Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lynchburg bakeries: Montana Plains

As I stepped off the streets of Wyndhurst and into a cozy, family owned bakery I was welcomed by the aroma of homemade breads and desserts as well as a friendly atmosphere.

Montana Plains Bakery, which is owned by Steve and Lucia Coates and their son, Joey Hertzberg, has been open for 16 years.

display — The bakery has been open for 16 years. Photo credit: Sara Warrender

Display — The bakery has been open for 16 years. Photo credit: Sara Warrender

“Through all of these years we have kind of evolved, done different things and maybe that is it,” Lucia Coates, who also serves as head chef, said. “We are just constantly evolving and doing new things to keep our customers satisfied and excited about coming into the bakery.”

According to Steve Coates, when the bakery opened, they only made bread. Now they have expanded to cooking pies, cakes, sandwiches, soups and much more.

“We use real ingredients,” Steve Coates said. “Real vanilla, it is not imitation. Real butter, there is no margarine here at all. No artificial flavors. It is all natural.”

Montana Plains tries to purchase local products whenever they can, which helps to give the bakery its European-Southern blend style, Lucia Coates said.

“I try not to be trendy, you know?” Lucia Coates said. “You want to keep current with what is going on in cooking and baking, but I feel like if you start being trendy and you don’t really stick with what you think is a good product, then you can run into the wrong.”

Lucia Coates is always looking for new recipes, whether by making changes to existing ones or creating them from scratch.

“Every baker bakes a little differently,” Lucia Coates said. “If you try to get them to do everything exactly the same, people have a harder time learning how to do that.”

According to Steve Coates, Montana Plains is always focused on having quality products that their customers crave.

“The key to a good bakery is that it has got to be fresh and you have to have a variety,” Steve Coates said. “That is a challenge when you are building. It has to naturally grow because you have to build clientele for each product.”

I had the pleasure of tasting several items that the bakery is known for — a chicken salad sandwich on cottage cheese dill bread, two brioches, an éclair and Friday bread.

Every bite of food that I had from Montana Plains was filled with delicious flavor and appreciation for fresh ingredients. Their bread was moist. Nothing was over salted, or overly sweet. The serving sizes were generous and well worth the cost. Everything was just right.

According to, Steve Coates the bakery also has a big wedding cake business and is getting a vehicle license for catering deliveries. The owners are also making their shop more technology-friendly by adding Wi-Fi and making a webpage.

“Nothing is going to be better than that childhood memory of that bakery, but what is great about it is, over time, kids and people think of us and our products as a bakery they have grown up with,” Steve Coates said.

According to Steve Coates, customers can present this article for a free drink with the purchase of a sandwich.*

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