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Companion Bakeshop offers baking and coffee classes

Heidi Hochstrasser, pastry manager
Susanna Gaertner

Seriously delicious, organic, authentic breads and pastries have been the mainstay of Companion Bakeshop since they opened in their current location on Mission Street in 2010. What many don't know is that the “Companions” offer baking classes for all skill levels, from novice to chef.

In groups of 5 to10, students learn how to source and make croissants and laminate (thin-layered) dough, sourdough bread, quiches, and a host of other brunch items. There is a pie lab class and one for baking with alternative grains. There are even baking classes for kids.

“We truly get everyone to enjoy a hands-on-experience...and then take home the fruits of their labor,” says pastry manager Heidi Hochstrasser.

New to the roster is the “spring kitchen overhaul” class to help you organize your prep spaces and maximize efficiency for the months ahead. The course meets Thursday April 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 and costs $45 per person. Log on to their website,, to find a schedule of upcoming classes.

The bake shop serves only Blue Bottle (organic) coffee and now features classes on coffee sourcing and brewing methods. Decaf—especially in organic blends—can taste chalky or bitter; Blue Bottle's decaf is simultaneously full-bodied yet smooth, without any metallic aftertaste. As for pastries, “in the last three months we have really focused on developing several new gluten free and (one) vegan option.”

While the coffee and pastries are wonderful, the same cannot be said for the front of house, where a lack of comfortable seating makes for a less than inviting ambiance. Add to this that the front door is open in all weather because of poor ventilation in the kitchen—the staff will close it on request but with a reminder of how hot this will make it for those in the back—and it's clear that visitors might want to wait for fair weather to take advantage of the more hospitable outdoor space, or purchase pastries to enjoy at home.

Companion Bakeshop
2341 Mission St
Santa Cruz 95060

open Tuesdays from 7 to 7:30, Wed-Fri 7 to 4, and weekends 8 to 3. No WiFi

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