Discover Red Bandana Bakery owner Jaimie’s most popular treats in the February edition.
Welcome back to The Sunday Roast!
This month: I’m still on the hunt for subjects for the newsletter, though everyone I’ve reached out to or interviewed so far has been a delight! I’m very excited to feature some local chefs that some Washingtonians may even recognize. My ongoing goal is to diversify my subjects to make sure I’m talking to all the different people that live in this beautiful city/area. I am still very open to any suggestions people have, including who or what you’d like to see featured in future newsletters. Just fill out my suggestion form! My subscriber count has now gone up to 76 and I hope to keep growing that with a new goal in mind.
Some background: In a monthly newsletter, I combine a DC local’s story behind their favorite recipe(s), or ones that whip up some nostalgia, with photos and prose of my attempt at replication. These recipes vary in difficulty, but they are always ones close to the heart. This newsletter is sent on the third Sunday of each month as the name suggests.
A fun note: Make sure to mark this email as NOT spam to avoid the newsletter regularly ending up in the abyss. Sometimes Mailchimp email campaigns go straight to spam.
It all started when Jaimie was sitting in her college graphic design class. She thought the work would involve creativity, something she wanted in a career, but she realized she did not want to sit behind a computer for the rest of her life. So Jaimie set off on a new career path: a baker. She attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD, and discovered that baking was her passion.
After a few stints at hotel kitchens, bakeries and restaurants in the area, she rediscovered her entrepreneurial spirit and decided to open up her own storefront. Jaimie wanted her own space to do whatever she wanted, and she had the perfect idea to get started. There was a market for healthy baked goods that were allergen-free, and Jaimie was going to fill it. Inspired by her younger brother, who had autism and stuck to a gluten-free casein-free diet, she began to take orders for worry-free, gluten-free cakes through a website, baking all night in her home kitchen. After she decided her home-grown business was a conflict of interest with her day job at Wagshal’s. Jaimie quit, entered a start rate competition at the Maryland Women’s Business Center and won. She talked to a real estate agent and other contractors, that helped her open her bright and cheery storefront in 2017.
Jaimie crafts new and innovative vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and nut-free recipes at her store and frequently makes cookies and cakes with pop culture references, like Schitt’s Creek cookies for Valentine’s Day. Jaimie wants to make her bakery a place for people to sit at, feel at home and become a part of the community. She gives private lessons, hosts children’s birthday parties and open mic nights, and she’ll even make you a homemade sandwich to have you stay awhile. The name matches the care-free environment of the bakery, inspired by Rosie the Riveter and Jaimie’s first time working at a restaurant that didn’t require a skull cap.
The story behind her recipes.
Pictured above are Jaimie’s beautifully baked meringue cookie and tomato basil cheezy bread. Disclosure: mine don’t look as good, but to be fair, I don’t have a culinary degree. I got to sample both of these lovely baked goods on a Sunday morning just after the bakery opened when there were only a few customers trickling through. Jaimie was kind enough to take the time to sit with me when I’m sure she was busy trying to fulfill orders. I originally met Jaimie through my last subject, Laura Zimmerman. She recommended I reach out to Jaimie because she loved her bakery, and Jaimie immediately agreed to meet with me.
I chose a spot on one of her cozy couches in the homey storefront. Jaimie sat with me and began recounting her story of how she became a successful baker in the Bethesda community, with her brother being her inspiration. Jaimie will travel to farmers’ markets frequently in an old, red Volkswagen van, and when I asked her what her most popular item is, she launched into a story of her cheezy breads. The egg and potato starch-based rolls are a huge hit at her store and at farmers’ markets, but when Jaimie tries a flavor other than her tomato and basil combo, like a pumpkin sage or Old Bay bread, customers will say they’re coming back next week for the pizza-flavored roll. She says the roll, which is her favorite to make, is quite similar to and inspired by Brazilian pão de queijo — a cheesy, eggy bread.
The Brazilian way is more gummy because it uses tapioca starch, but Jaimie experimented to achieve a better texture and ended up using potato starch, which has a more neutral flavor. The way the dough is made is also similar to a French choux, where a starch and melted butter make a roux before mixing in eggs slowly. Jaimie makes the rolls big enough that you can slice them in half and put some chicken in to have a nice sandwich, and sometimes she’ll make them small enough for a bite-size hors d’oeuvres. She recommends these rolls as an easy way to impress guests, while also playing around to find flavors you like, such as adding kimchi to the batter. Both the roll she served me at the bakery and my recreation were extremely delicious and addicting, so I highly recommend making these for your lunches this week.
Now onto the cookie for those with a sweet tooth (also known as me). I was pretty shocked when Jaimie offered me a vegan meringue at the bakery and it had the same melt-factor and tart flavor that any other meringue with egg whites would have. I’ve heard of aquafaba, or chickpea water, before simply because I watch a lot of baking shows, but I had never experimented with the ingredient before. Jaimie had found several online recipes for vegan meringues using chickpea water and adjusted them to fit her own idea of creating cookies. She’s even made variations where she pipes smaller meringues and refrigerates them so they turn gooey like marshmallows, and then she places them in her famous bonfire cake — one of her most popular items at the bakery, along with its brownie variation. To avoid wasting the chickpeas, Jaimie uses the leftovers after draining the water to make hummus, chickpea scramble or blondies. The only issue with these delicious cookies is that they occasionally fail since meringue can be a fickle thing, but for this recipe, Jaimie played with the ratio of sugar to make sure it works most times. While she still gets a customer once in a while that thinks they won’t enjoy the cookie because it’s vegan, Jaimie says she’s been nothing but encouraged by other chefs to continue creating innovative recipes. Plus, that customer usually ends up loving the cookie.