The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

On the Job: Baking up a bakery business

The+Midwife+and+the+Baker+bakery+sells+baked+goods+across+the+Bay+Area.
Clementine Cunningham
The Midwife and the Baker bakery sells baked goods across the Bay Area.

The aromas of bread waft around the bakery. It is 4 a.m., and Mac McConnell has just started his work day. Founder of the Midwife and the Baker bakery, McConnell loves spending every day surrounded by fresh pastries and loaves.

In the kitchen, grains are milled into a fine powder-like flour. The dough is kneaded until it is soft and fluffy. The ovens are fired up, and pastries are baked, ready for the day’s earliest customers. 

“I feel the best when I am on my feet, working, thinking through problems, and reformulating bread,” McConnell said. 

McConnell’s baking journey started in 2007 at the San Francisco Baking Institute. He was initially an engineer, but he felt that baking was a more fulfilling endeavor. After completing the Baking Institute’s entire baking program and working around a few bakeries, McConnell returned to teach there. Five years later, the Midwife and the Baker came to life. 

“I had been behind the scenes in a few professional bakeries. I was drawn to the machinery and the transformation process. I felt like people in the food industry were happier than those I was working around in the mechanical engineering world,” McConnell said.

In contrast with his previous jobs, McConnell especially appreciated the community that bakeries fostered. The connection he is now able to build with his bakery’s regular customers is one he values greatly.

I feel that a bakery is like the hub of a community where you bump into people. Even back in the 16th century, people would have brought their bread to the community oven. I guess I was just drawn to that, to being the jumping-off point for somebody’s day,

— Mac McConnell

“I feel that a bakery is like the hub of a community where you bump into people. Even back in the 16th century, people would have brought their bread to the community oven. I guess I was just drawn to that, to being the jumping-off point for somebody’s day,” McConnell said. 

The Midwife and the Baker bread is sold all across the Bay Area at cafes, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. McConnell has remarked that there is a tremendous sense of support amongst bakers around the Bay. 

“The chefs I have talked to mentioned the camaraderie between Bay Area bakers is unique. There is a kind of openness where everybody is helping each other out,” McConnell said. 

McConnell is also adamant about creating an economically supportive workplace for his employees. In the Bay Area, where the cost of living is high, he recognizes the importance of providing workers with wages that can thoroughly sustain them. 

“Many staff members started working for us while having two jobs. So I want the bakery to help people support their families, give them health care benefits, and good wages,” McConnell said. 

A typical day in his bakery is nonstop. The pastry team arrives at the crack of dawn, ready to make everything from croissants to cookies. Meanwhile, other staff members are busy baking bread. An evening shift arrives at 4 p.m., and drivers arrive at midnight to ship off the baked goods. Amid all this baking, McConnell makes sure the process goes smoothly. 

“I have told multiple people that once you finally start a business, the creation of the product itself needs to be almost second nature,” McConnell said. 

For him, the process of creating a loaf of bread is partly scientific. There is a formulaic aspect to baking: just enough water, just enough flour. 

I have a real appreciation of the physicality of the baking world. The transformation from raw flour to the final product is unique,

— Mac McConnell

“I have a real appreciation of the physicality of the baking world. The transformation from raw flour to the final product is unique,” McConnell said. 

This appreciation for the craft of baking has turned McConnell into a successful business owner. McConnell is always encouraged by the joy that bread brings to his customers. 

“There have been some times where watching bread being pulled out of a big oven when I was a part of the mix and the shape is a thrilling experience,” McConnell said. “It might be working a hotline and feeling some of that energy from a kitchen or being up at the wee hours of the morning watching pastries come out, and then you’re rejuvenated by all the excited customers.”

McConnell believes people should always follow their passion. A plethora of opportunities can let individuals explore their interests in baking. Even as a high school student, McConnell believes work experience can help you get your foot in the door. 

“Follow your passions. Bakeries and restaurants are always looking for eager people. We always joke that we’re looking for the next ‘bread nerd,’ somebody who is so geeked out and ready for all the nuts and bolts and baking,” McConnell said. 

The Midwife and the Baker products can be purchased at locations across the Bay. To find out more, visit: https://www.themidwifeandthebaker.com/where

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About the Contributor
Clementine Cunningham, Highlander Managing Editor
Clementine Cunningham (class of 2024) is a student at Carlmont High School, a staff writer for Scot Scoop, and a managing editor for The Highlander. She is passionate about covering a variety of topics that bring awareness to pressing issues in our ever-changing society. In her free time, you can find her dancing at Heartbeat Dance studio, obsessing over books, or testing out a new recipe. To view her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @clecunningham

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
On the Job: Baking up a bakery business