Open House Event: See How Our Bread is Made

Interested in expanding your baking knowledge while sampling some of Seattle’s finest baked goods? We are opening our kitchen doors to the public this Saturday! Join us on June 29, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at our SODO location for the Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA) Third Annual Open House.

“[We’re] inviting our customers to taste fresh, artisan breads, tour our labor-intensive baking facilities, and ask professionals those questions to help solve baking challenges at home,” says Macrina Founder and BBGA Board Member Leslie Mackie.

More than 50 bakeries across the United States and Canada are participating in this event, which was created by the BBGA as a way for communities to connect with their local bakeries. For us, the open house is also an accessible avenue for our community to experience the art and passion we put behind our products.

Comprised of industry professionals, educators, students, and home bakers from around the world, the BBGA formed in 1993 to shape the skills and knowledge of the baking community through education.

For more information, visit the BBGA website or call 206-623-0919.

Vanilla Sugar


Did you know that the same Vanilla Sugar swirled inside our Morning Roll can also be found on the condiment bar in all of our cafés?

In our early days, we received many customer requests for flavored syrups to go with our coffees, teas and lattes. Our Vanilla Sugar seemed like the obvious accoutrement as it is made with fine ingredients readily available in each of our bakeries and superbly compliments our beverages. We perfected the proportions of subtly spicy, Madagascar vanilla and granulated sugar to deliciously enrich the Caffè Umbria coffee we serve.

This delicate beverage addition became so popular that we decided to package it to sell in the cafés. Now, you can stock your pantry with our famed Vanilla Sugar to enjoy in your coffee or tea at home. And, like our Morning Roll, it’s a wonderful addition to baked goods too.

Meet the Artist: Jim Olson

Jim Olson Artwork

Some of the pieces available at our SODO location. Image courtesy of Jim Olson.

Jim Olson’s beautifully offbeat pieces on display in our SODO Café are tangible products of his rich imagination. Described as “hammered assemblages” by Narthex Gallery Curator Scott Ward, Jim’s work breathes new life into abandoned objects.

“I create art from salvaged material,” Jim explains. “Weathered wood and hammered metal create a rough, heavily textured style that is the signature feature of my work. Repurposing materials keeps them from ending up in the scrap heap. There was a day when you could freely roam the junkyard and take home whatever caught your eye.”

Now, Jim combs construction sites, millwork and metalwork shops as well as the occasional dumpster for treasures to repurpose into works of art. Hearing his fans describe the pleasure his work brings them fuels his passion and inspires his creativity. While art has not always been his trade, Jim’s inventive imagination and creative spirit came in handy in his former 42-year career as a salesman for a series of Wall Street firms.

“I used a technique called ‘Story Selling,’ which involves weaving a perceived interest of the prospective client around your product or service. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it bored a prospect to tears. The same is true of my art, a bond is created or it isn’t.”

His technique has certainly captured Seattle’s attention. Jim’s work will be on display at our SODO Café through the end of June. He will then show his pieces at The Elliott Bay Book Company in for the entire month of July. You can also find his work at NuBe Green in Capitol Hill.

Meet Our Family: Fanny Alvarado

Fanny Alvarado, our phenomenal wholesale manager, found her way into the Macrina family when life took an unexpected turn. Shortly after earning a degree in business administration in Mexico, she made the fateful decision to enroll in a United States cultural exchange program as an au pair in hopes of improving her English language skills before starting a career. She never intended to stay in America once the two-year program with her host family was complete, but she also did not expect to fall in love with Washington, Macrina Bakery, and the man she’d eventually marry. Recently celebrating her five-year anniversary with the company, Fanny is sharing about the early days, what she loves about her role, and where you can spot her around town.

Fanny Alvarado

You were an au pair before joining the Macrina family. What brought about your career and life shift?

Being an au pair was never my end goal. However, I am grateful to have been involved in a cultural exchange program as an au pair for it gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons. It also connected me with many wonderful people, some of whom were directly involved with Macrina and led to my start with the company and contributed to my desire of staying in this country to work for an artisan high-end bakery in Seattle.

What do you enjoy most about working as the wholesale manager?

I really enjoy the level of human interaction. Our company has been growing since I started and this makes it a very fast-paced and always evolving environment. Keeping up with the fast growth is what’s kept me challenged, and for me being challenged is what I enjoy the most. I like never having time to lose and always being on the go.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The day goes really fast, from touching base with the delivery as soon as [I] get in, making sure customers are being taking care of by our [customer service representatives], figuring out solutions to problems we have never had, and setting up procedures to improve the way we do things in general. Lots of planning and procedure setting.

What has been the highlight of the past five years?

It’s hard to say. The first year working here in 2008, the biggest highlight was that we moved to a bigger facility – from Belltown to SODO. After that just the fast growth is impressive: going from 11 drivers and six delivery vans to 20 drivers and 11 delivery vehicles.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Wow! I don’t know where to begin. I love the beauty found in nature; it draws me to do adventurous things – anything from big beautiful mountains, large green forest to lakes and rivers. There’s much around us to enjoy! I like the outdoors, hiking, camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, kayaking, and rafting.

What is your favorite thing about Macrina?

The diversity in… everything! The products, cultures, and flavors; this place has become part of me! The people I work with are great. Our people-oriented culture inspires me. The difference in our bread is that we don’t have machines making products, but instead they are hand-formed by our bakers. This gives an authenticity to our products, and it’s something I love about our bakery. Just as every person at Macrina is unique, so are our breads. The owners are amazing people. Nowadays, it’s hard to find employers that care this much for each member of the company and also care to do the right thing. This is one of the reasons why I love my job here.

A Classic Cookie for Father’s Day

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Our Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies are a holiday favorite and great for gifting. Crisp and flavorful, they come in a variety of styles to match each celebration, be it Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and even Father’s Day. Simple ingredients go into our melt-in-your-mouth cookies – flour, sugar and butter – making them the perfect base for any dessert. Adorned with crystal colored sugar for a playful treat or paired with roasted nectarines and vanilla bean ice cream for a decadent summertime dessert, these cookies are quite versatile.

We recently swapped the brightly colored sugars used on some of our shortbread cookies for locally sourced, naturally colored sparkling sugar from India Tree. Using concentrated colorants derived from edible plants instead of potentially harmful synthetic dyes, India Tree strives to provide the most wholesome sparkling sugars, gel pastes, and sanding sugars, and their subtle color perfectly suits our rustic party profile.

Just in time for Father’s Day, we will be at the Queen Anne Farmers Market on Thursday, June 13th, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., with our delicious Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies and decorations in tow to help you craft the perfect miniature masterpiece for Dad. Gift boxes, tags and ribbon will be provided to package your cookies. See you there!