Fort Wayne – Natalie Warner has enjoyed baking since she was a girl when her mom, Carlene Staller, would give her free rein the kitchen to bake cookies.
I like cookies or pies. I like to make them and eat them. I remember in junior high in Home Ec some kids didn’t know how to pronounce some ingredient things or what it meant to whisk, the Roanoke resident says.
Then with a chuckle, she says, I guess I was the professional cook.
Now a mom herself, the 32-year-old is the owner of the Rolling Pin Bakehouse (www.rollingpinbakehouse.com), a year-round roadside stand that sells baked goods.
Warner was motivated to start her own business after her husband, Chad, who taught her how to make cinnamon rolls, received an order from Broadridge Financial, where he’s employed.
A lot of people liked what I baked, Warner says. The company my husband works for paid me to bake some pies for some luncheons. And I thought if they pay me to do it, maybe other people will to.
So in May 2013, Warner opened up her rural roadside stand on Winters Road. Her first order was for a bag of caramels. She sells those in bags of 20. She also makes pies, cookies, muffins, cakes and bread.
The cinnamon rolls are the most involved, but I’ve got it down. I know what I’m doing. In the summer, the kids will run and get ingredients for me and they watch the 2-year-old when I need to be left alone, says Warner, whose family includes Heidi, 11; Noah, 9; Owen, 7; and Emmy, 2.
Asked what her specialties are, Warner answers, Sugar cream pies are a good seller and cinnamon rolls. People call and order. I have return customers. I need two days’ notice. I do the farmers markets, too.
Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?
A. Same as my mom’s, The Brethren Bounty cookbook. It’s got recipes from my grandmas and aunts. I went to a lot of functions there. I trust the recipes in there.
Q. What do you do to keep meals healthy?
A. We’re not super health conscious. We don’t drink pop. We don’t eat boxed frozen meals. We always have veggies at our meals. Normally we do fruit at lunch time and vegetables at our evening meals.
Q. What’s something people would not find in your refrigerator?
A. You won’t find liver, that’s for sure.
Q. Who’s your cooking idol?
A. I guess my mom. I think I naturally inherited her baking skills. She’s the reason I know how to bake.
Q. What’s your favorite cooking utensil?
A. My pastry scraper. It makes cutting caramels and cinnamon rolls a breeze. It even has measurements on it. I can go down and go 1-inch, 1-inch, when cutting out caramels.
Q. If you were stuck on an island, what’s one food you would have to have?
A. It’s a toss-up between creme brulee and caramel corn.
Sweet Amish White Bread
2 cups hot water (110 degrees)
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour
4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten
In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water; stir in yeast. Allow to proof (or activate) until yeast resembles a creamy foam. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Add vital wheat gluten. Mix in flour, one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and divide dough in half. Shape into loaves and place into two well-greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans and cover with towel. Allow to rise in warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.
Chicken Florentine Soup
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups milk
2/3 cups carrot peels or finely chopped carrots
Half an onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup flour
20 leaves of fresh spinach, finely chopped
2 cups cooked diced chicken
Half of a red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine broth, milk and carrots into large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat. Sauté onions in margarine for about 10 minutes. When onions are soft, add flour. Add onion/flour mixture to soup. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer at least 15 minutes. Makes 12 servings.
Sticky Caramel Corn
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 cups popped popcorn
Melt margarine in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Stir in corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. The mixture will foam up. Continue stirring until all of the baking soda is dissolved. Pour over popcorn, stir until popcorn is coated and let cool about 10 minutes. Makes 8 cups.