Walking through the hallways in Shellenberger Hall, the smell of freshly baked cookies greets students nearly every Tuesday afternoon.
Following the smell down the hall to the bakery lab, a variety of baked goods can be found. The Bakery Science Club at Kansas State is busy at work creating the various goodies that they sell the following day.
“The official, fancy explanation is Bakery Science Club is a student organization that aims to educate others about the science of baking through hands-on experience,” Janae Brown, junior in bakery science and management, said. “Really, we’re a tight knit group of friends who love to bake. We put on some good music and jam out in the lab and learn how to shape bread while we do it.”
Jacob Casey, sophomore in hospitality management and political science, said he enjoys spending time with his friends in the club.
“It’s so fun being able to bake so much while hanging out with amazing friends,” Casey said. “It’s also really cool that these friends are food scientists and can tell you about glutens and enzymes.”
The products baked during club meetings are not the same every week. Over the years, the club has made chocolate chip, monster, oatmeal raisin and s’mores cookies. They also have made a variety of breads like sourdough, challah, beer bread and varieties of French breads. On special occasions, they offer specialties such as hot cross buns, cinnamon rolls and banana bread.
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Brown said chocolate crinkle cookies are one of her favorite products to bake.
“I work in the cookie room a lot and these are so fun because you get to roll the dough balls in powdered sugar,” Brown said.
Emily Stangel, club president and senior in bakery science and management, said her favorite products to bake are any of the specialty breads.
“There is a sense of pride in getting to make bread from scratch. It’s a lengthy process that depends on the bread,” Stangel said. “We use a live sourdough starter for our sourdough that requires daily feeding the week before we use it. These microorganisms give sourdough its distinct characteristics since the wild yeast is what makes the bread rise, and the lactic acid bacteria is what makes the lactic acid that creates the ‘sour’ taste.”
Around Christmas, Brown said the club bakes about 4,000 cookies. This is the largest amount of cookies that the club bakes throughout the year.
In order to create and produce the giant number of products and the variety that the club sells, the lab that the club uses has bigger versions of kitchen equipment. Much of the equipment that is used is industrial grade and size.
“Since we bake such large quantities, using cups and tablespoons simply isn’t possible,” Casey said. “We instead use grams to measure out everything. We also use huge mixers with bowls almost three feet in diameter. We have a huge oven with multiple rotating racks over an open fire that can fit 20 huge cookie sheets at once!”
When attending the weekly Tuesday club baking, Stangel said dinner is provided to students who come help bake.
“You’d think when we walk into a room and yell ‘dinner is ready, go eat,’ the whole room would disband,” Stangel said. “Our members understand that a lot of our products are time sensitive and would rather finish what they’re doing than drop it for dinner. It’s a small thing, but it’s a good feeling when you know your membership truly loves being there to bake and hang out.”
Brown, Casey and Stangel all agree that being a part of the Bakery Science Club is similar to being a part of a family.
“I’ve never been around a group of people more inviting and friendly,” Brown said. “My first day everyone was asking me my major and hometown, and the next week they remembered. As an out-of-state student it meant a lot to me to feel like I was known on such a big campus.”
The club sells the products that they make on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Shellenberger Hall.
In addition to the weekly bake sale, the club also does private sales. Orders can be placed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Bake club has been a monumental part of my college career and has developed my character tenfold,” Stangel said. “We love having people come and join us for club.”