Salt Lake City’s Underground Baking – Gastronomic SLC

It is strange to think that something positive came from the Covid years. The pandemic seems to have been the catalyst for the creation of some artisan baking heavyweights in Salt Lake City. A wide variety of items like filled donuts, sourdough bread, and Middle Eastern sweets are suddenly available. All starting from home cooking in the last three years. While some have moved from humble beginnings to brick-and-mortar stores, others remain more undercover, incorporating an emerging commissary kitchen schedule. It’s been fun watching these businesses become staples in the city, bringing wonderful new food options. Let me introduce you to some culinary pioneers, as well as give you the location so you can enjoy their creations.

Finding homemade baked goods in Salt Lake City isn’t hard, but you do have to know where to look. Some vendors have booths at farmers’ markets, while others operate on a delivery or pickup system. With regulations skewed towards the producer, it is easier than ever to incubate a business. All you need is a vision and talent. So you can make it happen. Here’s a rundown of some of my favourites. I’ll give you a brief overview, tell you where to locate them, and offer food recommendations. Keep your wallet ready and prepare your stomach for some of the best speakeasy baked goods in Utah.

Aziza

Aziza SLC - sample book
Aziza SLC – sample book

You can’t talk about home baking in Salt Lake City without mentioning Aziza. Aziza is one of the OGs (incredible, exceptional, original) of artisan pastry and beloved in the local foodie community. Founder Menna Rashwan started selling Egyptian food to share her culture and passion for cooking. Although she prepares savory dishes from time to time, her main focus is cakes and sweets. Her signature dishes include kanufa cheese, kanufa cups, and various flavors of baklava. Menna has gained a respectable following on social media, as well as a die-hard local fan base. She is a fixture at the downtown winter and summer farmers markets. I was late for the party to get Aziza’s goods. After trying almost everything she makes, I am confident to report that her creations are unusual and delicious.

Finding Menna is easy. All you do is follow her on Instagram. She is an incredibly hard-working chef and that includes keeping up with and promoting her business on social media. As I mentioned before, you can find it at the Salt Lake City Farmer’s Market. It’s hard to recommend a single item. It is best to try a sample pack. The kanufa cups are divine although hard to describe. The chocolate kanufa is like a cookie with a solid, decadent ganache in the middle. The flavor is beautiful and there is a delicious crunch with every bite. Kanufa cheese is encased and filled with halloumia, a traditional Cypriot cheese made from goat’s milk. It is soft and fluffy, best served warm with a drizzle of rose syrup. If you prefer something larger, both can also be ordered as full-size plates. Menna’s baklava is amazing. I’m smart when it comes to judging this cake because I grew up devouring my Yaya’s baklava. Menna definitely competes with my Yaya. She has a perfect balance between soft and crunchy due to the layers of phyllo dough soaked in honey and chopped walnuts. The pistachio baklava is my favorite. But like I said, you can’t go wrong with any of these exotic creations.

mims bakery

Mims Bakery - boule style bread
Mims Bakery – boule style bread

Mims Bakery has become another well known and sought after staple of baked goods. Tripp and Thy Mims started baking and selling sourdough bread at the start of the pandemic. The company quickly gained ground as people became familiar not only with the quality of their bread, but also with the magnanimous personalities of the owners. Thy tragically passed away last year when two men running from police ran a stop sign and crashed into Thy’s car. Tripp continues his legacy. Mims “bread and butter” (pun intended) is their irresistible sourdough boules and baguettes. They also make specialty items like “sourdough” and chocolate chip cookies.

Mims is particularly special because they capture the community aspect of our home baking ecosystem. Several people were inspired to bake and create thanks to them. Tripp runs his business in a personable and professional manner. Serving as the bakery is Mim’s family garage. It is a fully equipped and licensed commercial kitchen. Several local cafes and restaurants including Encircle Cafe, Cafe 140B and Old Cuss. It is also available at The Neighborhood Hive and directly through mimsslc.com, their website. Tripp is a dedicated philanthropist and kind human being. In my opinion, home baking in Salt Lake City has grown due to the influence of Mims.

chubby baker

Chubby Baker - Donut
Chubby Baker – donut

Chubby Baker is a star of artisan baking and is something to behold. Ying Nance started baking donuts in her mother-in-law’s kitchen. Now Nance and her donuts have grown into a full-scale brick-and-mortar business. A true success story. I remember marveling at the beautiful filled donuts on Chubby Baker’s Instagram feed. She impressed me that these intricate cakes were made in a home kitchen. These are not your normal donuts. They are works of art. I discovered Chubby Baker in the summer of 2020. No doubt Nance and her decadent creations provided joy between zoom meetings and covid news reporting.

Chubby Baker offers filled donuts with rotating flavors like ube and guava. A variety of delicious and beautiful cakes are also on offer. Gourmet drinks such as matcha and high-end espresso are available. Chubby Baker is located near the Maven District in Salt Lake City. The address is 317 East 900 South. I recommend trying one of each flavor. As a foodie, due diligence is the price you pay.

Aziza, Mims, and Chubby Baker are just three of Salt Lake City’s great home bakers. There are many more to try and taste. I encourage you to try to get to know them because they are. Lady Flour, Tomodachi Bake Shoppe, The Dough Lady, Pie Party, Pies the Limit, Powder Peak, and Milky Coco Bread. They are all amazing. Follow them on Instagram and start ingratiating yourself with the clandestine pastry. You will not regret!

Holiday Gift Guide 2022

With the holidays fast approaching, be sure to check out our Utah foodie gift guide. Locally made products, services and gifts galore for that picky eater in your life. All given our seal of approval.

Keep the conversation going

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