Pound Ridge resident Eileen Lenahan has been baking for as long as she can remember.
Ive been doing it since I was like three years old, said Lenahan, the mother of two grown sons. I remember standing on those old milk cases working with my Aunt Ella, who was a nun. They did a lot of baking at Marymount and I went there on weekends. I also did a lot of baking with my mom. We didnt buy we baked our own.
Lenahans love for baking has transformed into a small business she runs out of her White Birch Road Home. About three years ago she obtained a permit to operate a professional kitchen.
Its called a home processing exemption, said Lenahan. Its overseen by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It allows me to bake certain things like cookies, covered pies, jellies, donuts, breads, muffins and biscotti.
The permit allows Lenahan to bake for the purpose of wholesale reselling to places such as markets, stores and restaurants, and for retailing at farmers and street markets. She just cant sell to consumers directly from her home as if she were operating a retail store.
While Lenahan has had some formal training she was a chefs assistant and expeditor for a Long Island restaurant and taught cooking and baking at a restaurant in New Rochelle most of her recipes came down through family or were concocted on her own.
For example, many of her customers think she makes traditional Irish soda bread, but its actually a recipe shes Americanized a bit.
I do an Irish soda bread that is very popular, but being of Irish descent, I know its not really traditional soda bread, she said. Mine is a little richer. Plus, traditional soda bread doesnt have raisins in it. Mine does.
Lenahan said she realized she had a knack for baking when she would prepare things for a friends party or an event and people would call her and offer to pay her to bake for a future affair.
I was told for years that I should do this professionally, said Lenahan, who splits her time between her Pound Ridge home and her farm in Stamford, Conn., where she keeps horses and grows vegetables. I remember that I was at a market and was selling some cheesecake. There was like one slice left and people actually started bidding on it. I ended up selling it for something like $45. It was all in good fun, but it let me know that this might really work for me.
Apparently, it works well for her customers as well.
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