For Alyssa and Teddy Applebaum, it’s all about the grain.
“Once people get introduced to it, it’s just like anything else that we’ve adopted and gotten really excited about that seemed weird 20 years ago, but now everybody gets it,” Teddy says. “There’s like 20 varieties of coffee and everybody talks about their variety of coffee, and we don’t do that with grain, but we can get there. At some point, they’re going to understand there’s some reason why they want this variety of wheat. There’s a lot of room to geek out.”
Grain will be the backbone of Elmendorf Baking Supplies, a home baking equipment and ingredient shop that the married couple hopes to open in Cambridge or Somerville this year. They envision the store as a haven where bakers of all skill levels can get the supplies and knowledge they need to create delicacies from all over the world.
The two learned an appreciation for high-quality ingredients while working at Formaggio Kitchen, where they both got jobs despite having no culinary training. Teddy started delivering cheese at the shop, and the pair jumped through various culinary jobs from there. They recall how Alyssa tracked down Belgian pearl sugar and wrote an impassioned blog post to help it sell, sparking local interest in making waffles with the ingredient.
Teddy is now a junior sous chef at Oleana and Alyssa manages Baldor Specialty Food’s produce department in Eataly. But for the past two years the couple has dreamed of throwing their savings into making Elmendorf Baking Supplies—a name modeled off the bakery that Alyssa’s great-great-grandparents owned Germany—a reality. Dedication to that goal ripples through their lives, from choosing to live with several roommates to keep rent expenses down to spending much of their time outside of their jobs chipping away at Elmendorf.
Places including Formaggio Kitchen have the cooking side of things covered, but the pair notices a baking gap for their store to fill.
“There’s a lot of kitchen stores in the area, but their baking sections definitely lack,” Alyssa says.
“They kind of shove it in the corner, it’s secondary,” Teddy adds. “They’ll have a lot of equipment you need, but almost no ingredients, there’s no connection. We want you to care about the flour that’s going to go into the bread you’re making, and not just the pan. It seems like that disconnect doesn’t exist in savory as much as it does in the sweet world.”
Alyssa and Teddy aim to provide all the tools and knowledge that people need to dive into world baking. The pair have scoured shelves and sites for the best cookbooks from a variety of cultures—some of which they’ll stock in their store—and have fallen for baked goods outside of the mainstream U.S. canon. They’ll help people learn to make dishes like ma’amoul (a Middle Eastern cookie filled with date paste) and Chinese mooncakes, and will offer up the necessary tools that are hard to find locally, such as moulds.
Teddy and Alyssa will order an Austrian mill from the store so they can grind grain onsite. Their whole grain will be more flavorful and more nutritious than most of what is on supermarket shelves, they explain. Customers will be able to join a grain share at Elmendorf to periodically receive milled grain and recipes.
The couple plans to have a kitchen in Elmendorf where they can have local experts teach everything from cake baking 101 to cooking moulding to pasta making.
“We like community, and we really want to build a community in the area for bakers,” Alyssa says. “You walk into gather here in Inman Square, and it’s very much a community for crafters. It’s nice to teach people, it’s exciting when people come in and they may not have seen something before, or may not know how to bake, and you can introduce them to something that excites them.”
Alyssa and Teddy are launching a Kickstarter next week for the shop with a Pi Day fundraiser at Lamplighter Brewing Co. on March 14.
Want to learn more about Elmendorf Baking Supplies? Visit Alyssa and Teddy at one of their pop-ups this spring!
March 14: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Lamplighter Brewery, Pi(e) Day Pop-Up **Kickstarter Launch!**
March 24: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Siena Farms, Boston Public Market (making Liege waffles)
March 25: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Night Shift Brewing (making Liege waffles)
March 31: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Cambridge Winter Farmers Market (Easter treats)
April 7: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Siena Farms, Boston Public Market (making Liege waffles)
April 8: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Longfellows (pop-tart pop-up)
April 14: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mystic Brewery (making Liege waffles)
Update 3/16/18: Find the Kickstarter here.