DanceChance: Expanding Access to Ballet

Macrina is a Proud Supporter of DanceChance.

In 1994, Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) launched DanceChance, a program aimed at discovering ballet talent in Seattle’s public schools. Nearly three decades later, the initiative has impacted over 1,400 students across 20+ schools. Each fall, PNB educators visit third-grade classrooms, offering interactive dance sessions that serve as many students’ first exposure to ballet.

Selected students, showing promise in attributes like flexibility and focus, are invited to train at PNB School for free, including transportation and attire. The program not only democratizes access to ballet but also instills valuable life skills such as teamwork and perseverance.

DanceChance has produced professional dancers, including current PNB members Kuu Sakuragi and Joh Morrill. Others have joined renowned dance companies worldwide.

At Macrina Bakery, we’re proud to support DanceChance, a program that brings joy and opportunities to deserving young talents.

Employee Recipe Series: Leslie Mackie’s Brioche Bread Pudding

We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary by sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes using Macrina Bakery products.

As we all know, many of the best things in life are unplanned. This delightful creation was serendipitously born when Leslie Mackie, the founder of Macrina Bakery, found herself with a leftover loaf of our Columba Pasquale — a brioche-like Easter bread enriched with brandy, interspersed with candied orange peel, and topped with sliced almonds — and a bag of fresh Bing cherries, just in time for a Mother’s Day brunch.

“It was one of the best bread puddings I’ve ever made,” she says. “Columba Pasquale has a great texture for bread pudding, and the sliced almonds, candied orange peel, and brandy in the bread were great with the tart cherries.”

Since we only bake Columba Pasquale for Easter, Leslie adapted the recipe to our Brioche loaf, which is available throughout the year. (Challah is another delicious alternative.)

This recipe calls for fresh cherries, but you can also use dried cherries. Just reduce the amount to ¾ cup and soak them in warm water for 10 minutes to rehydrate before adding them to the bread.

Leslie’s Brioche Bread Pudding Recipe

Use one 10-inch Pie Pan; Serves 6


1 loaf of Macrina’s Brioche bread
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup Bing cherries, halved and pitted
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups whole milk
3 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp brandy
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp candied orange peel, diced
⅓ cup sliced almonds


Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Cut ⅓ off the Brioche loaf and reserve for another use. Remove crusts from the remainder then cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Cut each slice in half to create “tiles” (roughly 2-inches by 4-inches).

Place the sliced bread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the bread pieces, then toast for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove the toasted bread from the oven and let it cool slightly. Brush both sides of the bread with melted butter (reserve a little bit to brush your baking dish to prevent sticking).

While the bread is toasting and cooling, pit and halve your fresh cherries. Toss them in 1½ Tbsp of sugar and let them sit for about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream, milk, eggs, remaining sugar, brandy, and vanilla extract. Whisk well and set aside.

Brush a 10-inch pie dish with some of the remaining melted butter.

Arrange the toasted and buttered brioche “tiles” in the pie dish in a rosette format. Start by forming a circle with the “tiles” along the edge of the dish, then continue to arrange them in smaller, concentric circles, moving towards the center of the dish. Cut half-sized “tiles” for the center of the rose. Layer in the candied orange peel and sliced almonds. Scatter the sugared cherries evenly over the bread.

Pour the cream mixture over the bread and cherries, ensuring all the bread is soaked. Press down lightly with a spatula to make sure all the bread is in contact with the liquid. Let it sit for about 10–15 minutes so the bread can absorb the custard mixture.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place it into a larger pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the pie dish to create a water bath.

Bake the pudding for 50–60 minutes, or until the custard is set.

Remove the foil and bake for another 15–20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean.

Serve warm.

Classic Ricotta Tart

Having lived in the North End of Boston for three years, I had the pleasure of frequenting some of the best Italian bakeries — the inspiration behind this tart. This rendition is adapted from a beloved recipe in our first cookbook. The Italian pasta frolla dough is versatile and straightforward to make. You’ll find yourself dreaming up other rustic tarts that it would serve well. My favorite filling combines rich ricotta cheese, dried cranberries, hazelnuts and bittersweet chocolate chips. However, feel free to swap out the dried fruit and nuts as whimsy or inspiration strikes. Fresh berries and a glass of Vin Santo make the perfect accompaniments to this lovely Italian tart.
-Leslie Mackie

