Last Sunday, a small group of preregistered participants were led into the bakery’s inner sanctum, a small room where the baking is done, to hear Marc talk about how he makes his bread and other products, while some buns in an oven were baking to a golden brown.

They met in high school in Mount Shasta and fell in love – with each other and with the art of baking. Soon Marc and Jennifer Garcia had migrated to Portland, Ore., putting in some serious time at Portland’s Culinary Institute, Marc later graduating to an apprenticeship at an artisan bakery in that same town, and Jennifer to a high-end chocolate shop.

Then came a world tour a couple of years ago (and an inspiring encounter with a Parisian bakery), and, soon after, a longing to settle back in their home region. As everyone knows, it’s tough to find work in Siskiyou County, but you can always take a shot at creating your own job.

Fast forward to June 6, 2018, when Marc and Jennifer opened their own bakery, the Dough Hook in Dunsmuir, which has become a destination stop for folks living up and down the I-5 corridor.

Last Sunday, a small group of preregistered participants were led into the bakery’s inner sanctum, a small room where the baking is done, to hear Marc talk about how he makes his bread and other products, while some buns in an oven were baking to a golden brown.

It was part of a weeklong Siskiyou Science Fair, organized by Jessica Matthews of the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center. One big theme of the event was “the science behind the magic,” showing, for example, the science behind the “magic” of distilling whiskey and other spirits (at Denny Bar in Etna); the science behind magic tricks (demonstrated by a Mr. Fish The Magician, who flew in from New York); and the science behind the magic of yeast, in the talk by Mr. Garcia.

Appropriately, Marc started with some sleight of hand, deftly turning a single wad of dough at various times into a hoagie, a bread stick, and a bread ball.

Then it was on to a serious discussion of some bakery basics: ingredients (water, flour, yeast); why it’s important to get that nice brown crust (seals in moisture); why you knead the dough before it goes into the oven (to maximize nourishment for all those hungry yeast particles).

And there was much more, packed into another half hour, but what shone through was this baker’s enthusiasm for his work, what Marc described as the challenge of “solving a puzzle” that involves juggling ingredients, temperatures and baking times.

“We’re pretty simple people,” Jennifer had told me earlier. “And we’ve been lucky to find that we have a talent for something that’s turned into a creative outlet.”

For her, that involves specializing in the shop’s pastries and working with something called “fondant,” which she describes as “an edible play dough.” She molds it into sunflowers and bows and other ornaments for her cakes.

It’s a creative outlet that also involves getting up at 3 a.m. five days a week – and, in the process, bringing a little taste of Paris to an old railroad town.

The Dough Hook is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, at 5853 Sacramento Ave. in Dunsmuir.