7866 Mineral Point Road

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Silly Yak Bakery Featured in Madison's Weekly 77 Square Publication

Let's Eat for $7.70: Silly Yak's Treats Fit for All, Gluten-free or Not


RP's Pasta Value Bundles Featured in O, The Oprah Magazine

The January 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine features our RP's Pasta Value Bundles, which offer the best in gluten-free foods from Wisconsin: RP's Pasta Company Gluten-Free Pasta, Renaissance Farm Sweet Basil Pesto, and The Silly Yak Bakery's GF Breads and Buns.

We are thrilled to have made the O List!



BusinessWatch Magazine
November 2008

For individuals suffering from an autoimmune disorder known as Celiac disease, eating becomes a treacherous path. With Celiac, the small intestine cannot process gluten, the protein found in barley, rye, wheat and their byproducts. The body turns on itself, making the absorption of nutrients impossible and rendering the person seriously ill.

Holly Beach, owner of the Silly Yak bakery, takes feeding Celiac customers seriously. Armed with a degree in health education and the practical experience of owning a bakery in Rochester, Minn., Beach finds herself baking gluten-free and traditional products, much to the delight of customers everywhere. Beach named her business, Silly Yak, as play on the word Celiac, demonstrating her notion of keeping a light heart while helping others.
— Angela Mihm Nigro

BusinessWatch: In Minnesota you owned a bike store and then a bakery. You relocated to Madison and took over the existing Bread Barn. What drives your interest in owning and operating your own business?

Holly Beach: My move to Madison was part of my "mid-life crisis!" I wanted to see how much more impact I could make with my products in a larger metro area. Your question is interesting to me as I never think of myself as owning or operating my own business. I'm driven by what needs to be done. People need good bread and bread products, whether it is gluten-free or even whole wheat. I'm just trying to fill that need.

BW: Baking gluten-free is challenging, because ingredients can be hard to locate and working without the gluten, the elastic protein that causes bread to expand, there can be many baking failures. How do you perfect your recipes?

HB: Lots of trial and error for the most part! I also research ingredients and how they react chemically to each other. I'm a keen observer of both the visual and textural components of my products, which helps tremendously in the development process.

BW: What are some favorite gluten-free products and what are you currently working on?

HB: Our breads are really the most popular as they are the most difficult baked item for people to make at home themselves. Our customers love the gluten-free Cinnamon Swirl as well as some of our higher protein breads like Amaranth, Quinoa and Montina. I just started baking Jalapeño Cheddar Bites — lots of cheddar cheese, cream cheese, pepper jack cheese and jalapenos rolled up in our gluten-free cheddar bread. We have a nice selection of casein (dairy)-free breads, and we're still trying to come up with good eggless bread.

BW: You've carved out a niche, with gluten-free products accounting for nearly half of your gross sales while providing a valuable service to your Celiac clients. Yet when you started baking gluten-free, ingredients were hard to come by and demand was limited. What's your business advice on pursuing a small segment?

HB: Keep your passion! Don't let the negatives pull you down. Start by utilizing as many "free" forms of advertising as you can, such as word of mouth, networking and gluten-free sampler packs to your target group (support groups in my case). Later, you can advertise in trade journals that focus on your target groups.

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THE SILLY YAK BAKERY  •  7866 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53717  •  view map  •  Phone: (608) 833-5965

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