Printable PDF of this recipe here.
Makes one 7-inch tart; serves 6

2½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground anise
10 Tbsp (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp heavy cream

⅓ cup dried cranberries
2 cups seasonal berries
3¾ cup whole milk ricotta
½ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unbleached all-purposed flour
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
4 egg yolks
¼ cup hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely ground
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp unbleached all-purposed flour
1 egg + 1 tsp watter for egg wash
2 Tbsp raw sugar (Turbinado)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the ground anise and mix until well combined. Place bowl on mixer, and fit with the paddle attachment. On low speed, gradually add the butter cubes. Continue mixing until the texture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and heavy cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough onto a clean surface. Divide it into two portions: one larger and the other about a third of the size. Shape each portion into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger dough disk into an 11-inch circle with a thickness of ⅛-inch. Carefully transfer it to a 7-inch x 1½-inch cake pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides. Ensure there’s a ½-inch overhang around the top edges of the pan.

Roll out the smaller dough disk into a 7-inch circle, also with a thickness of ⅛-inch. Cut two 2-inch vents in this top layer of dough. Set the dough-lined cake pan aside as you make the filling.

Rinse the dried cranberries under water to rehydrate them. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest. This can be mixed by hand or using a stand mixer until combined well.

Gradually add the egg yolks, ensuring each yolk is fully incorporated before adding the next. Gently fold in the rehydrated cranberries, ground hazelnuts, and chocolate chips, making sure they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make the egg wash.

Transfer the filling into the dough-lined cake pan, smoothing the top to ensure it’s level. Top the filling with the 7-inch pasta frolla circle. Brush the perimeter of the top dough with egg wash. Fold the ½-inch overhang from the base dough over the top dough, pressing gently to seal the tart.

Brush the entire top of the tart with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. If you have excess dough, you can roll it out and cut decorative roses or other designs and place them on top of tart.

Refrigerate the assembled tart for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the tart for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the crust turns a golden brown and the filling is set.

Allow the tart to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy with fresh berries and a glass of Vin Santo!

Employee Recipe Series: Sergio Castaneda’s Vollkorn Grilled Cheese

We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary by sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes using Macrina Bakery products.

On a pleasant late spring weekend in South Seattle, Sergio Castaneda and his family gather around the dining table to savor a homemade lunch. As the tantalizing aroma of grilled cheese and tomato soup permeates the room, laughter and engaging conversation become the soundtrack to this delightful meal. Sergio’s Vollkorn grilled cheese, a family favorite, showcases the versatility of Macrina Bakery’s bread.Sergio, our Production Manager at Macrina Bakery and a part of the Leadership Team, began his journey as a driver in 2002. His unwavering dedication and passion for the business led him to climb the ranks, ultimately assuming responsibility for overseeing an extensive team of drivers and packers. With a strong background in food, including experience as a pastry chef, Sergio possesses a wide range of expertise, from dough mixing and baking to customer service. An effective leader, Sergio actively contributes to Macrina’s success by diligently working to enhance his team’s performance and fostering a positive, inclusive work environment.The Vollkorn loaf, a German-style, nine-grain bread, serves as the ideal foundation for Sergio’s delectable grilled cheese. This moist and hearty loaf blends a six-grain cereal with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, creating a delightful crunch. Organic rye and a beer starter provide a pleasantly sour flavor, while honey and molasses lend a complex caramel sweetness. The result is a multipurpose bread that harmonizes with an array of ingredients.Sergio explains, “It is a very simple recipe. What makes it special is the way the light sweetness of the bread, the slight nuttiness of the Gouda, and the creamy mozzarella come together.” He slices the Vollkorn loaf at an angle to increase the surface area, then layers Gouda and fresh mozzarella cheese on the bread. After buttering the exterior sides, he grills the sandwich on a panini press. “In just a few minutes, you have crisp, caramelized bread filled with gooey cheese.”

Sergio’s Vollkorn grilled cheese can be savored on its own as a scrumptious snack or coupled with a steaming bowl of soup for a comforting meal. The nutritious of Macrina Bakery’s Vollkorn loaf elevate this classic dish, making it a cherished favorite in the Castaneda household.

