MOUNT MORRIS (WREX) — Baking bread is a hobby many people took up during the pandemic, but its a way of life for one Mt. Morris woman.
"I've always been a baker ever since I was probably a teenager," says Jennifer Koertner, owner of Jen's Artisan Breads.
"When my daughters went to school full-time, I needed to do something to supplement income to the household, so I started cleaning houses. One of my first customers gave me a book and I started baking bread and reading."
"I signed up for the local farmers market and the rest is history; I've been baking madly since."
Since opening the business in 2013, Koertner's channeled her creative talents into the art of bread making. Turning water, flour and yeast into a rising business
Koertner says the community reception is greater than she ever imagined.
In fact, it's been so good, her breads are carried in five different markets and restaurants across Ogle and Lee Counties.
"I am constantly amazed," she says, "I never take anything for granted. It's amazing."
"Having great community support, I'm very grateful."
Each day, Koertner and her team arrive at 3:00 a.m. to bake dozens of flavors and varieties of bread, as well as an assortment of pastries.
There are more than 15 different flavor options to choose from daily and customers can order online as well.
"It's a marathon every day," says Koertner.
"We work hard and we sing loud and play in the kitchen and have a good time."
Right now, Koertner says she is working on expanding the business to keep up with demand. She is looking for more bakers that can offer new skills she doesn't currently have.
"We want to find someone who is just as passionate about baking as we are," says Koertner.
That passion for baking, she says, comes from her passion for art.
"I am an artist at heart and [breadmaking] it's just my artform," says Koertner, "it has stuck and it keeps going and growing."
Jen's Artisan Breads is located inside the Pinecrest Grove Community Center, 500 Evergreen Lane, in Mt. Morris. It is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Here at all the locations you can find Jen's Artisan Breads at:
- Hazel’s Cafe, Oregon
- The Cypress House, Rochelle
- Curate Kitchen, Dixon
- Oliver’s Corner Market, Dixon
- Polo Fresh Food Market, Polo