We had the good fortune of connecting with Ani Harutyunyan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ani, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My love of bread goes way back to when I decided to pursue a career in the food industry. I was fortunate enough to apprentice at specialty bakeries in France and Switzerland in 2010 and not long after returning home to Yerevan, Armenia, I opened my first bakery called Crumbs. It took a lot of hard work and a great talented team for the sourdough loaves, pastries, and cakes to become very popular and loved by our customers, who are still devoted to Crumbs after 10 years. With the time, Crumbs grew into a chain of 3 bakery-cafes, and it still operates throughout Yerevan today.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2018, and while I was researching different areas for inspiration, the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard. I returned to baking bread to distract myself from all the anxiety I felt during the lockdown. It also became a way for me to support my neighbors and inspired my future idea of Baketo Bakery. Before I knew it, my small bread baking gig turned into a micro-bakery business right in my kitchen. Now I’m fortunate enough to bake my loaves at Baketo Bakery’s commercial kitchen.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Initially, I was baking classic sourdough loaves, but I did want to put more value into my bakery. First, I found there wasn’t much variety of high-quality baked goods for keto and sugar-free diet followers. As I was on a keto diet myself I decided to move forward with keto bread and pastries in my baking journey. That is why our bakery is called Baketo. (bake + keto = BaKeto). Then, I also realized that unlike in Canada and many European countries, the California market has not been properly introduced to rye sourdough bread. Many people hadn’t even heard of the magical grain called rye. The idea flashed across my mind, and I decided to specialize in rye sourdough bread baking. Along with my good friend and business partner, Marina, Baketo began the most incredible chapter of artisan bread baking in California.
We specialize in European-style rye sourdough bread and keto goods. Our menu includes such specialty rye bread as Borodinsky dark rye, German seeded hamster rye, and 100% whole rye. All our rye bread is delicious, organic, vegan, nutritious, high-fiber, and low-gluten. We hope our customers will support us in our rye venture and, more importantly, enjoy every single healthy and delicious bite.
Curiosity and inspiration are the keys to our success. Though bread-baking involves a great deal of science it is an art form. Just like artisan masters hand-craft each ceramic pot, we hand-shape each and every loaf we bake. We use only traditional recipes and baking techniques to preserve the historical meaning of our rye sourdough loaves. The more we dig into the history of the rye bread we bake, the more fascinated we are with the depths of the cultural value it carries. We, as artisan bakers, are the ambassadors of the bread culture that gives our customers something more than just bread consumption. We give them the taste of history, high quality, and connection with the artisan bread heritage.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love nature! When I have some spare time I choose to spend it in nature. If it’s the ocean then I prefer Point Dume, California. If it’s a forest then Big Bear Lake is my first choice.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Armen Menechyan Yoga Instructor & Owner of Pür Joy Yoga Center