In a world where shared meals create lasting connections, Sergio Castaneda’s passion for food, his love for Macrina Bakery’s bread, and his devotion to his family serve as heartwarming reminders of the significance of quality ingredients and the joy of gathering with loved ones around a table. As the Castaneda family relishes their weekend lunch, it’s evident that life’s simple pleasures are often the most meaningful —  and in this instance, the most delicious.Find recipes like BBQ Chicken Sliders and Summer Panzanella Salad that use Macrina breads and more in our Seasons Cookbook.

Cupcake Giveaway at All Cafes and Fun Events for Kids of All Ages at our New Maple Leaf Café

Our Official 30th Anniversary is Nearly Here!

Mark your calendars for Sunday, August 27 — our official 30th anniversary! To show our gratitude for the support that’s fueled our journey from a single bakery and café in Belltown to our sixth café recently opened in the Maple Leaf neighborhood, we’re giving away our Mini Confetti Cupcake at all Macrina locations on Sunday, August 27 while supplies last. 

But that’s not all! We’re hosting two fun events for kids of all ages that same weekend.

On Saturday, August 26 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., bring your kids and set their creativity free with cupcake decorating at the sidewalk tables outside our new Maple Leaf Café. We’ll have all the essentials: cupcakes, frosting, sprinkles and more.





And on our big day, Sunday, August 27, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., we’ll do the same thing with cookies.

Come join in the fun and celebrate with us!

Employee Recipe Series: Scott France–Summer Evenings at the Grill

We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary by sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes using Macrina Bakery products.

On the edge of a languid summer night, the world bathed in a dusky glow, Scott France’s back deck comes alive. In the golden half-light of evening, Scott stands at the grill, tongs in hand, turning thick slices of grill-marked bread ensuring the char is just right. Friends and loved ones gather, their laughter and conversation melding with the scent of sizzling flank steak and grilled vegetables.

These evenings begin with Scott selecting a loaf of Casera and a loaf of Organic Sour White from the bakery at the end of the workday, the anticipation of sharing food and stories with his family and neighbors already on his mind. The process is simple: fire up the grill, marinate the steak, prepare the foil pouches of cauliflower and broccoli, and brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil and salt. “It’s super simple, super quick, and unbelievably delicious,” Scott says, a routine he repeats throughout the summer months.

As president and part-owner of Macrina, Scott is dedicated to providing the finest artisan breads and pastries to the Puget Sound region. With over 250 employees and a reputation as one of the country’s best bakeries, the challenge invigorates him. “Our mission is to enrich our communities through the joy of artisan baking,” he says, and with the new Maple Leaf Café, Scott is excited to bring Macrina to even more people. “We’ve been so excited to open our first café since 2018, and to provide opportunities for the wonderful people who work at Macrina.”

Casera and Sour White were the first two loaves Leslie created 30 years ago when she first opened Macrina’s doors in Belltown. Casera, inspired by the famed Poilâne bakery in Paris, took nearly a year of experimentation with a natural bread starter made from champagne grapes. The result: a coarse-textured loaf with a thick, caramelized crust that is perfect for the grill. The Sour White, on the other hand, boasts a tangy, open crumb and a sturdy crust, with its nutty, sour flavor derived from a wild starter Leslie created in 1993.

As evening deepens, the warm glow of camaraderie fills the air. Plates piled high with grilled meat, bread, and vegetables circulate. “There’s definitely beer involved, too,” says Scott. Specifically, growlers from Georgetown Brewery. The worries of the day pass as the world narrows to this communion of friends savoring the moment and the pleasure of togetherness. Tomorrow will come, but for now, the simple joy of a shared meal lingers long into the summer night.

In a Uganda Refugee Camp, Baking Bread to Heal and Feed

Macrina is donating all net proceeds from sales of our 30th Anniversary Confetti Cupcakes from August 14 – 26 to the ADAM Foundation and Bakery. Our Confetti Cupcakes are a tender butter cake filled with a dollop of huckleberry compote and topped with vanilla buttercream and funfetti sequins.

“I am happy now that I spend most of my days baking, and my nights are peaceful,” said Kareem, an eighteen-year-old refugee who lost his family to violence in Congo. Located near the Oruchinga Settlement Camp in southwest Uganda, the ADAMÂ Bakery serves over 9,000 refugees from East Africa. Jeffrey Hamelman and Mitch Stamm were brought in to train the bakers, a connection that inspired Macrina’s annual support. 

“When the refugees arrive, they are given four eucalyptus poles and a tarp,” says Jeffrey. Mitch adds, “They’ve been stripped of everything except their dignity.” 

