Macrina’s Core Value Winners

Macrina Bakery was born of a dream. Leslie Mackie wanted to build a vibrant community around her love of artisan breads. The early days in Belltown, back in 1993, were a whirl of activity and excitement. The crowds gathered, the bread earned a loyal following and garnered awards, and as demand mounted, we opened a wholesale business. Behind every success was a team of talented and hard-working individuals.

A few years ago, we sat down to find words for the values that drive us. We considered the many valuable contributions of our diverse team of bakers, pastry chefs, savory cooks, baristas, café staff and delivery drivers that make up Macrina. We identified five core values: Hard working, remaining positive, continuously improving, embracing diversity, and integrity in all we do. Then we established an annual award for each value.

Our 2020 core value winners lead by example, and their commitment to excellence is a big part of what makes Macrina Bakery shine.

Hard Working: Juan Carlos Machorro, Steward Lead
In this tough year, Juan Carlos has impressed everyone with his resolve to get the job done. Pandemic-related staff cuts made for a lean crew, and it seemed no challenge was too much for Juan Carlos. From fixing water meters for the baking department to snaking clogged floor drains, to washing dishes and taking out the garbage, Juan Carlos, sweat on his brow, works tirelessly behind the scenes to make everything work.

Remaining Positive: Josh Kull, Sodo Lead 
Whether interacting with a customer or a fellow worker, Josh is cheerful, kind and genuine. All of our core values could describe Josh, but his ability to remain positive, especially in the toughest situations, stands out. His positive attitude is infectious and inspires those around him, uplifting the entire staff.

Continuously Improving: Theo Ngo, Savory Department, Assistant Manager 
In 2018, Theo was promoted to assistant manager in our savory department because of his attention to detail and ability to step into any position in savory. To improve efficiency, he developed spreadsheets to capture weekly production numbers for our savory items. Theo’s attention to detail and his determination to continuously improve our ordering, inventory, and new product rollouts has made us better able to survive the many business challenges presented by Covid-19.

Embracing Diversity: Scott Romine, Human Resources, Assistant Manager
At Macrina Bakery, we employ people from many nations and diverse cultural backgrounds. Scotty’s job in human resources often puts him in the position of assessing someone’s ability to succeed in a particular job. Scotty values a diverse workplace. With respect for each applicant, Scotty takes the time to listen and answer questions and to carefully find someone with the attitude and skills needed for the job he is hiring for. Scotty’s work has brought more diversity to the Macrina crew.

Integrity in All We Do: Jennifer Truong, Wholesale Office, General Manager 
At our current scale of operations, ensuring integrity in all we do requires thorough attention to every detail. As the general manager of our wholesale office, Jen interacts with both customers and staff. She brings compassion and directness to the task. Her attentive management and the improvements she has made to our procedures and systems help keep the many parts of Macrina moving in harmony.

Cinnamon Rolls, Two Ways 

When Leslie Mackie opened Macrina in 1993, one of the most time consuming jobs was rolling out the laminated dough for pastries like our hazelnut pinwheels and morning rolls. Leslie considered using laminated dough for cinnamon rolls, but decided not to stress the pastry team more than it already was. Instead, she turned to the bread team for brioche dough.

“The brioche has all the same delicious rich ingredients as the laminated dough but in different proportions,” Leslie says. “I decided to go for a classic more traditional cinnamon roll, similar to my Grandmother Bakke’s homemade version, which leaned toward our brioche dough.”

In 2017, we opened our dream bakery in Kent for wholesale production. Finally, we had temperature-controlled spaces and room for a piece of equipment called a sheeter, which is used for laminated dough. With the new capacity, we launched our line of cornetti, the Italian version of the French croissant.

And now, a new cinnamon roll.

The buttery laminated dough is layered with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with cream cheese frosting. Leslie says, “They have this succulent texture and taste that sends you to the moon.”

Those of you who love our brioche cinnamon rolls need not worry—after more than 25 years of making them we are not going to stop. But you do have to choose: classic or ultimate. The difference is in the dough. The classic is more bread-like, the ultimate has the flaky texture of our cornetti. Both are filled with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with silky-smooth not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

You can buy the new cinnamon rolls individually in our cafés. The 6-pack Classic Cinnamon Roll Tray is also available in our cafés and at local retailers of Macrina products.

