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Sweet Kneads brings three generations of family bakers to Farmington Bakery

Master baker Steve Hobbs and his wife Melissa are the new owners of Sweet Kneads by Farmington Bakery. Photo by Kara Hildreth

Sweet Kneads is now the name of the new three generation, family bakery in downtown Farmington.

Farmington Bakery has been rising to the occasion to serve customers for 85 years. But now the downtown bakery's awning signage shows a logo for Sweet Kneads by Farmington Bakery.

The new owners are award-winning baker Steve Hobbs and his wife, Melissa. The change in ownership has been in the works since last November, Steve said.

Steve has been working in the baking industry for 26 years. Melissa plans to work behind the scenes to support the small business with accounting and marketing.

The couple brainstormed a new business name while keeping the well-known, well-respected Farmington Bakery small-business name.

"I was kind of playing around with something cute and catchy names, but I didn't want to focus on one product or another, and I didn't want it to focus on cakes or donuts — we wanted it to be broad and capture everything together," Melissa said.

That is how the name Sweet Kneads came to be since the bakery will sell sweet, homemade pastry and bread dough kneaded with care. Many veteran staff and cake decorators will remain at Farmington Bakery. The bakery will continue to bake and sell the longtime popular donuts and pastry recipes from generations back that keep people coming back for the last eight decades.

"We are going to add more products like breads, cheesecakes and angel food cake and specialty breads," Steve said.

Back in 2009 Steve created a few inventive bread dough recipes that won the judges over. The new breads will include sliced cottage cheese, onion dill bread, a black bean and salsa sourdough, a multi-grain bread, a beer bread from an old recipe, along with a Milwaukee rye bread.

"It has been a lifetime dream for Steve to own a bakery and since we met in high school, he has wanted to own a bakery," Melissa said.

Fast forward 20 years and that dream is rising to the occasion.

Steve's father and longtime master baker, Ed Hobbs, has worked as the overnight baker at Farmington Bakery for 15 years working with the last two bakery owners, Gina King and Tuffy Westenberg. Ed has also been busy working at other Twin Cities small scratch and large bakeries and finds reward in competing in all kinds of creative baking competitions.

Steve and his father Ed worked in many Twin Cities scratch bakeries, including the Rolling Pin Bakery in Minneapolis, a pastry shop and café in Hastings, and a former bakery in Prescott, Wis. The father-son bakers also worked for Cub Foods and Jerry's Foods in Edina, a franchise of Cub.

Steve plans to continue working as a bakery manager at another bakery until Sweet Kneads is up and running.

"He worked with me every single Sunday for 12 to 14 hours a day and throughout my whole life in small bakeries," Ed said.

Steve is proud to say this bakery will become a three generation, family bakery since his sons are now learning all the secrets of baking science and pleasing customers with sweet treats.

Ed said it gives him joy to think how his son and grandsons will lead the bakery into the future. He hopes one grandson will take over for him as the overnight baker when he retires someday.

Austin, 20, works at Cub Foods, and the other two budding bakers are Carter, 17, and Gavin, 15. Carter has been working as the donut fryer and Gavin is helping customers and serving soft serve ice cream.

When asked why he finds reward in baking, Steve said "It is really the passion of making gifts from scratch and giving them to someone to satisfy their sweet taste."

Admitting his new favorite sweet treat to be sold at the bakery will be the classic strawberry cheesecake sold by the slice.

The public is welcome to attend a grand opening celebration this weekend at Sweet Kneads by Farmington Bakery. There will be samples and special bakery deals all day Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9 inside the bakery and on tables outside.

Sweet Kneads plans to be open seven days a week.

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