With limited equipment, the bakery daily welcomes twenty-four bakers. These bakers not only earn but also distribute a portion of the day’s bread to the camp’s children. “Three-fourths of the bakers are women,” notes Jeffrey. Under the management of Angella Kushemererwa and Sophie Karungi, the bakery ensures that bread reaches the needy children daily. “Handing out the bread is an act of the utmost elation when you see the joy on the faces of the children who get the buns,” Jeffrey emphasizes, but the supply often falls short. 

The goal for the bakery is to become self-sustaining eventually, but for now, keeping it open costs about $5,000 per month. Construction is underway for an adjacent store to sell the bakery’s products, putting it on track to become a self-sustaining business. They’ve also nearly finished construction of a new kitchen and now have running water. 

“We know the needs are endless, but even small contributions benefit a large number of people,” says Scott France, president and co-owner of Macrina Bakery. “We made a significant contribution last year and we hope to top that this year. The money goes directly to the bakery and it makes an incredible impact on the bakers’ lives.” 

Jeffrey adds, “Some people might say you’re training 24 people…this is just wonderful,” but he acknowledges the bigger picture. Reflecting on the impact, he says, “You can tell half our heart is in Uganda. We know that we’ve changed their lives. They don’t know to what extent they’ve changed ours.” 

Order Confetti Cupcakes here and support this wonderful organization!

Peach and Summer Berry Tart

Late summer in the PNW is peak peach and berry season. It’s a joy to harness these seasonal gems in a simple yet delightful tart. The rough puff pastry creates a light, flaky crust that’s an excellent match for the vanilla pastry cream and, of course, the ripe, succulent fruit. Though I often turn to peaches and blackberries for this recipe, feel free to adapt it to the ripest stone fruit and berries you can find — be it plums, nectarines, blueberries or raspberries.
-Leslie Mackie
Printable PDF of this recipe here. 
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1¼ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cold water, divided
1 egg
Powdered sugar for dusting

4 medium peaches or nectarines*
2 cups seasonal berries
Powdered sugar for dusting
¼ cup warm apricot jam or honey

*Note: I prefer to blanch peaches to remove the skin, but this isn’t necessary with nectarines or other stone fruits.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the yolks and whisk to ensure all lumps are dissolved.

Place milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and gradually ladle the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously.

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and return to medium heat. Gently warm the pastry cream while whisking for about 3 minutes until it thickens. Be careful to not let it boil to avoid scalding or scrambling the mixture.

Remove from the heat and strain into a metal bowl to remove any lumps. Stir in the vanilla and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent the cream from discoloring while cooling. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

Cut butter into ⅛-inch slices and keep chilled. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt using the paddle attachment. Add the thin slices of butter and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes or until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add 2 Tbsp of water all at once and combine until absorbed, about 30 seconds.

Form the dough into a 4-inch x 5-inch rectangle on a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap it up, and chill for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare an egg wash by whisking together the egg and remaining 1 tsp of water. Set aside.

On a floured work surface, roll out dough to make a 12-inch x 7-inch rectangle, approximately ⅛-inch thick.

Along the border of the pastry, cut off a ½-inch strip of dough, brush with egg wash and stack around the perimeter of the crust to create a raised edge. Brush the top of the raised edge with egg wash. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough’s center to prevent air pockets from forming when baking. Chill for another 15 minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown in color. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut stone fruit in ¼-inch slices and set aside.

Dust the pastry shell with powdered sugar, then scoop the chilled pastry cream into the shell and smooth it out evenly.

Arrange the sliced stone fruit decoratively over the pastry cream. Place the berries at the seams for a beautiful presentation. Brush the top with warm apricot jam or honey for a shiny surface.

Serve immediately or refrigerate the tart up to four hours before serving. Enjoy!

Employee Recipe Series: Scott Romine’s Chopped Cheese

We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary by sharing some of our staff’s favorite recipes using Macrina Bakery products.

“I took a trip to New York City about a year ago with a buddy to see one of our favorite childhood bands that broke up when I was young and recently got back together. Our lunch each day was either an Italian sandwich or a chopped cheese from different bodegas around the city,” recalls Scott Romine, Human Resources General Manager at Macrina Bakery. This New York bodega staple left an indelible mark on Scott, inspiring him to recreate it at home in Seattle. “Our Ciabatta Bun is airy with a delicate crust but holds up to the filling,” says Scott.

