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Towson University




The Breadery
By Lindsey Colross
For BaltimoreStories.com

Bakeries all over the world are known for making and selling products such as bread, cake and pastries. In a bakery, it is not uncommon to find recipes that have been around for centuries alongside those that offer a unique twist on an old favorite, or those that are the baker's originals.

The Breadery, located on U.S. Route 40 in Ellicott City, is a specialty bakery that not only serves Howard County, but also the state of Maryland and potentially the world.

In 1996, Michael Lanasa founded what would become The Breadery. After years of whole grain research, Lanasa wanted to open a bakery to produce fresh, whole grain breads without the additives and preservatives found in store-bought breads.

In 1997, Janice Church crossed paths with Lanasa after he donated some rolls to her children's school.

After tasting the rolls, Church was happy to find out that they were whole grain and they tasted good, which she said is a rare combination.

“Unfortunately, our society doesn't support anything but fast food or junk food,” Church said.

When Church went and talked to Lanasa about his product, she liked what she heard.

“I felt like Michael had a concept of what bread should be—made without milk, eggs, dough enhancers, preservatives, chemicals—and he was doing all of that. He was using chemical-free wheat and it was like, wow this is a really unique product,” Church said.

To ensure their breads stay fresh, The Breadery makes their breads based on a four-hour baking schedule that changes each day. Also, whole grains are milled fresh each day on a stone mill in the bakery.

“We grind the grain ourselves. I use the analogy of, would you take a banana, cut it open, mash it or slice it and then save it for two or three days and eat it? Food oxidizes and rusts—it decays.

“Our grains are chemical free, which is equivalent to, or almost better than, organic. Chemical free means that you use natural means to grow your crops and no chemicals,” said Church.

Church took what she had learned about Lanasa's business and decided that she wanted to be involved.

“Little bakers have a hard time in America ,” she said. “No one wants to make an extra trip to the store just to buy bread. People will drive 5 to 10 miles to go to a store, but there are not enough people in that 5 or 10 miles to keep a bakery going.”

Church got the idea to make Lanasa's business bigger by selling bread on the Internet. With help from Church's son, daughter and husband, thebreadery.com became a family affair.

“Whatever I put into the Web site, his customers see. They already have an image in their mind when they go and I get to define that image to the world.

“In every community there are a few people who eat healthy. If I can appeal to all the healthy people all over America, then it should be enough to support his store. We also started a fundraising company, not with the intent of making money, but as a tool to get the word out,” said Church.

Church's focus on her Web site is not only to bring business to Lanasa's bakery, but also to make people better aware of what kinds of foods are going into their bodies.

“Years ago there was a marketing idea that only poor people eat brown bread—the whiter the better. America still believes that,” said Church.

According to Church, the white bread that many Americans include in their diet has no nutrition. White flour, which is used to make white bread, only contains what turns to white sugar. Grain, on the other hand, has fiber, which hangs on to food and drags calories out of the body.

Although The Breadery does bake more than bread, such as pastries, flat breads and various desserts, it is the fresh, whole grain breads that keep customers coming.

Church said that The Breadery's customers are conscious that when they eat something, it has an impact on their health, so they are making wiser choices.

“If you do everything wrong in your diet, but you eat good bread,” said Church, “It's already taken you half way there.”

Breads at The Breadery range from $3 to $6 a loaf and can be bought at the bakery, located at 9251 Baltimore National Pike, or online at www.thebreadery.com.

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