The Gift of Baking

What do Patti, Alicia, John and Christopher have in common? Besides their passion for baking, their names are connected to some of the most popular bakeries in the Twin Cities.

Patti - owner of Yum! Kitchen and Bakery

Alicia - pastry chef and co-owner of the Buttered Tin

John - owner of Patisserie 46

Christopher - head bread baker at  Rustica Bakery

When asking moms around the world about introducing their children to the kitchen (see my post here), they all said that the kids' favorite thing was to bake. Some like to get involved only with small things like cracking the eggs, other follow a recipe end to end but no matter their degree of involvement or age all kids love baking. It's tasting the sugar, mixing the ingredients, shaping the dough, watching it grow in the oven and eating the yummy result. What can be a better reward for the job?

Some bakers find their passion in their mom's kitchen, others find their call for baking by accident but they all couldn't imagine doing anything else. And we love them for this as the result of their hard work and creativity puts us in a good mood each time we step into their bakeries.

What inspired you to become a baker?

Patti: I have loved baking for as long as I can remember. As a child my mom inspired me and allowed me to make a mess in the kitchen. She encouraged me to bake and never got upset when I trashed our kitchen. 
I always cleaned up but I was really messy!
I began taking cooking classes as soon as I was old enough. I took classes at community centers, schools and eventually at stores like Cooks Of Crocus Hill or Kitchen Window. Often I was by far the youngest in the class but it really motivated me.

Alicia What inspires me as a baker?  Well, I think initially what inspired me is my grandmother and her love for cooking and baking.  She used to say that she would love to bake all day if she had enough people to feed.  I used to think that was archaic thinking but then I realized, at an older age, that this is exactly how I felt.  Now what inspires me are other great chefs, delicious food, designs from anywhere and anything.  

JohnThe beauty and the tactile touch that it take be a baker.

Christopher:  I discovered bread while living abroad in Germany. Prior to crossing the Atlantic, I ate your typical loaves found in the supermarket, never paying attention to where or how they are made. In Germany that is a different story, where the smell of fresh bread is prevalent and finding a bakery is as simple as taking a stroll down any street, any direction. I became enamored with their bread culture - the popularity of whole grain and hearty breads and brotzeit, the meal where bread is the vessel for everything you have in your fridge. Upon my return to the US, baking became a hobby as I missed a good German pretzel. Eventually it just clicked that baking was where my heart was.

What baking  gifts would you recommend for the Minnesotan children?
Patti:  To give a child the gift of education is in my opinion the greatest gift of all.

Alicia: I would say a small set of decorating tips and offset spatulas.  These will get you on your way to learning how make creative cakes.

JohnBaking classes are great!

Christopher:There aren't any baking kits or classes I can think of off the top of my head. In terms of DIY baking kit ideas, I would suggest tools for a beginner bread such as a soda bread, which are items that are typically found in the household: measuring cups and spoons, a wooden spoon and bowl. Soda breads are pretty simple and straightforward breads to make that require no yeast. For a beginner turned serious baker the one tool I would highly recommend is a small kitchen scale, as weight will always provide a greater measure of accuracy and thus success over volume measurements.

Moms, next time you're baking ask your kids to join you and don't dread the messy kitchen in the end but think of the tasty treats your creating together. You may be raising a future great baker!

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