Food & Drink
Thanks To TheSwedishBaker, You Can Get Swedish Baked Goods Delivered Right To Your DoorOctober 31, 2017
Over our two years of existence, we’ve written about countless America-based Swedish bakeries, like Swedish Bakery in Chicago (since closed), the Swedish Royal Bakery in San Diego and Los Angeles’s Berolina Bakery, but our readers always have the same problem: “Sounds delicious, but I don’t live there.”
So, for all those folks craving Swedish baked goods with no Swedish bakery in sight, this one’s for you.
Based in Muskegon, Mich., Marilyn Magnuson is the woman behind the Etsy store TheSwedishBaker. Perfect for fika-ing, entertaining house guests (or just because), Magnuson makes, sells and ships traditional Swedish baked goods like cardamom bread, Swedish toscas and tea rings all over the United States
We had the chance to chat with Magnuson about her background, her business and her best baking tips.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am a Swedish American, and I run an Airbnb in addition to my bakery. I love meeting people as well as making baked goods for my guests. It has been really fun blending both of these hobbies together. I also enjoy gardening, arranging flowers and painting. I have two sons and two daughters. They are all grown up with careers of their own. My grandmother and grandfather came to the United States in 1920, and that is where I acquired my love of Swedish baked goods. My grandma would serve cardamom bread, or “coffee bread” as she called it, whenever we came over to visit. She was always baking something. Sometimes limpa bread, sometimes tea rings. And at Christmas, it was always pepparkakor cookies. Her house smelled heavenly.
How long have you been baking, and how did you get started?
I have been baking since I was little with my mom. She made everything homemade, and I remember trying to trade my baked goods for Twinkies when I was in school. It usually worked. I regularly baked for my children and sent them to school with baked goods in their lunches. They always tried to trade their pastries for school lunch cookies. Go figure! After my grandma passed away, I didn’t have access to any Swedish baked goods. I missed limpa bread so much that when I found my grandma’s recipes written down in the back of her cookbook, I started baking away.
What is your favorite thing to bake?
My favorite things to bake are cardamom braids. They always look so beautiful when they come out of the oven covered with sparkling sugar.
What separates Swedish baked goods from American baked goods?
Swedish baked goods are different than most American baked goods because of the spices that they use. Many Swedish baked goods have cardamom in them. It gives them a distinctive flavor that brings back memories for many Swedes. Swedish baking also uses a lot of rye flour, which creates a dense, nutty taste. My favorite is limpa bread. It is a sweet rye bread with anise seeds and a very unique taste.
You are the woman behind TheSwedishBaker shop on Etsy – tell us about that. What’s your most popular offering?
I started it three years ago with the help of my kids. My son came up with the idea and set up the shop for me. My daughter is a photographer and does the beautiful pictures for my products. I have stayed pretty busy between supplying my Airbnb and my Etsy shop. My most popular product is the Cardamom Coffee Braid, followed by the Swedish Tea Ring.
For those of us who aren’t the most gifted bakers, what’s your best Swedish baking tip?
My best baking tip is to never try to rush the bread. Give it time to rise. When I am really busy, I might try to rush, but it is always a mistake. Bread cannot be hurried along. It has to go at its own pace. The other tip is to never leave the bread when it is baking. Sometimes I start cleaning and lose track of time. There is nothing I hate more than burned bread.
Any plans to expand?
I am not sure if an expansion is in the cards, but we shall see what the future brings. Winter is always busier than summer, which is perfect for my schedule. I like to spend summers outdoors along Lake Michigan, and all the winter baking makes everything smell really great, just like my grandma’s kitchen.
TheSwedishBaker accepts most forms of payment and ships via Priority Mail all across the United States. Orders typically have a 1-2-week turnaround time, but can be adjusted based on customer needs.