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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Flour power: Locally owned bakeries in Brazos Valley

The+exterior+of+Muriels+GF+Bakery+in+Bryan%2C+Texas+on+Saturday%2C+June+25%2C+2022.
Photo by Cameron Johnson

The exterior of Muriel’s GF Bakery in Bryan, Texas on Saturday, June 25, 2022.

Life is what you ‘bake’ it, and in the Brazos Valley, local bakeries are tirelessly honing their craft to make delicious creations.

Working as a baker could mean working early hours, weekends and holidays for a median pay of $29,750 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the amount of work that is required to maintain a bakery, a passion for work is essential. Located in Bryan and College Station, three local bakeries, Muriel’s Gluten Free Bakery, Peace Love & Cakes and Zeitman’s Grocery Store, each have their own story. 
Steffany Bowling started Peace Love & Cakes, an online bakery, in 2012 and said she was inspired by her grandmother’s recipes.

 

“My grandmother was always in the kitchen and I would be in the kitchen with her a lot, so it came very naturally to me,” Bowling said. “Everything I do is so much more than cake for me and I also pride myself on doing everything from scratch.”

Bowling said having an online store opposed to a physical storefront allows her to manage responsibilities as a mother and keep prices low. 

“People still want to be able to have special and pretty cakes for their kids or their wedding, and not having a storefront means I don’t have all that overhead, extra rent or employees,” Bowling said. “It helps me to produce quality work and something that’s really cool that you may not be able to get in a small town.”

Out of everything she has baked, Bowling said her favorite was a life-sized Dixie Chicken table cake at Peach Creek Ranch for a wedding. 
“It was so funny because, when we dropped it off, people were coming up and putting their hands on it like they thought it was a table,” Bowling said. “The bride and groom said their first date was there and they had etched their name into the side of one of the tables, so I replicated that exact etching onto the side of their groom’s cake. It has a special meaning for them.”

For special orders, Bowling said customers can send an email to [email protected] to discuss detailed requests and pricing. 

Muriel Mathieu opened Muriel’s Gluten Free Bakery in 2018 and said the bakery can create allergen-free products of all kinds while strictly avoiding cross contamination.

“We are being pushed to elaborate on more recipes because some people are allergic to corn, potatoes or you have kids that can’t eat tree nuts,” Mathieu said. “It’s not only gluten free. We are going to try to accommodate other allergen friendly options as well.”
Mathieu said her bakery regularly has goods in-store while also selling products at other local businesses.
“We sell at Village foods, Sweet Eugene’s [and] Zeitman’s,” Mathieu said. “We try to make some [baked goods] regularly every weekend and bring them to the shop.”

Stephanie Perez is one of the bakers at Muriel’s bakery and said she was excited to work in an environment where women are helping each other. 

“What interested me when I had an interview with [Mathieu] was that she explained to me that she wanted this to be woman-owned and women-run,” Perez said. “That really was an interest to me because you don’t see a whole lot of that.”

Perez said Muriel’s sells goods both at a market located at 2861 FM 974 in Bryan and at other locations, though for special orders, the best way to contact Muriel’s is to call (979) 571-2940.

“We try to do a market on Thursday and Friday that’s available to the public,” Perez said. “Other than that, we manufacture for Brookshire Brothers, Farm Patch, Zeitman’s, Village Foods and more. We supply stuff there that customers can go and buy unless it’s a special order.”

Blake Zeitman is the co-owner of Zeitman’s Grocery Store in Downtown Bryan, and said his goods are a mixture of many different cultures.

“Zeitman’s is a mishmash of my life, my roots and my experiences in life. We have Jewish deli, Italian deli and there’s some Mediterranean food thrown in,” Zeitman said. “We take all the things that I grew up eating and then my experiences in life, like traveling throughout Italy. Plus, I worked for a Greek guy, so we make a little bit of Greek stuff as well.”

Zeitman said one of its specialties are the bagels they make fresh every morning and its recipe combines both the past and present. 
“The original recipe was written a long time ago and was obviously using different products. So in order to turn it into a 21st century product, we had to adapt it.” Zeitman said. “We’ve had help from people like Steffany from Peace Love & Cakes, Muriel from Muriel’s Gluten Free Bakery and my original baker Sage. They’ve done an amazing job putting everything together.”

Some of Zeitman’s specialties include cinnamon rolls that are “the size of your face” and banana bread, Zeitman said.

“It is the best banana bread in the world. I will put it up against anybody’s grandma’s banana bread,” Zeitman said. “You’ll be sad that your grandparents didn’t make as good a banana bread as my mom’s.”
Orders can be placed ahead of time by calling 979-676-7885, and Zeitman said they want to continue growing Zeitman’s Grocery Store with other storefront locations.
“We’d love to expand our wholesale catering,” Zeitman said. “We’d also love to have an express place with an expanded coffee service and a mini-version, less like a grocery [store] and more like a quick deli.”
 

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  • Brazos Valley has a wide variety of bakeries catering to locals, including gluten free and online stores.

    Photo by Cameron Johnson

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