Since the beginning of March, many people have spent time in the kitchen reliving family memories with Grandma’s cookie recipe or trying their hand at making bread for the first time as a way to pass the time during the shelter in place orders. Time in the kitchen during the pandemic was precisely the ingredient needed to birth DoughNation Bakery in Jackson MI.
Baking for Self
Like many people, Aaron Cole from Spring Arbor was furloughed as a result of the shelter in place order, and he needed a way to pass the time. He started baking to fill the time and soon found himself making bread baking a more regular part of his routine.
Aaron and his family realized that they needed to stop eating all of the baked goods he was making. It was shortly after this realization when he pulled two fresh loaves of bread out of the oven and his wife asked, “So, what are we going to do with those?”
Aaron decided to “donate” the loaves to the first person who wanted them. He posted about them on social media, letting his friends know they were free for the taking – first come, first served.
From there the dough started expanding… and the rest, as they say, is history.
Baking for Others
Baking more meant more and more loaves of bread to share, and soon, Aaron placed a table in his front yard for people to pick up the baked goods.
In Aaron’s thoughts, always, was “Feed my sheep” from John 21.
People were out of work. Supplies were running short in grocery stores. “Feed my sheep” was a real, tangible way he could help people during the shutdowns.
Baking for All
Aaron didn’t set out to start a business in the middle of a global pandemic. He simply had a skill, saw a need, and worked to fill it.
When people started asking to pay for the bread, Aaron preferred the donation model. “Just pay what you can,” was his common reply. He wanted to make sure that money was never a barrier to having tasty bread.
And that is how DoughNation got its name – a play on words for the dough from the bread and the idea that “feeding sheep” is the ultimate goal.
DoughNation Bakery in Jackson MI
Today, DoughNation is Aaron’s full-time job. He has expanded his home kitchen to include more oven space, and he is baking more bread, rolls, bagels, and cookies than ever before.
Offering his baked goods at Fortress Cafe from 9am – 1pm three days a week*, Aaron is working with different local non-profits each month to increase awareness by donating $1 from every purchase made to that non-profit.
*Due to the current executive order, DoughNation bakery is available in the original way – out front of Aaron’s home in Spring Arbor on a table. See DoughNation on Instagram or Facebook for the most up-to-date information and for directions to Aaron’s home.
Simple, Delicious, Fresh-Baked Bread, Cookies, & Bagels
If you’re looking for Aaron’s favorite baked good, look no further than the Classic Sourdough. Perfectly crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, it’s no surprise that this is his (and many patrons’) favorite bread.
His most surprising baked good is the Light Rye bread loaf. When people claim to not be “rye people,” Aaron offers them a loaf to try. More often than not, people are surprised by the flavor and lightness combining to make this flavorful bread.
And my personal favorites?
- Aaron’s Sourdough Chocolate Chip cookies are the size of saucers and THE best cookies.
- The Classic Sourdough is so wonderful for everything – Sunday morning French toast bake, sampling fresh apple butter, and pairing with hearty soups and stews.
- Everything Bagels are perfectly dreamy whether you top them with just butter or dress them all the way up for a full-on breakfast (or lunch!) sandwich.
- And to top it off, I was one of the people who wasn’t really a “rye person” and really enjoy the Light Rye.
DoughNation is the best bakery in Jackson, Michigan, living out its mission to “Bake Bread for the Betterment of the City.”
Quality, fresh bread, with tons of local heart. That’s what you’ll get from DoughNation Bakery.