The Difference Baker: A Safe Oasis
Twelve weeks after opening their door to the public, Inside Loudoun visited The Difference Baker in Ashburn. Owner Alyssa Sobecki has created a gluten free, peanut and tree nut free bakery, the first of its kind anywhere in the State of Virginia. The need is great! Opening day brought around-the-block customer lines where some waited two hours for the chance to enjoy and stock up on everything: gluten free deep dish pizzas, vegan donuts with assorted flavorful toppings, mouth watering paleo brownies, top seller cinnamon rolls, chicken pot pies and lots more.
Owner Alyssa, Head Pastry Chef Lauren, Assistant Chef Van and Marketing Manager Aliya Rinaldi were happy to talk up all their scrumptious treats, but nothing was as satisfying as personally sampling from a selection of items, all prepared and baked on site. Alyssa’s goal is to abstain from all inflammatory ingredients in order to make her bakery a safe place for anyone requiring an alternative diet for any reason. Gluten free, nut free or the use of alternative ingredients might historically be equated with lack of flavor and unappealing textures. Not true at The Difference Baker where bakery items are abundant in flavor with enticing textures, crispy or rich, soft and moist when they should be.
On the bakery menu are grain free deep dish pizzas, dairy free and regular cheese versions; Head Pastry Chef Lauren’s mini donuts, cupcakes and muffins, covered in glazes with crumb topping; tart sweet luscious lemon bars; iced cinnamon rolls; seasonal scones like fall’s pumpkin spice, winter’s cranberry orange and spring’s lemon ginger. Many of these plus blueberry pancakes, herb and cheese scones, blueberry scones, and chocolate chip cookie logs are available in the bakery freezer, packaged with instructions for preparing at home. Also offered is a variety of pressed juices made Wednesdays on-site by Roots to Rise in the Difference Baker’s shared kitchen and fresh cups of Loud ‘n Roasted coffee.
Alyssa hopes to expand the business to include wholesale bakery offerings and to further promote the availability of shared kitchen space. When asked what her “Why?” might be for her enterprise, Alyssa’s response was heartfelt. She described her former career as a hair stylist and how she often listened with great empathy to stories about her client’s dietary health challenges. Later, when she faced her own food-related illness, she decided to make it her mission to help everyone struggling with dietary limitations. She wanted to enable them to experience the foods they haven’t been able to enjoy, in some cases, for years.
As she sought to get documentation regarding ingredient specifications and the special kitchen environments required for her bakery’s certification, Alyssa was surprised at how infrequently – if ever – sources had been asked to verify these important details. The Difference Baker will try to meet all reasonable dietary needs, and readily provides ingredient lists and substitutions. Alyssa says she has two secrets to success. One is her excellent pastry chef, Lauren, whose career has included participation in several baking competitions and appearance on the Food Network. Her second secret is that The Difference Baker makes everything with love and that she tries very hard to create happy customers.
The Difference Baker 20937 Ashburn Road #130, Ashburn, VA; 571-831-3988; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thurs 12-7pm; Fri 7am-6pm; Sat 8am-5pm