Baking it up at Creston’s Golden Flour Bakery

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(Above) Golden Flour Bakery owners Bill and Liza Thorne with their son

(Above) Golden Flour Bakery owners Bill and Liza Thorne with their son

Stepping into the Golden Flour Bakery sounds safe enough, but doing so may actually bear a certain risk.

“They say, ‘I hate coming in here,” or, “You’ve got me addicted to…,” and I say, ‘I warned you,’ ” said Liza Thorne, who owns the 1025 Canyon St. shop with her husband, Bill.

It’s all said in good fun, of course; however, with dozens of products baked fresh every day, it’s not surprising that one visit isn’t enough. Signature products include cheese sticks made with Kootenay Meadows cheese, cinnamon buns inspired by Cinnabon and shortbread cookies decorated to fit each season and holiday — no sugar cookies here.

“With shortbread, it’s moist all the time,” said Bill. “It’s a little bit less profit for us, but customers are happy after they eat that cookie.”

Liza and Bill opened Golden Flour eight months ago, in part of the location formerly occupied by Eric Heykamp’s Garden Bakery, which closed in 2006. Heykamp still owns the building, and in the process of the new bakery being set up, shared many of his recipes.

“He gave us free rein on all the recipes for things he used to carry,” said Bill. “I really enjoyed working with him because he’s got all that knowledge.”

Some of Heykamp’s recipes had to be translated from Danish, and Bill now makes eight of Heykamp’s and nearly 40 from his own collection, which he’s been developing for years.

“I knew there was a reason I was collecting,” he said. “Then when we opened here, Liza said, ‘Could you make that?’ And I had it right there.”

Both are journeymen bakers with over 55 combined years of experience, continuing in a trade they started learning as youngsters.

Liza, who specializes in cake decoration, learned from her grandmother, and uses a combination of Bill’s dad and Heykamp’s recipe for the icing. She even has a printer with edible ink, allowing photos to be included.

“It’s a nice addition to the bakery to have cakes, as well,” said Liza. “I thought that was important when we opened.”

For Bill, baking was a family business, which many family members left because they couldn’t handle the early mornings, which weren’t a problem for him.

“To me, it didn’t matter,” he said. “You have to go to bed early, but you have the whole day to yourself.”

His dad came from England, and kept on baking in Canada, managing the first bakery in a Safeway. And his creations are part of Golden Flour’s menu, with his recipes used for sourdough and rye “starters”, which develop leavening and produce a unique taste that improves with age.

“It’s getting better every day because the starters are getting older,” sid Bill. “It’s a very important part of the flavour. You have to maintain it.”

But in recent years, that creativity just wasn’t possible while he was working for large corporations.

“Everything was coming in frozen and we were just baking it up,” he said.

So they moved to the Creston Valley two years ago, and Bill worked while Liza took a business course through Community Futures before opening the bakery, where they are joined by their son, Patrick, who is learning the business with the goal of one day taking it over.

“I want to give him a nice little start,” said Bill. “I would love my dad to have given me a bakery when I was 25 or 30.”

They were happy for the chance to use local products, including meats from Famous Fritz and Root and Vine Acres, and have plans for pears, blueberries and strawberries when they are in season. For those who wants gluten-free products — bread, buns, cookies and muffins — those are available, too.

And just as the community was quick to support Golden Flour, the owners are happy to give back, donating everything left over at the end of the day to the Creston Valley Gleaners Society food bank.

“Just because you can’t afford to come in and buy it doesn’t mean you can’t have it,” said Liza.

That allows a wider range of people to try Golden Flour products, as Bill enjoys “that feeling you get when you’ve taken something from raw ingredients to having somebody eating it with a big smile on their face. People enjoy it when they get home because you’ve done your job.”