February Recipe of the Month: Salted Caramel Brownies

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we thought it was an excellent time to send out the recipe for this decadent treat. For chocolate lovers, there’s not much better than the densely-textured, fudgy taste of a brownie. These brownies marry sweet, salty and bitter better than nearly any dessert we’ve tried. Bitter ground coffee finds balance in the caramel, as does the semisweet chocolate in the sea salt. The caramel cream cheese may have you wondering just how many brownies are too many. The caramel sauce is simple to make, but Fran’s Caramel Sauce is an excellent substitution if you’re in a rush.

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Makes nine 3 x 3-inch brownies

BROWNIES
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground coffee
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup caramel sauce, room temperature
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp coarsely ground Himalayan or Hawaiian pink sea salt

Directions:

BROWNIES
Preheat oven to 325°F.

Line the base of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment. Brush the pan sides with canola oil and lightly dust with flour, so the brownies release easily.

Place a stainless steel bowl over a medium saucepan filled with 2 inches of boiling water to create a double boiler. Add the butter and unsweetened chocolate to the bowl. Melt until combined and remove from the heat. Add the sugars, coffee, salt and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until each is fully incorporated before adding another. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and semisweet chocolate chips until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out dry when the brownies are set.

Let cool for 30 minutes. Remove from pan.

CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the caramel sauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Cream until smooth and without any lumps.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with pink sea salt. Cut into 9 pieces. Enjoy!

Printable PDF here.
Printable caramel sauce PDF here.

Santo Coffee Co: High Design, Great Coffee 

Fredy Montero has made his name through excellence on the soccer pitch. A household name to anyone who owns a Seattle Sounders scarf, Montero is one of the most prolific goal scorers in MLS history. Lesser known, but equally devoted to excellence, is Santo Coffee, Montero’s sleek coffee shop located in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood that opened in August of 2019.

The welcoming space—floor to ceiling windows, gorgeous Victoria Arduino espresso machines, elegant modern furniture, polished concrete floors, a window-side bar made from a long “ribbon” of solid wood, plush green vintage couches—is the product of a vision shared by co-owners Montero and his wife Alexis and Mikhail (Mike) and Jessica Ghyvoronsky.

The stunning space transports you, somewhere dreamy, an international destination that’s hard to pin down.

“I’m originally from Russia, Jessica was born in Korea, Fredy grew up in Colombia and he and Alexa lived abroad for years,” says Mike, who can usually be found behind the counter. “We wanted to take inspiration and experiences we had in other countries and other coffee cultures and bring them here.”

Working with a local architect, they collaborated to dream into reality the kind of space they’d love to bring their family and friends to.

Santo Blend, their coffee, is a locally-roasted blend of Colombian single-origin varietals. The well-balanced coffee has a bright, lively flavor and is excellent both brewed and as espresso. It is available in whole bean form and elegantly crafted espresso drinks and pour-overs.

“Because of Covid, we’re only doing takeout right now, but we still have many customers who come every day for their coffee and a Macrina Nutella Brioche, coffee cake, or another favorite Macrina pastry,” says Mike.

For a café built to inspire people to gather around excellent coffee in an elevated space, the Covid-19 restrictions have been hard. Still, they’re taking it in stride and look forward to the day the café will again be made vibrant by people who share their passion for coffee and community.

With vaccinations underway, there’s at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. In the meanwhile, stop in, check out the digs, let Mike make you a great coffee, grab a pastry, a bag of beans, maybe a Santo crew, tee-shirt, or hat, and begin to plan future coffee dates.

“We wanted the space to be one that people felt inspired in and would take some part of that into their own life,” says Mike. “We can’t wait to see people able to gather here again.”

Photo credits: Andrew Story, John Hong

December Recipe of the Month: Babka French Toast

We make our Chocolate Babka just a few times a year: Rosh Hashanah, Christmas and New Year’s. The loaf is rich like brioche bread, with an added swirl of chocolate glaze and roasted pecans. It’s delicious simply toasted with butter, but for a special brunch, use it as a base for French toast and serve it with your favorite breakfast sausage, raspberries and sweetened whipped cream!

