Passion: Appreciating the beauty in all aspects of baking.
Jani’s kitchen is a place where great care and attention are placed upon every loaf of bread, batch of cookies, and tray of pastries that come from the oven. Jani has a long history of baking and cooking, with many memories of her family spending hours working together in the home to create art in their own individual ways. Jani recounts the impact that her father had on her while he pursued his own passion of capturing the beauty in the nature surrounding him. Through our conversation, it was evident that Jani has immense respect for the investments that her family made into the lives of one another, and she reciprocates that investment in her own young family and the work she does with her small business bakery.
As expected, Jani appreciates the community that has been brought to her through selling her baked goods, and she enjoys getting to know her customers through porch pickup and the retail spaces in Local Roots (Wooster) and Walkie Talkie Coffee (Canton).
In our conversation, you will hear a gracious and grateful spirit in all of Jani’s words and actions. She is truly the ‘neighborhood baker’ that all of us imagine when we think fondly upon the past and how times would have been slower, more intentional, and more relational. Jani has a heart for noticing the important beauty of her surroundings, and it is evident in the products that she creates with her hands.
“My dad was an artist, and he would be really proud of me for sharing my passion with others. He passed away four years ago. He did fine art and did a lot of landscape painting, and I can remember even back when I was a little girl that he would always have a camera with him. We would go hiking, and if he saw the sun coming through the clouds a certain way, he would stop to get a photo. Or, maybe there was a unique bird in a tree. Or, he happened to realize the way that the light hit something, or there was a small detail that was beautiful to him. As I grew up in that environment, it really made me appreciate the beauty of a moment. Now, as I am cracking open an egg, I can be taken aback by the beautiful orange of the yolk.”
“My passion is seeing beauty in the everyday. With sourdough bread, it is a three day process, and there is so much that happens in that process. I could just let it set out and leave it alone, but I take advantage of really noticing what is happening within that time.”
“I’ve always been interested in health; I have a Community Health Education degree. I’ve loved learning about the human body and the relationship with health. I especially focus on the importance of sourdough and how the body can digest that so much better than other breads. I want to make food, especially bread, that is easily digestible for my kids and family.”
“Looking back, I was the kid in the fourth grade science fair who was making bread. So I’ve always been baking.”
“I grew up in the Sugar Creek area, and I was homeschooled from fifth grade through tenth grade, so I spent a lot of time learning in the kitchen. My mom was always a really good cook and baker. She taught my sister and I everything she knew. My sister is also a baker; she works with Deli Ohio in Canton.”
“All of my kids have their own little things that they like to do in the kitchen. Our older boys will fold all of the bakery boxes for me, and my daughter mixes up dry ingredients, and my other son helps in any way he can. They all love to help in the kitchen.”
“Balancing work and life has been tough for me. I am a self-starter and a hard worker, but I need to be aware that I do not need to let work take over my life. Especially, since it takes place here at home. I am grateful for how busy I have been, but I know that I need to have boundaries around my work.”
“I am self-taught, I don’t really have any formal education in any of these things. YouTube has also been great for me. It is incredible to see the process of such simple ingredients being transformed into a loaf of bread or a croissant. It is wild that something so delicious can come from just a few ingredients.”
“I want more of that ‘neighborhood baker’ feel with my business. I have to be intentional about it, because customers can just come and grab their items from my pick-up shed. If they’d like, I would hope to be able to meet some of them and get to know my customers. Some people ask if I would want a storefront, but I just really appreciate having people in the neighborhood that know where to find my bread. It feels like an old-time style of baking for the people down the street.”
“My time management and ability to manage pressure has grown a lot with this business. I have also realized how much I value sourcing local goods. I try to get as close to the source as possible. All of the grains I use are grown locally, and the eggs are from my friend, Rachel, and I am part of a milk co-op for our milk. It’s really cool to be able to include all of that in my baking.”
“I am pretty content right now. My kids are young, so they are my priority right now. At some point, I would love to do an additional day of deliveries at Local Roots. I’d like to go back to farmer’s markets, but the time commitment is tough.”
“My dad worked from home my whole life. He was also a big caretaker for me. My husband and I both work from home and being able to give that to our kids has been really valuable for us.”
“My son is trying to figure out what he loves. And I keep trying to tell him that you have to really work at something to get good at it. And I need to remind myself of that sometimes when I second-guess myself, so I can tell myself that I am doing good work, and that it will continue to come to me as I dive more into it.”