in partnership
The croissants at Coyle's Bakeshop; a pop-up inside Fremont's Book Larder. (Image: Frank Guanco)

Coyle's Bakeshop: A lady and her Pop-Up

Pop-ups are an exciting thing. Take a local chef and let them carve out a space at a local establishment to try their wares. Timebox the pop-up and make it feel special. Underground and public, they have been around the Seattle area for a while and one that always has us excited is Coyle's Bakeshop.

Coyle's Bakeshop comes to us from Rachael Coyle, the culinary director of Fremont's Book Larder. She teaches many of the classes that Book Larder offers and has been quick to suggest me cookbooks that I should have in my library. Her background includes time at the Herbfarm and managing the pastries program at Le Pichet and Café Presse. Along with her time at Book Larder, Coyle started the bakeshop as a means to try out sweet treats of intrigue and she continues with the bakeshop pop-up to prepare for her brick-and-mortar bakeshop space.

Coyle and I talked last year about pastry and her love of laminated dough, and the challenge of layering butter and pastry dough to perfection. This was during the Cronut phase that hit New York and all of the iterations that bakeries tried far and wide. She mentioned to me that during her time at Le Pichet, she would take scraps of croissant dough and throw them into the fryer. They'd be topped with cinnamon sugar and snacked on voraciously amongst the Le Pichet staff. I would totally order a plate of these.

Coyle's Bakeshop occurs every Saturday at Book Larder starting at 9am. (Follow along with their Facebook and Twitter for updates.) Her pop-up has been around for some time, but recently she's started having it every weekend instead of the once a month cadence prior. We spent some time chatting with her. Here is what she had to say.

How has the process been shifting the pop-up from monthly to weekly?

It's been fantastic. The business has gone from something that I did on the side to something that is my focus, and my livelihood, which is personally very gratifying. As far as the baking itself, I strive to really bake with what's in season, so having a weekly pop-up has given me a lot more opportunity to delve into each season's offerings. Last year, for example, I had one shot with strawberries. This year, we got to make cakes, tarts, jams; I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but we've gotten to experiment more and definitely learn more.

Now that the bakeshop pop-up is weekly, what does your week look like preparing for that Saturday morning?

Getting ready takes about three solid days of prep, plus baking on Saturday mornings. Wednesday is my get-things-arranged day. I finalize the menu, shop and make many lists. Thursday and Friday are two solid days of baking. (Our croissant dough is a three-day process, so we make the dough on Thursday, shape the croissants Friday and bake Saturday.) Saturday mornings are the most stressful but also the most rewarding; I start at 4am and somehow by 8am we're packed and heading to Book Larder. I also have two fantastic helpers.

What are the best sellers?

This is so hard to say. If I knew what to predict on a week-to-week basis, I'd be a very happy woman. I think people are pleasantly surprised by the number of savory items that we offer; savory croissants, cheese straws, Cretzels, so those always seem to go quickly. Also, anything that is hyper-seasonal tends to fly. Last week we did peach turnovers, they were gone in about 15 minutes.

Any updates on your brick-and-mortar bakeshop?

Very soon, I hope!

What kitchen tool could you not live without?

Honestly, it's my three rolling pins. Do I get three? We make all of our croissant dough by hand (without a professional sheeter), so a variety of rolling pins of varying heft are absolutely essential.

What are your favorite baking cookbooks?

I love British Baking by Peyton & Byrne, Baking by Dorie Greenspan, and Beard on Bread by James Beard.

What's your favorite butter?

Totally depends. I actually like to bake with your basic unsalted butter: Medosweet or Darigold. (High-fat European-style butters were the THING a few years ago - and they're fantastic - but I find they can make a greasy croissant if you're not careful.) For just eating, I love the Paysan Breton butter from Brittany. It's delicious and has large pieces of salt in it.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure food?

Oreos. I really like Oreos.