Montana. This is a place where you can walk through the door, grab something to eat, and pack it off on your wild adventure. That’s what we’ve been working on since, oh, 2013. Gosh, wow, that’s four years. It does not seem that long!
CM: And you guys were also awarded Bozeman’s best & Bozeman’s Choice bakery again this year, right?
LH: Yup, that’s right!
CM: So, what made you want to get into the restaurant business?
LH: Well, I’ve always been super excited about food. All my life it’s been that way. I attended the California Culinary Arts Academy to further my learning and my passion. Then I found myself out in Montana working as a pastry chef up at Big Sky. It seemed like a natural progression then to move to Bozeman and bake here.
CM: Oh yes, that’s a very Bozeman story!
LH: Very Bozeman. Ha!
CM: Speaking of that, what do you love about being a part of Bozeman, both as a member of the community but also owning a restaurant here?
LH: It’s definitely the community. I just love seeing people come in wearing their Chacos, buying their favorite bread, and heading for the mountains. There’s such a local vibe here. It’s that local crowd that keeps us in business. They are so loyal and so good to us, too. Everyone is very friendly and they always seem to have good things to say. It makes what we do so much more fun. Sometimes, I’ll see people buy their bread, pull it out of the bag, and just bite the end off it right there in line. It’s like they can’t wait. I love seeing that happen!
CM: Really? That’s so great! So, what makes Wild Crumb unique?
LH: We try to do as much by scratch as we absolutely possibly can. We use local ingredients, local produce, that’s really a staple in our recipes. We hope that people really like our vibe. We want to be relaxed, warm, inviting. Our staff is so sweet, so sweet. And we always have local art hanging on the walls which you can come and check out while you eat. It kind of adds to the whole feel of the place: local supporting local. Plus, we’re all season. We’re cozy and warm in the winter, but we have outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sun and the breeze in the summer time. We try to offer a little something for everyone when it comes to atmosphere.
CM: Yeah, I love the outdoor patio space! Is that part of the experience here? What do you want people to experience?
LH: Well, I want it to be like they are walking into a candy store every time they come here. I hope that they can Oooo and Aaahh at everything we offer. I want them to have really good pastries, really good sandwiches, just really good food. Our goal is really to just make everyone happy.
CM: What would you say is the most popular item you guys serve here?
LH: On the bakery side, our danishes and scones would be our biggest sellers. It doesn’t really depend on flavor because people seem to love them all, but the huckleberry scone is a huge hit of course. We’ve got a pretty good lunch crowd that comes in here, too. I’d have to say the most popular sandwich is the Big Gatz. Our sandwiches are popular for that really active crowd because of the grab and go aspect. Our breads have always been a favorite, too, of course.
CM: Do you guys have any upcoming events of specials?
LH: This month the Emerson Center is hosting a Home & Garden Tour and we’re going to be a stop along the way. We’ll have iced tea and some other treats out for people to enjoy. That will be happening Friday and Saturday July 28 & 29.
After finishing my conversation with Lauren, I drove away feeling light and happy. It’s so easy to tell that she loves what she does and holds a special regard for Bozeman. With a person that kind and genuine baking your bread and offering you treats, you know the food is going to be out of this world.
Wild Crumb truly is a unique, local gem that we are lucky to have here in Bozeman. It just takes a quick trip over to their Facebook page to see how much people rave about them. And, you don’t get that kind of a following with just luck. They are the real deal. They make good food filled with love, breads and pastries that will leave you feeling warm and satisfied. If you’re looking for those treats like mama used to make, look no further than Wild Crumb.