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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

The Pink Apron in Visalia

Nov 16, 2020 10:16PM ● By Natalie Caudle

Pretty in Pink

October/November 2020
By Natalie Caudle
Photo by Kelli Avila

As baking season approaches, few recipes rank higher than fresh-from-the-oven pies and warm baked breads on the list of cozy indulgences. A buttery bite of baked-from-scratch sourdough encapsulates autumn’s gooey center in one scrumptious morsel. Fortunately for local residents, The Pink Apron is baking up simple and satisfying comfort food just in time for crisp amber-tinged days. 

Stephanie Walker, founder and solo baker of The Pink Apron, fell in love with baking as a child. “My earliest memories of baking are with my grandma and mom. My grandma was an old-fashioned baker,” Walker remembers. As a teenager, Walker continued to develop her culinary skill, often leaving a curious mess of spilled ingredients for her mother to clean. But it wasn’t until adulthood while working in a cupcake bakery did Walker’s love for baking gain intensity. Walker became lovestruck, happily completing any task in the bakery so as to stay near the action. 

In 2019, Walker set off to make her baking dream a local reality. After pondering why store-bought bread had a longer-than-average shelf life, Walker began researching ingredients and bread recipes that were simple and without preservatives. Following months of fine-tuning recipes and waiting for permit approvals, The Pink Apron officially opened for business in late spring of 2020 amidst the global pandemic. Despite the circumstances being like nothing Walker had envisioned, her business began to thrive. 

Stepping into the kitchen of The Pink Apron is taking a step back into childhood. A time reminiscent of a slower, more intentional pace – when life wasn’t rushed and food was nourishment for both the soul and the body. Following in the traditions of her grandmother, Walker bakes with an old-fashioned style. All breads are made by hand, sans electric mixers. Kneading and mixing is performed solely by Walker. Continuing in the style of bakers before in an effort to maintain a consistent flavor, Walker weighs all ingredients in contrast to the more modern practice of measuring. Walker believes in her product and bakes each batch with great care.

Specializing in slow-rising breads with few ingredients, Walker brings a flavor of yesteryear to customers, complete with personal doorstep drop-off and a touch of neighborly kindness. Homestyle treats are delivered fresh via convenient online ordering; allowing for a safe exchange within the recommended parameters of social distancing guidelines. 

The slower cadence of a vintage kitchen demands patience and long hours. Walker rises before the sun to begin baking sourdough loaves and sugary treats. By midday baking is complete and Walker, with daughter in tow, sets off to deliver fresh goods, leaving warm loaves outside the doors of happy customers. Walker desires to give her customers a top-notch product, adding, “Nothing compares to homemade, baked-daily, fresh bread.”

In the near future, Walker plans to expand the menu beyond breads to include breakfast pastries and a handful of desserts. Her pie recipes are in the final stages, being perfected with a launch date just around the corner.

“We specialize in a rustic-type bread that has a little bit of a harder crust, fewer ingredients but an excellent flavor. We make small batches all by hand. One of our favorites is the sourdough country style, which is a type of white bread.” The sourdough and chocolate treat are most frequently ordered by return customers. 

Using locally sourced ingredients, flour from a mill in Hanford and native honey, Walker brings love for the Valley right into her bakery. “I saw a need and a way to give back. I wanted to create a product for our community.” 

Beyond tasty treats and warm bellies, Walker sees a greater purpose in her business. “I want younger kids to see this and know they can make good food someday for their families.” As Walker received the traditions of baking from her grandmother, she too will continue the legacy, passing down the art of homemade artisan breads to the next generation of bakers. 

Man cannot live on bread alone, but The Pink Apron sure makes it tempting to try. •

The Pink Apron • pinkapronvisalia.com

(559) 317-9326

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