We are all fortunate that Erin Phelan somehow carves time out in her busy schedule to pursue her love of baking! Her day job as a Project Manager for a construction company couldn’t be more different than her culinary passion. It seems the contrast has everything to do with how she pulls off both so successfully!
Four years ago Erin was living in Colorado. As someone who likes to stay busy and active, she was struggling to embrace spending more time indoors during a harsh winter. So she tapped into her interest in baking, remarking, “Baking checks a lot of boxes for me. I like to be productive and use my hands. It gives me the time I need by myself. It’s my creative outlet where I get to call the shots.”
She continued to refine her breadmaking skills through endless self-study, online research, and most importantly, practice. She described the pursuit by stating, “You learn the most through doing. There’s a real art to it that you must learn through touch and feel. I love the tight texture of working challah and brioche but also the challenge of wetter fermented doughs.”
With a background in environmental science, Erin has always prioritized the use of locally sourced ingredients in her baked creations. In 2017, she and her husband bought a six acre farm that borders Turkey Creek in Moseley. She was thrilled and surprised to find an organic source of whole wheat berries right around the corner in Powhatan! Pete Sisti of Greater Richmond Grains is more than just a supplier. He is a wealth of knowledge and support, which he shares generously. He also connected Erin to Common Grain Alliance, a diverse group of professional and home bakers who share information, as well as a passion for locally produced grains.
After connecting with Pete, she purchased a table-top mill and started Turkey Creek Bakery to share her hand-crafted small batch artisan breads with the community. She attracted customers who appreciate her attention to detail and unique flavors. They love her remarkable variety of products for such a small bakery, such as her farmhouse buttermilk biscuits, whole wheat boules, white and multigrain breads, and more! They also share her enthusiasm for local ingredients. In fact, Erin uses eggs from her own chickens and ducks, and recently, her own home-grown rhubarb and sweet potatoes!
Erin is partial to her sourdough breads including her cinnamon raisin variety that she uses for a sweet and savory breakfast sandwich with an over easy egg, sharp cheddar, and bacon. She also loves her walnut whole wheat toasted with good old peanut butter and banana slices. A top seller right now is her vanilla-raisin-thyme challah rolls, which cannot be beat in taste, texture or presentation!
Erin can make your holidays easier and tastier! Pick up her sweet potato pecan muffins or holiday scones for breakfast! She has your dinner rolls covered as well as walnut whole wheat bread for sandwiches of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce! Or have your turkey with avocado and havarti on her sourdough! After receiving several requests for gluten-free bread, Erin began experimenting with gluten-free items. Starting in December she plans to offer a bread made with gluten-free flour!
Enjoy the taste and satisfaction that come from supporting this local baker who also supports local agriculture!