Story | Shelby Moore
Photography | Mark Lipczynski
Like all new business owners, Jared Allen was looking for his place in the world.
Specifically, a space that could be a home away from house, so to speak—a house that’s been home to his growing pastry and baking business, Proof Bread, since day one.
Back then, it was merely a hopeful hobby and an Instagram page that gained attention from a little—OK, pretty big—recognition as a finalist in Martha Stewart’s 2014 American Made awards. That’s how many great things are so often born, aren’t they? Hobbies that overfloweth.
Indeed, one need not assume that the demand for freshly baked goods—the good stuff, you know, properly-made croissants in a city with too little of them—is outpacing what a Mesa home, a wife and five growing kids can fit.
In a new space, Allen—a true champion of the Arizona cottage food law that allows sale of homebaked goods and confections—is looking to step things up a notch, not only to showcase his baked goods in a storefront and production space setting, but also to help facilitate his pizza project, Eight Twenty Four. Started with partners Myke Olsen and Devyn Gillepsie, the endeavor has been hosting private pizza dinners around the East Valley.
“I’ll have a retail home, be able to up my production and expand my selection, and I’ll be able to maintain my existing outlets, all within biking distance of my home,” says Allen, who plans to offer pizza down the line. “My heart is in the East Valley and I desperately want it to be great.”
Indeed, greatness will come. For now, Allen’s pastries are being served at the Mesa and Gilbert farmer’s markets, Bergies Coffee in downtown Gilbert, and at Peixoto Coffee Roasters, a newcomer to the Valley’s coffee scene in downtown Chandler. There you can usually find a pan au chocolate on the menu that’s different from many you may encounter. It’s naturally leaved, meaning he uses no commercial yeast to raise his dough—just time and the “little things” in life.
The benefit, he’ll point out, is better flavor above all else, a complexity and a sense of terroir. So if finding a good pan au chocolate in the East Valley was always the goal, it’s already a reality.