Dawn Hilterbrand can thank her colicky baby for the inspiration to launch her new home-based business: Dough Ray Me Bakery. Hilterbrand, who was up from 3 a.m. to about 8 a.m. on a regular basis, turned to baking as a way to get through those restless nights.
She baked into the early morning, indulging her family and friends with made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls, pull-apart pumpkin spice bread and monkey bread.
"At first, I just gave it away," says Hilterbrand, a mother of four small children. "But soon people started asking for it and things just took off."
Hilterbrand is among the newest home-based bakers whose products are gaining a following. The state's new cottage food law that makes it easier for people to cook at home and sell what they make is bound to inspire others.
Hilterbrand and business partner Lindsey Orcutt already have outgrown their kitchen and bake several days a week using the kitchen at a local church in Madera Ranchos.
So far, their biggest source of customers is coming from their Facebook page — Dough Ray Me Bakery — and from word of mouth. They gained nearly 200 Facebook likes in about two weeks. They also sell several of their products at the Coffee Spot, 37164 Ave. 12, in Madera.
"People have really responded well," Hilterbrand said. "And I have to say, it is a little embarrassing sometimes, especially when I introduce myself and people already know me as the cinnamon roll lady."
Hilterbrand and Orcutt pride themselves on baking from scratch, not using premixes and few, if any, processed ingredients. Their buttery cinnamon rolls, sweet-smelling pumpkin spice pull-apart bread and soft, sticky monkey bread are favorites among their customers. They also plan to make pies for Thanksgiving.
Dough Ray Me Bakery delivers to your home, for a nominal fee, and free to your office. They generally deliver on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Check their Facebook page for ordering information.
Hilterbrand and Orcutt don't plan on opening a brick-and-mortar bakery, at least not yet. They are happy with the flexibility of working from home. That's a feeling shared by other bakers and candy makers who also are seeing demand for their products grow.
Serena Locatelli of Mammarella's Sweets and Treats got her start making candy bars and cupcakes for her children's birthday parties. Friends and families were so impressed with her colorful designs and imaginative cookie and cupcake creations that she was encouraged to try to make it a business.
That was a few years ago. Locatelli is now working nearly every weekend baking and creating for birthday parties, weddings and other events. She specializes in creating a dessert buffet that is loaded with sweet stuff, including cupcakes, cookies and candy apples.
Locatelli's goal is to one day make baking and creating a full-time job.
"I never really thought this business would grow this much," she says. "And I don't even advertise."
Sheryl Lynn Bavoso, creator of Tutie's Fabulous English Toffee, says people like homemade goods and candies because they are made with a great attention to detail and quality.
"We make these things like we were making it for our friends and family," Bavoso said. "We put our heart into it."
Bavoso's toffee has been in demand for several years. She started making the rich, flavored toffee after being laid off from a job and it has continued as a part-time business. She also can be found on Facebook at Tutie's Fabulous English Toffee Candy — Homemade by Sheryl.
"It is a lot of work sometimes," Bavoso says. "But it makes me feel good to know that people really like it and appreciate it."
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