Hannah Sadler said that she didn’t mean to do it. Honest.
It was all one big accident, but one, that gave life to a New Year’s Resolution Sadler had made to herself, and brought a fresh, sourdough bakery to downtown Springfield, to boot.
It was January of last year, that Sadler, who wasn’t necessarily finding her job to be as fulfilling as she’d like, was looking to learn something new, just for herself.
And while she can’t recall the exact details of how it began, she believes it was the simple scroll across an Internet social feed that directed her to a new goal. Making sourdough bread.
Sadler said she was already a pretty decent cook, but baking would be a different endeavor, and if she was going to go for it, she might as well learn to bake the most challenging — sourdough.
That decision inadvertently landed her as one of Springfield’s downtown businesses, located at 202 8th Ave., operating what is now known as the Grain + Honey Bake Shop, which just this past week celebrated its one-year anniversary as a storefront.
“I’m an accidental entrepreneur,” Sadler explained. “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
But it did.
She took on baking as a mere hobby, by first learning to make her own sourdough starter — a specific method of mixing flour and water together over several days to create what is needed for the bread to rise and give it the flavor desired.
It’s a process that takes patience, according to Sadler.
“It was breads first — sourdough breads,” she said. “You know what they say: ‘cooking is an art, but baking is a science.’ And that’s so true.”
That’s because so many factors play into baking sourdough bread, she explained: room temperature, moisture levels in the air, temperature of ingredients when added, and how active the starter is.
“I do love a challenge, and sourdough is very challenging,” Sadler added. “Sourdough has taught me as much about patience as my son does.”
The pivotal moment, however, was when she stumbled across a sourdough cinnamon roll recipe that made her husband realize his wife had more than just a hobby on her hands.
“He ate the bread,” Sadler said. “But the sourdough cinnamon rolls caught his attention.”
Her baking then transitioned into a home-based business, where she gained regular customers, resulting in her going part-time at her regular job, to inevitably leaving all together to put on the baker’s hat full-time.
Sadler said she wasn’t sure how to market the business, but it began pretty much by the community sharing images of her products from her social media pages. Soon, residents began ordering via online messaging, with Sadler selling her first loaf to a neighbor.
In October of 2019 it transitioned into the downtown storefront, in what Sadler describes as a “community-supported bakery.” She said upon learning online of her business potentially opening downtown, residents helped raise $4,000 so she could purchase a commercial mixer.
“Most of them were customers of mine,” she explained. “That was sure validating — the fact that they didn’t get anything in return.”
Today, that mixer is an integral part of making most of the yummies that Grain + Honey Bake Shop offers. Sourdough is the main menu item, of course, available in a host of flavors including honey wheat and three-cheese.
Patrons can also indulge in different sourdough bagels and baguettes, and the shop even offers foundational baked goods, like cookies, muffins, brownies and seasonal donuts.
“Of course, our cinnamon rolls (sourdough) are a staple in our shop,” Sadler noted.
Also on the menu are gluten-free and vegan options, sourdough pizza dough balls, and macarons, all available with a Cup of Joe, if so inclined.
“It’s been like awesome because the old customers transitioned to my storefront. They are regulars,” Sadler said.
Since opening, Sadler said she and her team have had the privilege of meeting many in the community, and those who are so appreciative that she set up shop downtown.
With that, she said wants to give back to the community that’s been so good to her.
Most recently, for instance, when bread shelves quickly became depleted in local stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sadler said she and her team worked in overtime to bake hundreds of loaves of white bread.
White bread is something they don’t typically make, she said, but it was important because the community was in need.
“The goal is to provide fresh bread for everybody who wants it,” added Sadler, about the bakery. “We are going to be here as long as the community will have us. I feel very hopeful in the business I have stumbled into.”
For more information about Grain + Honey Bake Shop and store hours, go to www.grainandhoneybakeshop.com, as well as @grainandhoneybakeshop on Facebook and Instagram, or call (615) 212-8895.