Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Bread baker, 24, on the rise with his sourdough

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

Haux Nest Bread has grown from a side gig for 24-year-old Kevin Haux — pronounced “hawks” — to now appearing in some of the area’s top eateries.

His sourdough bread is sold at Park & Elm in Glens Falls and is on the menu at Hamlet & Ghost, a celebrated restaurant in Saratoga Springs. His biggest customer is Saratoga Olive Oil Company.

“It started as a hobby,” says Kevin, “and has now grown into this little business becoming not so little of a business, which is nice.”

He said he’s now making around 75 large loves and 40 baguettes each week, baking out of his parents Lisa and Franz’s house in Queensbury under New York’s cottage law.

The Fort Edward Farmers’ Market ‘really got my business going and growing,’ says baker Kevin Haux, shown with his mother Lisa. Photo provided

“I have my garage kind of half converted into a bakery setup. I have a nice refrigerator there,” with a “small scale commercial bread oven,” said Kevin.

He said he’s always had “a knack for cooking,” and worked at Angelina’s Pizzeria through high school. He graduated from Queensbury in 2016.

“Even when I was delivering I would help them cook a lot,” Kevin said.

But his baking sourdough bread came as part of a difficult health journey.

“Since I was like 11 or 12, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and had to watch what I eat,” he said.

“I went out to Johnson & Wales [University] in Rhode Island for a little bit and then got pretty sick, came home.”

He tried SUNY Adirondack, too, but said his health held him back again.

That drove him to start “reading up on health books and just wanting to cook my own healthy food.”

He said he learned, “If I was going to do bread, it was going to be sourdough.”

Sourdough “doesn’t have artificial preservatives or ingredients, and there’s no artificial yeast,” he said. “It’s just easier-to-digest bread….

“It’s all just beneficial yeast and bacteria from naturally occurring bacteria from the environment. That plays a pretty big role on digestion.”

“It’s still carbs sadly but better carbs,” he laughed.

Kevin said with the help of his mother, he started baking bread at his family’s home in Queensbury.

“I guess [I] got pretty good at it pretty quickly,” he said, “because a local farmstand down the road, Sunset Farm on Ridge Road — Hal [Bain]…was my first customer pretty much, so he helped me get started.” Sunset Farm is owned by Elizabeth Miller, who also launched Park & Elm with her son Ben Miller.

Kevin started sending out “little text menus, when I was really growing, to friends who I knew would give me good feedback and knew that not everything was going to be perfect.”

His bread became available at places like Park & Elm and Sunnyside Par 3.

The Fort Edward Farmers Market in the summer “really got my business going and growing.”

Kevin said another vendor there recommended his bread to Michele Hunter, then-head chef at Saratoga’s Hamlet & Ghost, which serves his bread alongside its changing array of butters, like toasted coconut, for $7.

Farmers markets gave “me more of a business mind and got me thinking about growing the business into something more than just my home,” Kevin said.

“My biggest account is Saratoga Olive Oil Company. I bring a lot of breads down there weekly. Especially summertime, that’s huge. That keeps me like fully employed just because it’s really just me right now.”

“And my mom on her days off helps me when she can. It’s nice, they help.”

Kevin also does cookies and other “goodies” through private requests. “Anything you want me to try and make, I’m up for the challenge.”

Kevin says he’s been looking to expand to a brick and mortar location, but “my health still hasn’t been too great lately. I will say it’s been getting better.”

“I haven’t really been tempted to grow too much just because of that,” he said. Plus, “rent has just been crazy.”

That said, “I obviously want to continue doing this, I love doing this. And I’d absolutely love to grow.

He mentions a possible Hudson Falls location but says nothing is certain yet.

“I’m trying to gather a team around me while I’m not feeling so good, because I feel like I’m always going to have health problems. But I want to do this for a living. And yes, I do plan on growing.”

Kevin is on Instagram, @hauxnestbread.

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