What Allee Steinberg of Two Bites Bakery loves most is when customers say, “That was the best (blank) I’ve ever had.” Patrons of her stand at the Prescott Farmer’s Market have a multitude of reasons to say it: Green Chili Cheddar Scones, Chocolate-Chip Chili Cookies, Triple-Citrus Gingerbread, apricot biscotti, buttermilk honey rolls, asiago-cheese bread, challah, deli rye and Sun-Dried Tomato-Basil Bread, among many, as well as her best seller, Chocolate Halvah Sweet Rolls, which are stuffed with chocolate chunks, sesame paste and halvah (a sesame chocolate confection).
But Allee and Al, her husband and business assistant, weren’t always deliciously creative bakers. In 2005 they were another retired couple, escapees from harsh Midwest weather, enchanted by the Prescott area and bumping around for something to do. Allee had been a dental hygienist. She had never run a business or gone to culinary school, or even worked in food service. Then she discovered the Arizona Cottage Food Program, which licenses baking in home kitchens. Allee told herself, “I’ll just bake some stuff and sell it at the farmer’s market.” They were already dedicated market patrons, and Allee found the PFM requirements consistent with her own values — 10% local ingredients, and producer-only sales. So the adventure began.
Allee loves cooking and had been baking since she was 16.When she married Al in 1974 she was determined to learn to bake whole-wheat bread. The first loaves were heavy, “thick as a brick,” and she learned to balance the heaviness of whole grain with lighter flour. Then there was the sourdough experiment. Allee caught, cultivated and adopted her own lively starter that she’s been dedicated to ever since. They even take it on vacation!
A producer-only market means that everything sold at the market is grown or produced by the seller. Allee loved the idea of knowing where her food comes from and having a personal relationship with the farmer, rancher, brewer, candy maker or baker. She incorporated this concept by sourcing ingredients from Hayden Mills, The Honey Man, Danzeisen Dairy, Whipstone Farm, Skull Valley Lavender Farm, other PFM vendors, even eggs from her backyard chickens. Allee believes that fresher, high-quality, local ingredients make for a better experience.
In 2013 Allee and Al opened Two Bites Bakery at PFM. Monday through Friday Allee starts baking at 7am and works through till 4:30, when she “takes a break” to cook dinner. Then she packages and stores everything and finishes around 8:30. Every Saturday year-round Allee and Al stock their table with 100 loaves of bread, trays of sweet rolls and scones, eleven different cookies and biscotti in a wide variety, with seasonal variations. Every Saturday Two Bites Bakery practically sells out. Allee says “I never thought it would be so successful.”
Interested in experiencing “the best” baked goods you’ve ever tasted? Visit the Two Bites Bakery stand at the Prescott Farmer’s Market, and get there early if you’d like to try her Chocolate-Chip Chili Cookies or Chocolate Halvah Sweet Rolls.
Photos by Gary Beverly
Chef Molly Beverly is Prescott's leading creative food activist and teacher. Photos by Gary Beverly.