A labor of love

Brady Bread Bakery supports Brady Faith Center

   “We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”  — Herman Melville   

Something’s rising at the Brady Bread Bakery and it’s not just the loaves of bread. The number of loaves produced at the bakery each week has increased from 80 to 112. Vicki Quigley, a Brady Bread baker and member of the organization’s management team, explained the bakery’s success. “The product is excellent,” commented Quigley.

   Quigley, along with six other volunteers, gathered at 6 a.m. on Fri., Oct. 3 to make the cinnamon raisin bread that would be distributed to various churches in the Syracuse area. The bread is sold at the churches following their weekend Masses and services for $3 each.

   The bread is sold at St. Lucy’s, St. John the Baptist, Plymouth Congregational Church, All Saints, University United Methodist Church, St. James and St. Vincent de Paul, all in Syracuse. In addition, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Baldwinsville, Trinity Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, St. Joseph the Worker in Liverpool and Holy Cross in DeWitt also sell the bread.

   Rich Adams, a parishioner at Holy Cross, delivers the bread, but that day, Adams was helping out in the kitchen, learning the ropes. Despite his lack of cooking experience, he said he really enjoyed learning how to make the bread. “I loved it,” he said. “Everybody is a great help and they are very friendly.”

   The proceeds from the sale of the bread support the programs of the Brady Faith Center, a Catholic mission that serves those in need on Syracuse’s Southwest side. The funds directly support such programs as Pedal to Possibilities and Jail Ministry. Jail Ministry is a program that assists the inmates and their families at the Onondaga County Justice Center. Its goal is to share God’s unconditional love with each individual.

   Pedal to Possibilities, a bicycle-riding program that brings together people who are homeless, neighborhood residents and Brady staff, meets three times every week at the Brady Center. After the participants participate in 10 seven to 10-mile rides around town, they are given a bicycle, helmet and lock to keep as their own. The program provides them with transportation, exercise and an opportunity to participate in their community. 

   The program is one that is close to the heart of Brady Bread’s founding baker, Marilyn Goulet. She regularly rides along with the 15 to 25 participants. “It’s a place for them to feel a sense of belonging,” she said. “It’s great to know that that’s why we’re here [Brady Bread Bakery] — to know that this community is supporting them. Our team works hard making bread, but we have fun. We all love it. The spirit is great here.”

   Sister Anne McNulty, OSF, agreed, as she deftly shaped bread dough into the form of a loaf. It was her second time participating in the bread making session. “It’s absolutely wholesome and wonderful,” she commented. “I love it.”

   Corinne Driscoll was also shaping the dough into loaves, an activity she clearly enjoyed. “Making bread is a miracle,” she said, “and, the people here are awesome.”

   Two years ago, the Glory Bee Bakery was revived under the name of Brady Bread Bakery. The volunteers use the original Glory Bee bread recipe and stand mixer in the production of the bread. They received the recipe and 3 months of training from Paul Frazier, one of the original Glory Bee bakers.   

   “We couldn’t have gotten it going without him,” said Quigley.
   Dick Putnam, a St. Lucy’s parishioner, said he decided to volunteer when he heard Goulet’s request for help at Mass a few years ago. “I thought it was a perfect opportunity to do some good,” he remembered.  
   The volunteers follow a very tight, detailed schedule while creating the bread in multiple batches of 16 loaves at a time. “Timing is everything,” said Quigley. “We’ve increased our volume without increasing the time to make it — I think that’s genius.” 
   The schedule was devised by Goulet and Putnam and inspired by volunteer Joe Marusa, parishioner at St. Lucy’s and a member of University United Methodist Church. 
   Thirty-five minutes are allotted to starting the bread mixture, nine minutes to mixing the dough, one hour to the rising, 15 minutes to weigh and shape the one pound two ounce loaf, 25 minutes to proof, 28 minutes to bake and two hours to package the bread.
Volunteers Pat and Ed DeGray package the bread.
   Quigley said that the bread is produced in three 10-week periods throughout the year. It is not produced during the summer.
   When Quigley was asked why she continued to volunteer her time to the Brady Bread Bakery, she replied, “It’s definitely the people I work with. No one has dropped out. We have a lot of laughs. We are from different backgrounds, but we have so much in common — a desire to do work that benefits someone else.”
   Quigley added that the organization hopes that people will underwrite the ingredients for making the bread. The cost of ingredients for a one-week bake is $150 and $1,500 for a 10-week bake. For more information, email Jail Ministry at jailministry@gmail.com.   

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