Imagine coming home from a full day of work and instead of putting your feet up on the coffee table in front of that super comfy couch as you prepare for a Netflix marathon, you instead work 'til midnight baking a cake for someone else. Maybe the details are slightly off. Maybe it's Hulu and maybe instead the order was for scones. Or maybe it was for doughnuts. If you're Shelley Palazzolo, that's how your evenings have been spent ever since she launched Treeline Baking Co. I discovered her chocolate salted caramel doughnuts at Lone Pine Coffee. Palazzolo runs one of the three home-based Bend bakeries with wholesale accounts.
- A box of happiness from Treeline.
As a donut lover, sometimes it's tough for me to keep it straight in my head that Treeline makes the doughnuts I get at Lone Pine and not Little Pine Donuts, which, unlike Treeline, exclusively makes filled doughnuts. In fact, unlike Treeline, which offers a range of cakes, tarts and other baked goods, Little Pine only makes doughnuts. Cream filled, matcha cream filled, Nutella filled, but essentially and exclusively Bismarcks or Berliners—or whatever you've come to call doughy pockets bursting with a creamy, sweet filling.
And then there's Chalk to Flour, which, at this point, is Bend's longest-running cottage bakery. Chalk to Flour turns five this week but originally formed in San Diego before baker Kristina Serhan moved to Bend, meaning it has operated here since October, 2019.
How do these three home-based bakeries do so without a commercial—including commissary—kitchen? Oregon cottage laws and domestic kitchen licenses provide for making everything from cookies to cakes to scrumptious doughnuts without a store or kitchen. And while Central Oregon has some fantastic brick-and-mortar bakeries, you could say there's a Foxtail-sized hole in the current market for beautiful, artisan sweet treats. The biggest bummer is that you can't walk in and drool over racks of Chalk to Flour's chocolate-glazed hazelnut-topped doughnuts, or Little Pine's vanilla-filled crème brûlée doughnuts or Treeline's pineapple-glazed, shredded coconut-topped doughnuts.
Treeline does have a pair of outlets for Palazzolo's morsels; aforementioned Lone Pine Coffee and Blissful Bodhi, as well as a table at the Northwest Crossing Farmer's Market, which kicks back up in June. Palazzolo said her frangipane is her most popular seller at Lone Pine and, having ordered one, I can see why. They're simple yet gorgeous; buttery yet chewy tarts with squares of rhubarb and ginger and almond baked in. Her most popular order for pickup (and limited delivery) is the mixed box, which customers can preview through her weekly Instagram post. Last week's Easter box featured five delicacies including a carrot-pecan cake slice, a halva and chocolate chip cookie and, of course, that pineapple coconut cake doughnut. But she said the best seller at the farmer's market is her Mexican chocolate doughnut.
- More happiness with glazed pineapple and shredded coconut.
Palazzolo said she's talked to Serhan about their similar enterprises.
"We want to grow a bit, but not sure how," she said. "Brick and mortar means a lot of overhead. I did just get a new (second) stove. But I want growth to be word of mouth and grow organically." She also used the words side hustle.
For Serhan's part, she recently posted, "I've decided to take a small step back over the next few months and will be taking on limited orders. Chalk to Flour is my happy place and I want it to remain my happy place. Lately, the added stress from working two full time jobs has been weighing on me heavily." She had told me separately that while she no longer aspires to open a storefront, "maybe one day."
Added Serhan, "I love the talent this city has to offer and there are plenty of sweet tooths to go around. I say we definitely need more bakeries, or niche dessert shops with different offerings than the typical doughnut."
Check them out on Instagram