When Molly Miller began baking, her inspiration was simple: She wanted delicious baked goods to eat.
Miller went gluten-free in 2009 to better manage her Crohn's Diease, but she missed the carb-filled treats she grew up with and began creating them in her own kitchen.
Now, after three years of farmers market peddling and coffee shop cameos, what started as a hobby has taken on a life of its own as Miller prepares to open a brick-and-mortar location for Sift, the Twin Cities’ only exclusively gluten-free bakery.
“I wouldn't say the original intention was a bakery,” Miller said. “But I realized I really do enjoy this. And to see the reaction of people when they haven’t had a doughnut for years, that’s pretty cool.”
The excitement and demand for her goods became obvious pretty quickly. Miller – a writer, editor and advertising professional in her previous life – began selling at farmers markets in 2013. Shortly after came the deluge of coffee shops interested in her goods. Peace Coffee asked Miller if they could sell her baked items, then Dunn Brothers Coffee.
“That’s when I thought ‘Oh, I think I have something here,’” the Wisconsin native said. “It was kind of a waterfall from there.”
Miller quit her day job in the fall of 2014 and now is taking the dream one step further: she’s in the process of purchasing a building in south Minneapolis (the location is not yet finalized) for a new storefront she hopes to open this spring.
Initially, Miller plans to offer the same lineup of goods – muffins, doughnuts, scones, cinnamon buns and other sweet morsels – that she’s already selling through 20 local coffee shops including Five Watt Coffee, Vicinity Coffee and several Peace locations. Eventually, she hopes to expand to incorporate breads, buns, English muffins and soft pretzels – recipes of which she is currently developing.
Beyond those basics, Miller – who is currently cooking out of community kitchen City Foods Studio – has aspirations of experimenting with goods addressing other dietary restrictions including vegan, refined sugar-free, paleo and autoimmune protocol-friendly items.
“I want to offer breads and bagels and a lot more in the bread category which is what people tell me they most miss,” she said. “Hopefully that everyone [no matter their restrictions] can eventually find something they can enjoy.”
On top: Pistachio and rosewater mini cakes; at bottom: assorted doughnuts. Photos via Sift.)