Baking before it was “cool”

I have loved baking as far back as my memory goes. I’m not really sure what it is about baking that caught my heart. Sure, I baked mini cupcakes for tea parties with my grandma in her kitchen; but, there wasn’t anyone in my family who was particularly a “baker” or “chef” by trade. My family is the “cook/bake just because we need to eat” type of family, but I have a deeper love for it.

I remember my world of baking opened up significantly when my parents upgraded our cable tv subscription and we began to get the Food Network. This was probably around 1997. When I got home from school I’d turn it on and just watch anything and everything. I specifically remember my favorite show called “Sweet Dreams” with Gale Gand. It aired in 2000 and it’s highly likely that I’m the only person besides Gale herself who remembers that show. I mean, I can pretty certainly say I’m the only one who watched that show so religiously at 10 years old that I still remember the name of it 23 years later.

It didn’t take me long to begin dreaming of having a KitchenAid mixer to mix up all kinds of delicious treats. I asked for it for multiple years as a “Christmas/birthday present” (an added benefit of having a birthday less than a month after Christmas). Finally, Christmas of 2000 I got my KitchenAid. My parents thought I was a bit nuts using up the entire Christmas/birthday budget on this sole item….after all, not even the adults in my family owned one. But man, that thing was put to immediate use.

The first thing I made in my brand new perfect cobalt blue KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer was a batch of lemon bars out of a new cookbook. Since then, that mixer has stood the test of time and made too many batches of cookies, cakes, and treats to count. My family can attest that we all loved nothing more on a Friday night than when I’d decide to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies because there’s no better way to say “hello weekend” than a fresh batch of cookies. My chocolate chip cookies became so iconic in our family that my sister asked me to make them for her wedding reception. Cookies for 350+ people, my dream come true.

Fast forward to now – my mom has and still uses my original KitchenAid and I have a newer one that looks identical. My deepest love still belongs to cookie baking (I even took a class on the science of cookies recently with one of my favorite bakers, and was able to create my very own cookie recipe from scratch), but it turns out that cookies aren’t exactly the most nutrient dense thing to make and eat constantly. I was looking for a way to get in the kitchen with my mixer but in a way that didn’t add ten extra pounds to my waist or extra sugar to my kids.

As my kids entered into toddlerhood and sandwiches became our lunch staple, I realized that bread could be that vessel. I wanted to control the quality of what they were consuming in our bread products just as I do the rest of our food, and it would get me in the kitchen baking often. I love eliminating preservatives and learning the skills that come with making food from scratch, so I entered into sourdough baking and loved it. It has opened my world in a wonderful way. It can be made into bread, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, bagels, pancakes, you name it. On my search for the perfect pb&j sandwich bread, I’ve also branched into yeast breads. Making buns, sandwich bread, dinner rolls, and more. The options are endless, it’s surprisingly simple, and it allows me to use my beloved KitchenAid to serve my family in a slightly more productive way than only cookies.

I hope that my kids and husband one day look at that KitchenAid and see a flood of memories come back to them of all the things that were made in it, just as my parents and sister do. I look forward to sharing my love of baking with you all and pray that it will inspire you to get in your kitchen, learn a new skill, and learn to serve your family in that way. If the smell of freshly baked bread brings my future adult children right back to their childhood when they smell it, that will be a massive success for me.

Until next time,

  1. Danielle says:

    Love this so much and your passion for baking. “The smell of fresh baked bread bringing them right back to their childhood.” <— absolute perfection and makes me want to do this too!

  2. Whitney says:

    Thanks for always sharing your favorite recipes with me even if you can’t share the actual treats from afar…

  3. Lauren says:

    I love getting updates of what you’re baking- you give me so much inspiration on things to create in my own kitchen

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