Sugar and Loaf Bakery

January 6th 2022 written by Joseph Pecora

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Phill Pecora, executive baker and owner of Sugar and Loaf Bakery inspects his work.


The clock on my phone reads 3:45am. It’s still quite dark when I pack my camera gear into the truck and head over to the Sugar & Loaf bakery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania. I’m heading out to meet Phillip Pecora, my brother, who is the owner and executive baker of the establishment.


Arriving at the bakery Phill tells me that starting at 4am is a bit early even for him. Today is Theo’s birthday; one of Phill's three sons. He wants to get a jump on the day so he can spend more time celebrating with his family.


It’s not long before  activity in the kitchen accelerates to a fast paced, powerful, sensory experience. Heat radiates from the ovens and stove top as the space fills with the smell of baked goods. Alarms and timers chime. Pots and pans clatter and ingredients are weighed, stirred, whisked, whipped and poured. Watching my brother work brings to my mind the Taoist term wu wei commonly translated as “doing not doing”; a concept in which the creator becomes the creation. Through experience and practice the doer becomes so skilled in their work that it appears to require no effort at all. Fancy concepts aside it’s impressive the way Phill can bake and decorate, sautee herbs, form dough and perform a myriad other tasks simultaneously.

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Left: shaping dough.  Right: Wild harvested Fiddlehead ferns and Ramps ready to be made into a pesto.

When watching someone with such a high level of proficiency in their craft, it’s easy to take for granted the countless hours of experience that have been devoted to developing their skills so I asked Phill of his beginnings. "What got you interested in baking and what were some points in your learning process and career that stand out in your mind"?

Phill: “My passion for cooking and baking started when I was growing up as 1 of 9 children. Feeding us all was a large task and helping my mother bake and cook was a way I enjoyed helping. The core of my skills was learned at the Culinary Institute of America where I was immersed in a world of culinary excellence. I fine tuned these skills through working at various bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. Every job had its own unique impact in forming me into the baker I am today. I am still constantly learning as I work. Every success, failure, unexpected outcome, and new piece of knowledge is further shaping me and my products”

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Loading  focaccia into the oven.

Phill’s dedication to using locally sourced, high quality ingredients as well as consciously choosing to focus on developing close relationships with other small businesses is one of the main reasons I chose to do a photo essay of my brother. When I asked him why he put these practices at the center of his business he had this to say on the matter.


Phill: “Connecting with the local community is as important to me as the quality of my products. Putting a face to the name, a handshake to the ingredient producers, and a smile to the happy customer is of greater value than the commerce that the business is involved in. Incorporating this into the business’s commerce adds value to the revenue it creates. It does this by putting it back into the community where it will benefit the local farmers, local producers, the customers that come through the door, and the neighbors that surround us.

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Filling made from locally grown berries.

You can currently purchase Sugar and Loaf bakery products at the establishment during store hours; Friday-Sunday from 8:30am-2pm as well as at farm markets and a handful of local small businesses. Sugar and Loaf also accepts pre-orders which can be picked up during store hours or midweek for larger quantities. Custom cake orders are another of Phill’s services which he provides with all the care and thoughtfulness that he puts into all his products. He makes all of his cake icing without the use of artificial dyes, most of the colors he uses he makes himself from vegetables such as red beats or other natural ingredients.

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Phil decorates a cake.

Stepping into the business during store hours you enter a world of enticing smells and sounds. It's also an  opportunity to meet Phill. In conversation his passion and pride for his craft is apparent and he is always enthusiastic when it comes to discussing his products and how they are made. The store front is full of personal touches from the display shelving that Phill designed and built himself to the quaint farmhouse characteristics of the establishment. Opening up the store front for walk in customers was a big part of the overall plan for the business but there is still a great deal more to come. "Phill what do you have in the works and what do you envision for Sugar and Loaf bakery moving forwards"?

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Phil stands in the bakery's storefront.

Phill: “Imagine a warm inviting space; fragrances of fresh baked goods, savory, fare, and roasted coffee mingle together just like the voices of the friends and family in the café with you. A friendly employee greets you and is ready to guide you through the display of gourmand delights. This is the future of Sugar & Loaf. The bakery is undergoing a multi staged expansion that will allow us to produce our current products as well as a larger variety of products at a higher quality. The store front has recently opened as the first step. This allows us to sell our baked goods directly from the premises. Our artisan breads are getting new production space with some new equipment. The highlights of this equipment are an artisan hearth oven, which was recently installed, and a heritage design flour mill for fresh flours which is on order. The final phase will be the café which will be serving breakfast and lunch. The menu will utilize our baked goods, highlight local farmers, and  feature a craft barista brewing with locally roasted coffee beans”.

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Left: Baked goods on display. Right: English muffins bake on the griddle.

There are a lot of exciting things in store for the bakery and I am continuously impressed by Phill’s hard work as well as his dedication to building and supporting a local economy. Many people are excited for the continued growth of Sugar and Loaf bakery and are eagerly looking forward to the opening of the cafe portion of the business where they can sip an espresso drink and take in it’s aroma mingling among the toasty bread and pastries baking in the kitchen.


How to get your hands on the goods

The Sugar and Loaf bakery’s store front is open Friday-Sunday from 8:30am to 2pm. You can stop in and see what's available or place an order ahead of time for pick up. 

Check out the monthly menu: https://www.sugarandloafbakery.com/

And give Sugar and Loaf Bakery a call: 570-926-1593


You can also find Sugar and Loaf products at the following locations.

Och’s Country store (Drums, PA)

Milk House Creamery (Sugarloaf, PA)

Rinehimer’s Farm (Nescopek, PA)


Seasonally available at Fork’s Farm Market (Orangeville, PA) and Berwick Farm Market (Berwick, PA)

-photographs and article by Joseph Pecora-

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