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 loaf Macrina Chocolate Pecan Babka
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
3 eggs
2½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

Remove the Chocolate Pecan Babka from its paper mold. Cut into 8 even slices. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whipping cream, granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whip for 2 to 3 minutes to form medium peaks and cool in the refrigerator until needed.

Make the custard: In a medium bowl, add the eggs, milk, brown sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Submerge the sliced bread into the custard and soak for 1 minute, flipping them half way through so both sides are evenly coated. Place soaked slices on a plate and set aside.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to coat the base of the pan. When the pan is hot (but not smoking), carefully transfer the soaked bread to the pan, fitting as many in as you can without crowding. Sauté for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip to cook evenly on both sides. Repeat this process until all 8 slices are cooked.

Place 2 slices on each plate. Cut each slice on the bias and fan the four pieces across the plate. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a dusting of sifted powdered sugar. If you choose, serve with warm maple syrup (it’s divine). Enjoy!

Printable PDF here.

Macrina’s New Take & Bake Lasagna and Garlic Bread

Dating back to Roman times, lasagna is the best-known baked Italian pasta. A great many variations exist, from the heavy cheese bomb of the college cafeteria to versions with béchamel in place of mozzarella.

We developed a Neapolitan-style lasagna with a distinctive Macrina flair. With the fall and winter nights in mind, we focused on the classic comfort casserole of thin lasagna noodles, an Italian sausage ragù, mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan and fresh herbs. Macrina bread crumbs thicken the sauce. Our secret ingredient is time: a long-simmered sauce so the meat tenderizes and the flavors meld, and the laborious process of carefully layering all the elements.

Because we’ve done the work, your job is simple: Pop it in the oven for an hour and eat.

And since a classic lasagna isn’t the same without a savory loaf of garlic bread with which to mop up the sauce, we’ve got that too. We spread our batard loaf liberally with our made-in-house garlic butter and topped with parmesan and herbs. All you need to do is bake it with the lasagna for the last ten to fifteen minutes until the cheese is golden at the edges, and they’ll both emerge ready to eat at the same time. (Or get a second to enjoy as an appetizer.)

Throw a salad together, open a full-bodied red wine, and mangia!

November Recipe of the Month – Ricotta Gnocchi with Kale & Walnuts

Ricotta gnocchi are just as Italian as their potato cousins, but they’re easier to make, lighter and melt in your mouth. Making perfect gnocchi takes a little practice, but even imperfectly shaped, they boil into delicate, fluffy pillows. The kale and garlic sauce with Parmesan, cream and roasted walnuts is full of flavor and textures that contrast nicely with the almost ethereal ricotta gnocchi. We use corn in this recipe, but it’s endlessly adaptable to the season. Try fresh tomato in the summer or roasted delicata squash in the winter. We designed the recipe as a first course, but it’s wonderful as an entrée.

– Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 5 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée

1 cup ricotta, part-skim, drained overnight in cheesecloth
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp semolina flour
½ cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1¼ cups walnuts, divided
20 leaves of kale (approx. 10 cups when chopped)
2½ cups corn, or seasonal vegetable (cut into ½-inch cubes)
3 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped, divided
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups heavy cream
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place ricotta, lemon zest, salt and egg in a medium bowl. Whisk until blended. In a separate bowl, combine semolina and all-purpose flours. Sprinkle a quarter of the flour blend over the ricotta mix and use a spoon to incorporate. Add the remaining flour in 3 increments. As the mixture begins to resemble a dough, transfer it to a clean cutting board and gently knead into a ball. When the dough ball holds its shape, let it rest for 3 minutes.

Place ricotta, lemon zest, salt and egg in a medium bowl. Whisk until blended. In a separate bowl, combine semolina and all-purpose flours. Sprinkle a quarter of the flour blend over the ricotta mix and use a spoon to incorporate. Add the remaining flour in 3 increments. As the mixture begins to resemble a dough, transfer it to a clean cutting board and gently knead into a ball. When the dough ball holds its shape, let it rest for 3 minutes.
Set the ball on a floured surface and cut it in half. Roll each half into a 1-inch by 18-inch log. Dust the surface with additional flour if the dough is sticking. Cut each log into ½-inch pieces. Dust your knife with flour if it sticks when you cut.

