Montclair Bread Company has a new name (Rabble Rise), a second location (New Paltz, New York) and a new laser focus on donuts.
The creative confections that owner Rachel Wyman dreamed up with brioche dough on a quiet day in 2012 are now the only menu item, save for a few other breakfast bites, available at both Rabble Rise locations. . There are no more breakfast sandwiches or grain breads available. A streamlined menu serves the Montclair location and the New Paltz store, formerly known as Gunkin’ Donuts.
And consumers, retailers, restaurants and bakeries nationwide can now order Naked Donut Kits — six frozen donuts, with packets of toppings and frostings — to serve or sell.
The name “Montclair Bread Company” has, for years, been a bit of a misnomer, as Wyman and donut lovers enthusiastically embraced his whimsically decorated creations, sometimes tied to holidays or cultural themes, such as Obi Wan Cannoli and Chewbacca for Star Wars Day. Its donut batter also stands out for its minimal and “clean” ingredients – coconut sugar, unbleached flour, olive oil, salt and water. (Toppings are another story.)
Montclair Bread Company donuts have been tweeted by politicians and celebrities, written about in national publications, and appeared on national news shows.
But as the baking field became more crowded, Wyman said, she realized the need to focus strictly on “what I do better than anyone else — donuts and all the innovation and creativity that surrounds them.
“The bread was overshadowed,” she said. “It’s only 10% of sales, but takes up 70% of our workforce. It takes so much time. The donuts are faster and the dough is less finicky.”
Additionally, making different varieties of bread requires storing many large bags of cereal, while making donuts only requires one, Wyman said. The extra space will allow him to produce even more donuts; it now produces about 7,000 a week at Montclair and 2,000 at New Paltz.
It will also have more room for catering and for hosting special events, cooking classes and donut decorating parties.
Currently, Wyman supplies donuts to Le French Dad Bakery in Montclair, New York Farmers’ Markets, and a few wholesale outlets in upstate New York. With the increased capacity and additional location, it will be able to serve a wider band in the tri-state area and nationwide.
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She also wants to get Naked Donuts kits into supermarket chains and hopes to open Rabble Rise stores in other “donut deserts”.
Meanwhile, the triathlete and climber is moving her primary residence from Montclair to New Paltz, where she recently purchased a home. She and her partner Brad Barket, a professional photographer who also runs youth running programs, will spend time in both locations as her three children leave schools in Montclair.
But she will remain present at the Rabble Rise store in the former Motor Vehicle Inspection Station on Label Street and will continue to organize fundraisers for organizations such as Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter. On Thursday, she’s hosting a teen donut decorating event for OUT Montclair. In 2019, during the government shutdown, she brought donuts to thousands of unpaid TSA agents at Newark airport.
The occasional Friday pizza nights, when she rolls a copper pizza oven across the patio and musicians play, will continue. So will the annual 5K Donut Run, which has raised more than $100,000 for local charities and hosted more than 15,000 runners over the past nine years.
She and Ironbound Farm owner Charles Rosen, who supplies the eggs for Wyman’s donuts, are also working to bring a small farmers’ market to her patio this summer.
Another collaboration recently started with the Paper Plane café. Rabble Rise will stock its shop with donuts and serve Paper Plane coffee at Montclair and New Paltz stores.
“It’s really cool that we serve coffee in New Paltz which is roasted in Montclair,” she said.
For Wyman, who fell in love with the Hudson River Valley at the Culinary Institute of America, where she majored in bread-making, the move to New Paltz means coming full circle.
And it’s the perfect place to train and compete. She just finished the Boston Marathon and is training for the “Survival of the Shawangunks” triathlon this fall – a 32-mile bike ride, three miles of swimming across three lakes and 30 miles of running.
To relax, she goes rock climbing.
“It’s like solving a puzzle, that’s how my brain likes to think,” she said. “It forces me to slow down.”
Julia Martin is the 2021 recipient of the New Jersey Society for Professional Journalists’ David Carr Award for her coverage of Montclair for NorthJersey.com.
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