Costco debuts from-scratch bread

by Eric Schroeder
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The wholesale operator previously used a par-baked program.

ISSAQUAH, WASH. — Costco is going “back to where it all started in the bakery” with the launch of a new from-scratch bread program.

“We’re rebranding ourselves in the bread category with exciting new and delicious breads,” David Richman, assistant general merchandise manager of Costco Bakery, told The Costco Connection, the warehouse operator’s monthly magazine.

Previously, Costco had used a par-baked program in which bread, instead of being completely baked by the supplier, was removed from ovens and finished in Costco bakeries. Now, Costco has developed a program where handcrafted scratch bread is baked in deck ovens on a hearthstone at Costco locations. The program currently is in operation in five Costco warehouses: Pentagon City and Sterling, Va.; Issaquah and Kirkland, Wash.; and Livermore, Calif.

Costco said the hearthstone bakeries could not be duplicated at all warehouse locations, but the company’s development team determined the scratch bread could be baked successfully in the convection ovens already used in Costco bakeries.

According to The Costco Connection, Costco recently introduced its new scratch program with country French, cranberry walnut and honey multigrain boules — round loaves. Raisin walnut boules are being rotated into the assortment in place of the cranberry walnut variety, Costco said, and different flavored batards are expected in the future.

“(The use of) quality ingredients mixed from scratch is a value for the member, and it creates our own signature,” Mr. Richman said. “This scratch bread program differentiates us from our competition.”

In addition to fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, Costco said it relies on two special ingredients during the production process: time and temperature.

“Time and temperature are treated as ingredients for the quality of the bread,” said Mike Cruz, assistant vice-president/general merchandise manager of service deli/fresh food research and development. “If either one of them gets compromised, it gives you a different product.”

Costco currently operates 672 warehouses, including 474 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 89 in Canada, 34 in Mexico, 26 in the United Kingdom, 20 in Japan, 11 in Korea, 10 in Taiwan, 7 in Australia and 1 in Spain.
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READER COMMENTS (6)

By Suman Layek 11/14/2017 8:01:33 AM
This is by far the best investment you have made in a product category. I visit Costco every week, just because of these breads.

By Bridget Murphy 10/14/2015 2:17:03 PM
Was wondering what happened to the country French bread at the patriot Blvd location in glenview. Thank you

By Sherry Jackson 10/14/2015 1:16:59 PM
I'll go for leaving out the preservatives, but I Want the sugar in my bread. It helps it be lighter, and it tastes much better, as well.

By Paul Nihei 7/14/2015 2:45:19 AM
IMy wife and I enjoyed the Raisin Walnut bread sold at Waipio Costco but it was suddenly discontinued about a month ago. Will be available Raisin Walnut bread (from scratch) was discontinued about a month ago at Waipio Costco. Will it be available again? What is the reason for its unavailability?

By Ann Travaglini 7/6/2015 7:48:57 PM
Devastated. Is there a Costco store or somewhere else that I can get the pack of 6sour dough baguettes. So much better than what you are offering now.

By Pat 4/27/2015 2:30:13 PM
I'm not sure what Costco is proud of, they might be making their own breads but they are full of additives and preservatives, and added sugars. Looks to me like a big step backwards.