Using a fork, slightly flatten the gnocchi, leaving little ridges. For a rustic look, gently fold the top over onto itself. Don’t stress about making your gnocchi look perfect. They will puff when boiled. The most important thing is a uniform size. Place the formed gnocchi on a rimmed baking sheet, spaced so they’re not touching. (If preparing gnocchi in advance, freeze gnocchi on the baking sheet, then store them frozen in a zip lock bag. You can boil them straight from the freezer.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 5 to 8 minutes until golden brown. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Clean kale and trim excess stems. Stack the leaves into a pile, fold in half and cut into ½-inch segments. Set aside.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add ¼ cup olive oil. Add the kale and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. When wilted, add the corn and cook for another 2 minutes. Add 5 tsp of garlic and sauté until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the warm vegetables between 5 plates.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi to boiling water and reduce heat slightly to a slow boil. Once the gnocchi rise to the surface (2 to 3 minutes), turn off the heat and allow them to cook for another 2 minutes. Don’t overcook.

While the gnocchi cook, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the sauté pan. Increase heat to medium and add shallots. Sauté for 1 minute, then toss in remaining garlic and cook for another minute. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by three-fourths, then add the cream and 1 cup of walnuts. Let simmer for 2 minutes, then add Parmesan cheese and stir until it melts into the cream.

Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked gnocchi and swirl to coat in the sauce. (If the sauce is too thick, add a touch of the salted gnocchi water to thin). Add salt and pepper if needed. Dish gnocchi over the vegetables. Garnish with the remaining chopped walnuts and fresh thyme.

Enjoy!

New Flavor Alert: The Everything Bagel 

In May, after years of development, we introduced Macrina’s Organic MadRy Sourdough Bagels to great acclaim. Now, to the four original flavors—Plain, Sesame, Poppy, Sea Salt—we’re adding the Everything Bagel. We coat our Everything Bagel, top and bottom, with a mix of white and black sesame seeds, blue poppy seeds, salt, fresh garlic and onion. Most producers use dehydrated onion and garlic flakes, but we were determined to use fresh ingredients.

 “We had a tough time initially with the chopped garlic burning, but after much trial and error came up with a great result,” says Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder.

“The well-balanced taste of garlic and onion melds nicely and doesn’t overpower the flavor from the seeds and sourdough,” says Blake Gehringer, Macrina’s Production Manager.

Our MadRy Organic Sourdough Bagels are hand-rolled, given a slow, cool 24-hour ferment, and have just a hint of rye, which adds to their depth of flavor. The caramelized crust has a glossy sheen and the airy interior has a tight, springy crumb that balances the mild tang of sourdough with just enough malty sweetness.

All of our ingredients come from the PNW:

•      The organic high-protein flour comes from just north of the border.

•      The organic barley malt powder comes from Skagit Valley Malting.

•      The organic rye flour comes from Fairhaven Mill in nearby Burlington.

We start with a significant percentage of organic sourdough starter and a smidge of yeast. After an initial rise, we handroll the bagels and give them a full day’s cool ferment. The depth of flavor you’ll taste in these bagels comes from the natural leavening and that hint of rye.  The whiff of sourdough you get when you tear one open comes from the starter. We were careful not to let the flavor dominate but wanted it to be distinctive. “It should make sense when you taste the bagel that the name has sourdough in it,” says Scott France, Macrina’s President and Co-owner, and the driving force behind these bagels. “But if you tasted the bagel without knowing the name, someone intimately familiar with sourdoughs would recognize it, but if you didn’t, you might wonder just what that mild tang was.”

The bagels are available individually or as four-packs.

Plum Bistro: Redefining Vegan Food 

Makini Howell makes incredible plant-based food. For her, eating vegan comes naturally. Not only was she raised in a vegan family, but her family has been in the food business for over 40 years. “It was my mom that started our company,” Makini says. “She still has a restaurant in Tacoma, and my sister actually makes the cookies for Plum.”

