Story by Tara Jones
Photos by Amanda Wilson
One year ago, Mallory Rakay stepped away from her job as a pharmacist and decided it was time to follow her dream of owning a bakery.
“I was sitting on the couch one Sunday evening, and I didn’t want to go to work. My husband asked me what I would do if I didn’t have to, and I was like, ‘I’d bake,’” Rakay recalled.
No idea where to start, Rakay reached out to a friend who owns a bakery in Ashland. Her advice was to start at farmers markets, and Rakay signed up for her first full season in Bluffton that May.
“It’s like putting your baby out there. You’re watching people eat your stuff like, ‘Oh, do they think it’s good? I know it’s good, my brothers know it’s good, and my mom tells me it’s good, but she would tell me dirt tastes good,’” she said.
Her husband, Rich, is a pastor at Delphos Trinity United Methodist Church, so they struck a deal with the church and she uses the kitchen in the Family Life Center where the self-taught baker now runs Noble Goose Bakehouse full time.
Now, Rakay gets most of her inspiration from cookbooks, but her baking journey began much like everyone else’s.
“It always starts with a grandma,” she laughed. “She would just give me a Betty Crocker cookbook and say entertain yourself, go to town, eat as much cookie dough as you want. If you’ve ever worked with me or known me, you’ve probably gotten a baked good of some kind. That’s like my love language, is feeding people.”
The Noble Goose Bakehouse’s menu includes mostly pies, scones, muffins, bars, sourdough bread and cakes. In addition to farmers markets weekly, Rakay has partnered with Coffe Amor’s retail locations and Topp Chalet in Delphos to sell her baked goods.
“That’s been one of the coolest things is the encouragement of people just from Facebook, in person, at the grocery store — they’re all just so happy to see someone jump in and trying. … There hasn’t been a bakery in town for a really long time,” she said. “There’s only 7,000 people in Delphos, so the market is going to be small, but Lima and Van Wert are close by. You have to build small and slow, and it’ll work.”
Rakay’s goal for the Noble Goose Bakehouse is to work her way into her own retail space.
Rakay said the plan to get there is just to continue to follow her dreams, jumping all in.
“I woke up one day and realized I don’t want to wake up at 70 years old and said I should have tried that. I can always go back to pharmacy, it’s there, I have my license, I can go back. I’m 36 years old, just do it. It’s one of those cool things where I feel that God put it on my heart to bake and to feed people, so I’m just trying to figure out a way to do that.”
Story behind the name
“My grandpa’s name is Noble. … He was a pie connoisseur. When my mom was born, she was the fifth member of the family. His remark was, ‘Now we have to slice the pie into five pieces.’
Then, I call everybody a goose. If you’re being ornery — I have nieces and nephews — and I’ll be like, “You’re being such a goose,’ so my husband put it together.”
Get your Noble Goose goods
Place an order by messaging The Noble Goose Bakehouse on Facebook or stop by Topp Chalet in Delphos or Coffe Amor in Lima and Wapakoneta any time.
Cranberry Orange Scones
Yield: 8 scones
1/3 to 1/2 cup (75-100 g) sugar
Zest of 1 orange
3 cups (435 g) flour
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 tablespoons (141 g) butter, cold and cut into half-inch chunks
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1/2 cup half and half, cold
Juice of half an orange
1 1/2 cups (150 g) fresh cranberries
1 egg, gently whisked with a fork
Orange Glaze (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 g) coconut oil
1 1/4 cups (150 g) confectioner’s sugar
Juice of half an orange
Pinch of salt
Demerara sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. With fingertips or with a fork, rub the zest into the sugar to release its oil and aroma. To the same bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Add butter and quickly rub the butter (using a pastry cutter or fingers), into the dry ingredients until the butter is pea sized. If the butter begins to melt, refrigerate for 10 minutes and resume. Add cranberries, and toss to combine.
In a measuring cup, combine heavy cream, half and half and orange juice; lightly mix.
Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and with a fork quickly yet gently mix, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go, until clumps of dough start to form and there are few to no dry bits left in the bowl. If it remains too dry, add an extra tablespoon of heavy cream. Empty contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured countertop and gently knead or fold dough (about 4-6 times) until it comes together into a shaggy cohesive ball of dough. Flatten dough into a disk about 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch tall. If dough is sticky, lightly flour hands and continue to work. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the disk into 8 equal triangles.
Place triangles on prepared baking sheet and place in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Once firm to the touch, brush tops with egg wash and place in oven. Bake for 12 minutes; reduce temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. (Internal temperature 190-200 degrees). Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
While cooling, prepare glaze. Melt coconut oil in microwave and add confectioner’s sugar, orange juice and salt. Whisk thoroughly to combine. The glaze should be pourable. If it is not, add 1-3 teaspoons extra orange juice, half and half or milk until it is. If it firms up before you are able to drizzle it on the scones, microwave for 15-20 seconds. Spoon glaze over scones.
If you want to forgo the glaze, sprinkle demerara sugar onto scones after you brushed the scones with egg wash and bake as instructed.
Scones can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days or frozen for up to 3 months.