Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
“Have you ever been to the Alpine Bread Lady?” asked JT Maroney, publisher of the newspaper you’re reading right now. I had never even heard of such a person before he asked. He forwarded me the email that contained what items were available in her home bakery, and so we set out on a mission to find the Bread Lady.
Taste and See Bakery, open for about six years now (for two hours every other Thursday), is owned by Ginger Hillery. After learning the health benefits of freshly-milled grains shortly before the birth of her daughter Rose (who’s now 16 and her assistant in the bakery), she decided it was time to take control of her family’s nutrition.
While living on a farm in Virginia, Ginger was able to purchase her own mill in exchange for milk from her milk cow for one year. She grinds all of the wheat for her baking, and uses local, organic, and non-GMO ingredients in her home bakery. The passing of the Cottage Food Law in Texas enabled her to follow her passion and to share her love of baking good, wholesome food with the public.
Ginger wakes up no later than 3 a.m. to get started on baking day. In addition to different artisan traditional and rustic breads, she also makes cakes, cookies, pizza dough and many other items. If you get on her email list, she sends out the “menu” a few days ahead but you have to respond quickly to the email to reserve the fresh-baked items you want to purchase.
Ginger prepares a batch of sourdough for baking.
We arrived shortly after 4 p.m. (bakery hours are 4-6 p.m.) and she told us she’d already sold 150 loaves of bread by 9 a.m. that day, through email responses.
We tasted a fantastic Spelt Rye Caraway bread and Milk and Honey bread, both of which had already been sold out. We tasted Spelt Brownie Bites, Spelt Chocolate Chip cookies and Spelt Ginger cookies. We took home Ginger’s Vegan Almond Raisin Granola and frozen wheat rolls to bake later.
Above, a Brownie Bite on the left, and Chocolate Chip (top right) and Ginger (bottom right) cookies. Below, Ginger holds one of her loaves of Spelt Almond Raisin Rye bread.
Next time, we’ll get a jump on the early ordering. To contact Ginger, email her at email@example.com
Before 2011, it was illegal to sell any food you made in your home kitchen. In September 2011, through the efforts of home-bakers, the Cottage Law was passed and many folks were able to fulfill their dreams of baking goods to sell at local farmer’s markets and community events. What a treat it was to be able to purchase homemade goodies, and the weekend markets soon popped up all over the place. Home bakeries were finally legal.
The Cottage Law enables people to sells pre-approved food items that they make at home. There are quite a few rules and regulations to follow, and not just any kind of food can be sold. The items can be sold at farmer’s markets, farm stands, non-profit fairs, festivals and events or your home. Items that can be made by home bakers and sold to the public under the Cottage Law include: baked goods that don’t require refrigeration like bread, cookies, brownies and cake; pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake or pumpkin muffins; candy; coated and uncoated nuts; unroasted nut butters; fruit butters, fruit jams or fruit jellies with a natural pH of 4.6 or less; fruit pies and pecan pie; dehydrated fruits and vegetables; popcorn and popcorn snacks; dry cereal including granola; dry mixes; vinegar; cucumber pickles; mustard, roasted coffee or dry tea and dried herbs or herb mixes (like brisket rubs).
Examples of foods not allowed (and there are many more) are any items that require refrigeration to keep from spoiling; pumpkin pie, custard pie, meringue pie or meat pies; cheesecake; tamales; casseroles and other hot meals; flan; salsa and other canned tomato products; beef jerky; whole fruit covered in chocolate/caramel or candy coating; homemade vanilla extract; beverages in liquid form (dry is okay), kombucha or dried pasta.
Anyone who wants to sell their homemade goods needs to take a food handler’s course and have their card available if asked for it. For more information about the Cottage Food Law in Texas and how you can fulfill your dream of being a home baker, visit www.texascottagefoodlaw.com.
Simple Spelt Bread
(inspired by Taste and See Bakery’s goodies)
8 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/4 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together the spelt flour, sesame seeds, salt, molasses, baking soda and milk until it’s well blended. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden.