History of

McGlynn Bakeries

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In 1994, several bakeries in the Midwest were starting to market a unique, quality bread, sometimes referred to as artisan bread. Mike McGlynn had visited a bakery in Wisconsin and tried some of their breads. He loved them so much that he brought them to work to show the retail group a possible new trend. Since McGlynn's was always looking for new ideas, it was decided to try and mimic these great tasting breads.


After a lot of trial and error, it was decided to learn the process from the baker in Wisconsin. We agreed that the baker would show us how to make the bread (for a price), and included some of the natural sour-dough starter (actual dough that retains ancient cultured flavor). These were based on European recipes that were centuries old. These are serious breads, fermented using a natural sour-dough starter and baked in stone-hearth ovens -- an ancient process which creates breads that are crusty outside, chewy inside, robust and full of old world flavor. They're as beautiful as they are delicious. There are no added fats, no sugars, and no preservatives in these breads.


Panne Provincio Breads

Panné Provincio Artisan Breads

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Next, a McGlynn's Bakery retail store sight was chosen to try our new breads - located in a Rainbow Foods store in West St. Paul, MN. The breads were an instant success. It was quickly decided to capitalize on this market and sell this new style of breads in all of the retail stores and possibly to other bakeries as well. The process to make artisan breads was very time and space consuming and it would be impossible to produce the breads in multiple locations. A new, mass production process would have to be invented.


Trials were made using frozen dough, but that killed the fragile ancient fermentation in the bread. Some bread was flash frozen after baking and then thawed. That process destroyed the crust and characteristics of the bread. Finally, a process of partially baking the breads and then flash freezing the loaves worked perfectly. The finishing bake could be added taking the loaves right from the freezer to the oven. Now we could provide the best artisan breads to our McGlynn's bakeries as well as bakeries and foodservice operations across the nation.


The new artisan breads were named Panné Provincio. Beginning sales were brisk as they were on trend with consumers' demand for organic, healthy, authentic foods. Due to the organic nature of these breads, the shelf life is reduced to one day on the bakery shelf, easily managed using a par-baked product.


Panne Provincio Logo

The robust varieties included Sesame Semolina, a fine-crumbed loaf made from the same flour used in the best pastas, Pan Bigio (Country Italian), a classic Italian country bread with a firm crust and chewy interior, Pan au Levain (Country French), a slow risen bread, made in the French tradition, Peasant Rye, one of the great rye breads of the world, with a hint of caraway, Kalamata Olive Rosemary, Monterey Sour Dough, Cranberry Walnut, Pane alla Cioccolata (Chocolate Bread), Roasted Garlic and others.


In order to market the new breads, the division was named Concept 2 Bakers (C2B) - for the McGlynn's second introduction of frozen bakery foods. All of the products were produced in the Fridley plant. The unique equipment needed to produce a loaf of bread that takes 36 hours from mixer to freezer required massive renovation to the Fridley plant. The bread had to be proofed (let rise) in an enormous, enclosed box with a slow moving conveyor that took four hours for the bread to travel through at just the right temperature. The demand for organic flour for these breads was so huge that a major flour miller changed over an entire plant to provide organic flour to C2B.


Artisan bread oven

Artisan Bread Oven Loading

Artisan bread freezer

Artisan Bread Freezing

The success for artisan bread also helped surface a demand for an "everyday bread". C2B introduced a line of pre-package thaw and sell breads to fill the need. These ten varieties included Caraway Rye, Jewish Rye, Eight Grain, Pumpernickel Rye, Sourdough, Black Bean & Cracked Pepper among others. The unique name Earl of Sandwich helped boost the sales.

Later, baked, frozen cookies were added to augment these frozen sales.

In January, 2001, the company split into two entities – DecoPac, Inc. and McGlynn Bakeries, LLC. Both companies remained family owned and operated. Burt McGlynn's sons Mike and Dan operated DecoPac and McGlynn Bakeries, respectively. Employing over 1,000, both companies were growing rapidly. McGlynn Bakeries retail sales were slowing while the Concept 2 Bakers business was rapidly growing.

In 2004, it was decided to sell Concept 2 Bakers to Ralcorp Holdings, Inc., the human foods division of Ralston Purina. Ultimately, Ralcorp sold the business to Conagra Brands. Afterwards, DecoPac became the only remaining McGlynn family owned company.