Edible Bozeman

The Communal Philosophy of Good Bread

It’s 9:07am and the morning’s croissants have just sold out. There are still sourdough boules waiting to slide into the oven and macaroons to mix.

But for Head Baker Sean Tillotson of the Livingston Community Bakery and his focused team of five talents, the day’s momentum is rolling. In more ways than one.

In just a little over a year, the town of Livingston has strongly embraced this tiny, humble bakery for its variety of artisan breads and pastries. In return, the bakery has returned a healthy offering of its own.

“We’re building a model bakery here,” says Director Michael McCormick of the Livingston Food Resource Center, which runs the bakery. “One that can leverage a leadership role in the community to help drive real improvement and expand opportunity for all people. Th at’s the mission.”

Originally developed to supplement the nonprofit LFRC with its own supply of nutritious bread for those in need of food assistance, the bakery is now supercharging that effort beyond expectation by supplying whole-wheat bread to other Montana food pantries at no cost. At the same time, proceeds from artisan bread and pastry sales support local pantry programing and public interest is picking up.

One big reason might be the quality of what comes out of the ovens: Egg-rich brioche. Seeded baguettes. Rustic cherry pecan rye. Dense German vollkornbrot. Italian pane Siciliano. And the ever-popular sourdough. Plus mammoth cookies, cakes, and scones. All locally sourced. All crafted perfectly imperfect by hand.

“It’s the details that matter. My satisfaction comes from just making good bread,” says Tillotson, who brought his serious bread smarts from bakeries in New Orleans, Idaho, and Montana and is currently inspiring others to develop their own craft.

By no surprise, the bakery is expanding its current 2nd Street location to meet the growing demands, nearly doubling the bakery space. Meanwhile, the oven vents remain open above the store entrance so that Livingston residents can enjoy the smell of fresh bread baking.

As windy as the city is, the word may spread even faster.

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