The Chopped Cheese sandwich, for quite some time, maintained a subtle yet fervent following, adored by those who’d savored it in neighborhood bodegas since childhood, yet still a hidden gem to countless others  — earning itself a cult-like status in certain circles. The origin of this blend of ground beef, onions, and cheese on a hero roll can be traced back to the late Carlos Soto, a grill master at Harlem’s Blue Sky Deli (formerly Hajji’s). As Anthony Bourdain and others spread the word, the sandwich captured the hearts and palates of countless food enthusiasts beyond local bodegas.

At Macrina Bakery, the Ciabatta Bun has become a popular choice for many Seattle restaurants as their go-to burger bun. This “Italian slipper bread” is soft and airy, with a thin crust that makes it perfect for sandwiches and burgers.

Chopped Cheese on Ciabatta Buns Recipe


1 Tbsp olive oil (or your preferred cooking oil)
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 thin slices cheddar cheese (think American Cheese slices)
4 Macrina Ciabatta Buns
1 tomato, sliced
½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded


Heat the oil in a pan, aiming for the highest possible temperature without causing it to burn. The goal is to imitate a kitchen flattop, so the hotter, the better.

Combine the ground beef, minced onion, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper in the pan. Cook until the beef is halfway done, then add the minced garlic.

Once the beef has browned, drain any excess fat. Return the pan to the burner and turn off the heat. Lay the cheese slices on top of the beef. Allow it to sit long enough for the cheese to melt, and then use a spatula to “chop” the cheese into the beef mixture.

Pile the cheesy beef onto the lightly toasted Macrina Ciabatta Buns and garnish with shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. Serve with mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup, based on individual preferences.

Scott recommends accompanying the sandwich with a salad or another vegetable dish to create a more balanced meal. As a side, consider Tim’s original or jalapeño chips, and finish off the meal with an Olivia’s Chocolate Chip cookie for dessert. Enjoy!


Win Two Seats at our Maple Leaf Pop-Up Dinner on Thursday, August 10!

Five years ago, we threw a celebratory pop-up dinner for our 25th Anniversary — a smashing success. Now, with our 30th looming, we’re setting the stage again. Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, will collaborate with our Savory Team to serve one of her favorite meals to 30 fortunate guests on Thursday, August 10, at our new Maple Leaf café. Enter to win two dinner seats by sending your treasured Macrina memory to

One of the best parts of the last pop-up dinner were the stories people shared. They illustrated the many ways Macrina has enhanced their lives. We heard stories of people discovering a community of food lovers at Macrina, or finding a home away from home. One woman treated construction workers remodeling her house to homemade goodies from the Macrina cookbooks every Friday for a year. An almost-daily visitor to Macrina started bringing her daughter to our Belltown café in a stroller 24 years ago. Her daughter now lives across the country, but when visiting she always insists on Macrina for brunch. A man met his future wife at the Sodo café on a blind date and celebrated their love story this Valentine’s Day with a pillow etched with “It All Began With Coffee at Macrina.” A new transplant to Seattle found solace in tea and pastries at our Queen Anne café. We could go on, but we’d rather hear from you.

What are your Macrina stories?

To see this year’s menu, you’ll have to win two seats to the dinner — but here’s a glimpse of the last one. Guests were welcomed with a mingle session featuring sparkling wine, craft cocktails, and appetizers. The first course was a handmade pappardelle pasta with garden tomatoes and fresh herbs. For the main course, attendees selected between beef tenderloin or king salmon, served with smoked risotto, local corn, chanterelles, and gremolata. We poured a favorite Washington state Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. We finished off the meal with an indulgent trio of summer berry pudding, lemon tart, and chocolate torte with red wine glaze, fresh berries and sweetened whipped cream.

Reflecting on our last pop-up dinner, Leslie says, “Watching the guests arrive was a joy. I recognized many faces, mentally associating stories with people. Over the next three hours, the room buzzed with laughter and lively conversation. I flitted from kitchen to dining room, relishing the sight of strangers introducing themselves and soon sharing stories over a meal at Macrina. I heard new friends planning to meet up in the future!”

Send your Macrina stories to by August 1 with the subject line “Macrina Pop-Up Dinner Contest” for a shot at two seats to an unforgettable dinner!