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About me / Barth Bakery / Shadow Mountain

Me (Jen)
at Shadow Mountain

I am a baker and biologist turned blogger.

I'll be the first to admit that I consume an immoderate amount of sugar, and I'm known for having dessert daily (sometimes multiples times per day!). I like to think I offset the affects of my excessive sugar and dessert consumption by running, mountain biking, spinning, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and playing tennis. Just a word of caution -- none of my recipes are low-fat or intended for anyone counting their calories!

One more dairy crush is highly evident throughout my recipes, so if you're looking for dairy-free recipes, you may want to turn back now. After all, I am a child at heart and have a glass of milk every night before bed!

The two mottos I live by:

* Eat dessert first!

* I run because I really like dessert.

I've had a passion for baking for as long as I can remember, but became hopelessly addicted to baking in my 20s. I am family-taught and self-taught, watching my parents and grandmother bake throughout my childhood and learning on my own through trial and error. Although I created this blog in July 2018, I finally had the courage to publish it in early January 2019. Just three weeks later, out of thousands of baking blogs, Barth Bakery made #51 on Feedspot's Top 100 Baking Blogs list!!

This blog is a collection of adopted recipes I have tried and tweaked over the years, including a few recipes that require no modifications. However, I have two classified recipes I will never divulge: My top-selling baklava and my most requested iced tea-lemonade cookies. 

I very rarely make the same recipes twice (with a few exceptions). I love developing new recipes, testing new flavor combinations, creating unique spins on classic bakes, and serving new tasty treats to our family and friends. When baking cookies, I love to take two separate yet complimentary doughs and squish them together to create dual flavored jumbo cookies. They're aesthetically pleasing, and who wouldn't want two cookies instead of just one?! 

Living on the backside of a mountain with our Wooly Siberian Husky (Shadow), Sean and I spend most of our time in the kitchen and entertaining guests with creations from our pizza oven and hibachi grill. On top of baking, we also brew hard apple cider, can jams/jellies/butters/pickles, make jerky, and have cooking marathons at our home which we lovingly refer to as Shadow Mountain. (The logo for Shadow Mountain is based on the picture of Shadow above!)

at Shadow Mountain

In March of 2019, our family got a little bit crazier and a whole lot furrier as we welcomed Sasha, a Native American Indian Dog pictured here, to our pack.

My great grandparents, Gustav Hermann Barth and Martha Kolse Barth

As for the name Barth (pronounced Bart or Bahrt) Bäckerei (Bakery), that’s a family name. My great-grandfather began his baking career in the town of Langenbielau, Oberschlesian (Germany). After his apprenticeship, he started his wandering years, further refining his craft by working his way through the land to meet and work for other Master Bakers. His title was Konditor (Confectioner/Pastry Chef) and Bäeckermeister (Master Baker), and together with my great-grandmother, they established Barth Bäckerei in Trebnitz, Niederschlesien around 1933. Barth Bäckerei was acclaimed for its breads and pastries, and several apprentices worked for my great-grandfather. My grandmother and her siblings grew up in the bakery until it had to be closed around 1940 once the war started and my great-grandfather was mobilized. Although I’ll never come close to being a Master Baker, my great-grandfather’s legacy will continue to be my inspiration as I carry on the family baking tradition. Now if I could just win the lottery so I could open up a bakery of my own... 

Helpful baking tips

  • Always use room temperature eggs

  • Rotate pans halfway through for even baking

  • Ensure your butter is the proper consistency (chilled, softened, room temperature, melted, etc.)

  • If you use a convection oven (like I do), either lower the temperature by 25°F or reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes (you'll have to experiment with your own oven to determine which method works best).

  • Use substitutions at your own risk

  • Properly and precisely measure ingredients (packed, leveled off, dry vs wet measurements, etc.)

  • Use a kitchen scale when a recipe supplies weights, and also to evenly divide batters and doughs

  • No matter how tempted you are, keep the oven door closed to maintain the proper temperature to ensure even baking.

  • Properly grease, butter, and/or flour your pans, even if using "nonstick" pans

  • Pay attention to the directions (timing, techniques, notes, etc.) 

  • Buy quality ingredients (butter, extracts, chocolate, etc.)

  • Don't skip the salt! Salt enhances other flavors and removes the floury flavor.

  • Always scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl so all of the ingredients are completely and evenly incorporated.

  • Use fresh ingredients (flour, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, etc.)

  • Use full-fat dairy ingredients (milk, sour cream, cream cheese, etc.) (FAT = FLAVOR)

Happy baking!
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