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Business is Sprouting for Cudahy's Angelic Bakehouse

Mitch Teich

Angelic Bakehouse President and CEO Jenny Marino didn't come to her profession with a long background in food.  But her learning curve has taken off impressively - along with the size of her customer base.

Marino and her husband bought what was then Cybros Bakery in Waukesha. The company had already specialized in products for health-conscious buyers, including bakery products made from sprouted grain. They jettisoned the other goods, and decided to focus on that one narrow segment, a decision that has proved fortuitous.

"Five years ago, we didn't necessarily know that [sprouted grains] would take off," Marino says. "But we just went with our gut and what tasted the best. And now we're starting to see sprouted everywhere - there are sprouted pastas and sprouted snack chips and bagels. It's becoming an ever-growing category." Angelic's products are available at many Wisconsin stores and are also distributed nationally at retailers including Sam's Club.

Sprouted grain breads differ from other breads from the very beginning. Marino says Angelic Bakehouse used seven grains to make its products - the primary one is a red wheat berry. But rather than grinding the grains to make flour for the bread, the company soaks the grains in a warm water bath for nearly a day, tricking the grain into sprouting - essentially starting the growing process.

"When you do that," Marino says, "the outer shell of the grain breaks down, and you really get to all the good stuff inside the grain - the heart of all the nutritional benefits of the grain.

Marino says that while the products are not gluten-free (and so they're not suitable for people with Celiac disease), they are less abrasive to the digestive system than traditional grain breads, and so are appealing to people with other digestive sensitivities.

Credit Mitch Teich
A flatzza

The company, which is now based in Cudahy, now produces products ranging from bread to rolls to "flats," which can be used to make sprouted grain pizza crusts.

Marino says even after five years, the wonder of what she does hasn't worn off. "Walking down the aisle of the grocery store is one thing.  And it’s very satisfying," she says. "But it’s when you’re in the grocery store and it’s in someone’s cart that my heart just goes pitter patter.  You know, you see it on the conveyor belt, or what have you.  It’s just like, 'Wow, you know, we made that and you like it.  You like us.'"

Here are two pizza recipes using Angelic Bakehouse's Flatzza crust.