By Kimberly Maul
Matt Tilden’s SCRATCHbread project has never had it easy. But Matt’s passion for making some of the best baked goods in Brooklyn has powered him past all kinds of obstacles. After months of working through the night baking his breads during off hours at Toby’s Public House in the South Slope, he realized he needed his own space to keep up with the growing demand for his goods. He found a space to call his own in the Columbia St. Waterfront District this Spring, only to have things cruelly fall through a few weeks after moving in. Literally hours from being without a kitchen, he secured a new shop in Bed-Stuy which he hopes will provide a home base for his burgeoning project for years to come. “Having a home is the most important piece of my business,” he says. “We really want to invest in the community.”
Tilden started SCRATCHbread because he wanted to make food more accessible and approachable, and bread seemed to be the best place to start. Trained as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America, Tilden dabbled in breads and baking because he wanted to be a well-rounded cook and make sure all parts of a meal are in sync. He found bread to be “such a great, simple, interactive thing,” and calls it “one of the modest superpowers of the world.”
Since it’s launch, SCRATCHbread has been making a mark in the Brooklyn food scene. The shop not only sells its goods at the Brooklyn Flea each Saturday, but it also supplies local shops and restaurants with its products, which include South Slope Sourdough, Brownstone Focaccia, scones, shortbread, and vegan cookies, among others. In fact, Tilden even designs specific products for certain places, like Franny’s in Prospect Heights and he recently developed “StuyvesantSour,” a new sourdough. He says he selects certain wholesale partners because, “if I’m teaming up with the best chefs and businesses…it’s going to increase awareness. And it’s good for them.”
Currently, the wholesale business is on a bit of a hiatus as SCRATCHbread gets settled into the new space. But Tilden hopes to be back and running with a reinvigorated wholesale program by September. Part of SCRATCHbread’s reinvention, he adds, includes its Kickstarter “Right to Deliciousness” campaign, which is raising money to fix up the new shop and keep the project running.
Tilden started the business with $5,000 and said, “I knew I could just power through.” But with the new
shop needing tables, improvements to the floor, and ventilation for the wood-burning oven, the Kickstarter campaign is a necessity. It originally launched a few weeks ago, but Tilden says he wants to redefine the campaign and why SCRATCHbread is doing it.
“My intentions and my business plan are not about the bottom line,” he says. “It’s about making a statement with food. We’re trying to raise money so we can do good in the community.” That means offering cooking classes and asking people who donate what they would like to see out of the revamped SCRATCHbread.
“SCRATCHbread is a collaboration of people that support it and the people behind it,” Tilden explains. It’s more than a job or his business; it is something he believes in. So much so, he has the SCRATCHbread logo tattooed on his arm. So it’s safe to say SCRATCHbread and Tilden’s ideas for the company are here to stay.
Nona’s favorite SCRATCHbread creations? We’re big fans of the spectacular Focaccia topped with an ever-changing variety of seasonal specialties; the sweet and savory and incredibly flavorful scones, and the goose-bump inducing (we’re serious) Buttermilk Brownies.
Favorite foods to make: Potato Gnocchi and Ice Cream
Favorite place in Brooklyn: Franny’s
To learn more about SCRATCHbread and to find out where you can get your hands on some, check out www.scratchbread.com