Loaves in the time of Corona

Salt Lake's Cottage Bakeries

Remember when quarantine was less of an unending hellscape and more of a novelty? The early months were a blur of TikTok coffee trends, wondering if Carol Baskin fed her first husband to tigers, and wiping banana bread crumbs off of our new athleisure sweatpants. Perhaps fueled by days long binges of The Great British Baking Show, (or by legitimate shortages of basic food items at the grocery store,) many of us felt called to dust off our ovens. Let’s not kid each other, we made one sorry sourdough loaf at best and went crawling back to the mercy of GrubHub. 

Luckily for us, a few local foodies transformed the “bake-at-home-just-to-feel-something” phase of quarantine into a full-blown cottage bakery. Mims craft artisan breads out of their home kitchen, while Powder Peak Sweets and Chubby Baker have perfected pastries and donuts. With easy no-contact pick-up and delivery options and delightful weekly offerings, these bakers are making the pandemic a little less painful — one home-baked goodie at a time.

Mims SLC

Thy Vu and Tripp Mims began baking bread for their friends and family in March 2020. Tripp, a trained chef, dreamed of sharing warm loaves with homes across the valley and this quickly became a reality as word-of-mouth and social media helped spread the word. Vu says, “I think this last year people were naturally on their phones more, trying to connect with loved ones. I often chat and have developed some really meaningful friendships through this business.”  

Mims views bread as a tool for connection, but also as a jumping-off point for community engagement and service. Vu explains, “Social justice and service are integral to my personal life, so naturally I wanted to do something with the bakery and community that has welcomed us in. I have been able to find ways to connect with our followers/patrons and raise funds for Black Visions Collective, Covid Mutual Aid, The Conscious Kid, and Utah Refugee Connection.”

Mims currently offers an assortment of boules and baguettes, including country white, seeded polenta, sourdough, and everything (as in Everything Bagel seasoning.) They’ve been known to throw a special in the rotation, such as cotija squid ink or turmeric and sesame. The bakers enjoy using seasonal ingredients when possible, such as garden-fresh tomatoes, basil, and jalapenños. In addition to bread, Mims has a selection of cookies and a unique (and very popular,) brioche sourdough donut called the “Sourdoughnie.” 

The best way to keep up with Mims is through their Instagram, where they share new offerings and behind-the-scenes tidbits. You can order via their website (www.mimsslc.com,) which allows you to select products and choose a time for pickup or delivery. All orders are made fresh the morning of the date chosen — meaning you could click, click, click, and be slicing into a still-warm loaf. And yes, that is an innuen-dough.

Powder Peak Sweets

Jayden Brennan had no idea that small batch baking in her home would lead to demand for an established cottage bakery. Working full-time as a clinical researcher from home, she found herself balancing baking for enjoyment with her regular work schedule. In August 2020,  Powder Peak Sweets was officially launched, allowing Brennan to connect with a growing pool of customers all over Salt Lake. Brennan says, “I like to stay connected with my community by becoming friends with local bakers and participating when we can at events where we can bring our baked goods for people to try,” adding, “We would love to get involved with our community more by using our baking to fundraise for causes we believe in.”

The primary “sweet” that Powder Peak offers is the infamous cronut. If you’re unfamiliar, a cronut is made from a laminated, croissant-like dough which is then fried donut style and glazed or rolled in sugar. Powder Peak makes these fluffy pillows even more tempting by featuring new flavors each week — recent flavors have included chocolate raspberry jam, maple, and s’mores. If you’d prefer another type of pastry, Powder Peaks also features a rotating cast of cookies, cupcakes, and pies. All treats are baked fresh and available for contact-free delivery or pickup. 

Chubby Baker

Chubby Baker began with a craving for a donut. Not just any glazed or chocolate sprinkle donut — a donut with Asian flavors such as passionfruit and coconut. Ying, the founder of Chubby Baker, couldn’t leave her house due to Covid restrictions, so she decided to fulfill her craving by making her own donuts. She says “I have always had this idea of wanting to create something that is American-Asian fusion.” Ying baked donuts every day for a two week period before sharing with friends and family. She then started selling to the community and not long after, in September 2020, Chubby Baker was born. 

Though there have been some learning curves and growing pains involved in baking from home, Ying has grown to have fun and connect with others with her baked-goods side-hustle. She says, “I've never imagined myself as a baker, but after starting this bakery during Covid-19 I became aware of the potential of what I'm capable of and what I can become in the future.” Ying has been able to connect with other bakers and food enthusiasts via social media, who inspire and uplift one another by sharing about their life experiences and bonding over delicious eats. She says, “I think making more friends and helping each other grow is the best part of this bakery.” 

The best part of Chubby Baker for customers is, of course, her Asian fusion goodies. Their most popular offerings are cream-filled donuts with unique flavors such as black sugar boba tea and salted egg. Chubby Baker’s menu also includes coconut cake, gooey chocolate cake, and mango passionfruit cheese cups. To order for contact-free delivery or pickup, visit www.chubby-baker.com. Be sure to follow along on Instagram as well, where all kinds of (potentially NSFW) donut action happens.

Baked goods may just be the elixir needed to bust up your stay-at-home blues. Ordering from one of Salt Lake’s cottage bakeries means much more than a bready bundle appearing at your doorstep — it’s a meaningful way to connect to your community. Until we can break bread in person again, go with the dough and support a local baker. 

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