Plum Bistro, on 12th Avenue on Seattle’s Capitol Hill in the lively Pike/Pine corridor, is an airy, contemporary space. In pre-Covid times, first-rate servers delivered beautiful plates of food to a bustling room of diners. A glance at a stylishly arranged plate of Makini’s seared spiced tofu with fried avocado, greens, chile powder, and black bean puree, and you might think it was topped with a piece of grilled halibut. But Makini isn’t trying to replace animal proteins in any way. In the introduction to her cookbook she says, “I’m really not trying to replace anything because I don’t feel…like I’m missing anything. I’m just using other sources of protein.”

This approach has won her legions of fans in Seattle and beyond—in 2019, The New York Times recognized her as one of 16 Black chefs changing food in America. Her creative, healthy approach to food and consistently beautiful dishes have led to a steadily growing vegan food empire in Seattle.

Of course, for now, Covid has forced some closures. “We’ve had to close down our Sugar Plum, our food truck, and our Seattle Center store,” Makini says.

Fortunately, Plum Bistro and Plum Chopped (a fast-casual walkup counter next to Plum Bistro featuring hearty salads) are open for dining and takeout, with dining capacity at 50 percent. “We do a lot of family meals now, they’re affordable and conscious of the fact that a lot of people are out of work,” Makini says.

For health reasons or environmental ones, a growing number of people have started eating plant-based diets. Makini, who can make carnivores forget there’s no meat in the food, has been a significant influence. And despite the many accolades she’s received, and the many loyal fans she has throughout the city, she continues to challenge herself in the kitchen. In the introduction to her cookbook, she explains, “This idea of changing the way you taste pushes us to experiment and recraft, to look at our dishes from outside the box and try to make them even tastier, more indulgent, and more vibrant.”

Drop into Plum Bistro or Plum Chopped, or order takeout. They need your support to get through this unprecedented challenge, and our

October Recipe of the Month – Autumn Roast Chicken with Quince & Apple Cider

The aroma of roasting chicken with the deliciously fragrant, pear apple smell of baking quince will warm your heart on a crisp, fall evening. The combination of allspice, cinnamon and chimichurri spice with the fruitiness of the apple cider adds complexity to the caramelized onions, carrots and quince. The pan drippings make the perfect au jus sauce. I recommend serving this autumnal dinner with basmati rice and a kale Caesar salad!

– Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

Marinade:
1½ cups unfiltered apple cider
¼ cup white wine
2 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground allspice
1½ tsp ground chimichurri spice

Roast Chicken:
2 lbs organic chicken, back removed and cut into 8 pieces
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half and then in 1-inch wedges
3 quinces, core removed and cut into ½-inch slices*
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

*Cutting raw quince is difficult. A quince resembles an apple, but it’s much firmer. Using a sharp chef’s knife, I make the first cut straight down, just to the side of the core. Then I turn the cut side down and repeat until I’m left with a 1½-inch square (the core). I then cut the pieces into ½-inch slices. They will oxidize and brown, so tossing them with the marinade soon a er they are cut will help prevent that. However, they brown as they cook, so a little oxidation won’t show.

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider, white wine, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, cinnamon, allspice and chimichurri spice. Warm over medium heat for 3 minutes and let cool. Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade to later toss with the onion, quince and carrot.

Place the cut chicken pieces into a medium bowl and cover with the cooled marinade. Press the chicken pieces down until they are all submerged. Cover with plastic and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. In a separate bowl, toss the reserved marinade with the onion wedges, quince and carrots. Refrigerate until ready to roast the chicken.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare a large baking dish (a 13 x 9-inch lasagna pan works well) by brushing the sides and bottom with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

Place the chicken into the pan, skin side up in a single layer. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the marinated vegetables and toss, then add them to the baking dish, tucking them in gaps to create a single layer for even cooking and browning. Pour any remaining marinade over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is browned and cooked to your liking (chicken should reach 165°F).

Remove dish from oven and transfer the chicken and the caramelized vegetables to your serving dish. Pour the juices remaining in the pan over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley.

Printable PDF here.