I finally had the opportunity to collaborate with Sarah from Spring Hill Bakery earlier this week. I first met her and her family last year (I think) at our local farmers market. Ive been wanting to document her baking for a couple of months now, and finally had the chance.
I also did a little Q and A with Sarah, so you can learn more about how she got starting!! Enjoy, and find her on Facebook and give her a like (Spring Hill Bakery). If you are local, check out where her bread stand is weekly and grab some goods!! I highly recommend the chocolate chip espresso cookies and the molasses cookies!!
When did you start baking?
I started baking for fun in high school. Mostly cookies, pies, and cakes, but eventually I found my way to bread. Gramma always made her Aunt Ruby’s ice box rolls for holidays, Aunt Nancy made popovers, and Mom and Aunt Teena really got into the sourdough, so I was always learning by watching or helping.
Who inspired you to start baking?
It was a lot of people. Mostly my mom, gramma and aunts, but also watching food documentaries and visiting bakeries. My great-gramma was a baker during the Great Depression. I never met her, but learning about her story really made me want to bake too.
Who or what is your inspiration now?
I think now it’s just an increasing desire to try new things. I’m constantly reading magazine articles (Food & Wine, Sift, Bake, Bon Appetite, etc.), visiting other bakeries to see how they do things, watching videos on how to improve technique, and trying new ingredients and wondering how it would be if it was a bread.
When did you fall in love with baking?
The second the aroma filled the air the first time I was baking something. That was it for me. And I love sitting in front of the oven and peeking in the window to watch it change. It’s magic. And then you get to eat it. Here’s the thing. I was born on Thanksgiving Day. Cooking and baking has been and always will be my favorite topic. I think it’s inherent. Destiny, even.
When did you decide you wanted to start your own business?
Back when we were in CA, I was making cookies and pies for friends, taking things to parties, and whatever I brought always seemed to disappear quickly. Shortly before we decided to move, I was in the beginning stages of starting a cookie company out there. That got put on hold when we moved out here. About 5 months after we settled in (March/April 2015), I met someone who can the local famers market, and found that it wasn’t really expensive. By this time, I was baking bread every week, so it seemed like a good idea to at least sign up for one season and see where it went. I didn’t know at the time that it would be met with so much enthusiasm. When it was, I decided to keep going and make it a real thing.
What’s your favorite thing to bake?
It’s always changing. I like experimenting with new things, figuring out how to add things to my current breads to make new ones. Also, any time I figure out a family recipe I’ve never made before, I love it. Most recent one I’ve mastered is my gramma’s molasses sugar cookies. They were always my favorite growing up. I hope I never grow tired of them.
Who is your favorite baker or chef?
Alton Brown is the first one who comes to mind. I’m slightly and also completely obsessed with Alton. I watched his show Good Eats starting in high school and I learned a lot about the chemistry of food. The how and the why. I still refer back to his show or blog if I can’t figure something out or want to try something new.
The second is Dominique Crenn. I saw a documentary about her a while back and she is just amazing. She’s so adventurous with flavors and her excitement and passion about food is infectious. If I ever get a chance to go to her restaurant in San Francisco, I’d be thrilled.
What do you find the most challenging about baking?
There are so many different variables that go into being. Even the weather can affect how something come out. Learning how to work with that has been a challenge. It also requires quite a bit of stamina to bake on a larger scale. Baking up to 50 loaves a day wears you out. I love it though. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment when a bake come out of the oven and everything is perfect. I love the challenge.
Sarah, thanks again for letting me come and hang out and take these shots!!! I hope I can come over again soon!!