Baker Spotlight: Dylan Carnes, Owner and Vegan Baker of Sinfull Bakery, Wants to Go National
Not many people wake up and say they want to be a baker when they have never baked a single thing in their entire life, but Dylan Carnes is one of those people. And she didn't decide she was going to be a regular baker -- she chose to be a vegan baker.
Photo by Molly Dunn Dylan Carnes doesn't think she is a baker, but her scrumptious vegan products beg to differ.
After moving from Houston to the northwest, serving in the Washington Conservation Corps and interning at Blacksheep Bakery in Portland, Carnes moved back to Houston with her sights set on opening her own vegan bakery, a first in the area.
"I decided once I was in Portland and practicing my own baking skills that I was going to move back to Texas because there's just no vegan bakeries here," Carnes says. "There are some in Austin -- at the time there were a couple that were pretty popular -- and Dallas has the Spiral Diner, but there was nothing in Houston."
Barely 25 years old, Carnes opened Sinfull Bakery, an all-vegan wholesale bakery, with no professional experience or formal baking education. Everything she knows about baking vegan products comes from cookbooks.
"I don't really think of myself as a baker, even though I am a baker," she says. "I didn't go to culinary school; I can do some of the stuff, though -- I practice a lot. Honestly, for me it was tons of reading. I read every non-vegan cookbook you could read, and I never read a vegan one, and that's what I went off of...how they did it, and eventually I figured out the trick, which was most things don't need eggs, but people think they do."
Photo by Molly Dunn The recipe for this pumpkin pie crust is as simple as it gets.
While Carnes thinks it is embarrassing to admit, she admires Martha Stewart and owns quite a few of her cookbooks.
"I didn't want to know what everyone else was doing in the vegan baking world. Mine is a lot different than what they are doing," Carnes says. "Just because I don't do a lot of adding stuff. I do it so simple. I just go back to the basics -- flour, water and salt is all that is in my pie crust, and nothing else; well, that and Earth Balance, so [vegan] butter. But they do a lot of awesome stuff ... and I have tasted it all and it is great. They put a lot of flax or something to replace the eggs and stuff like that, and I just go very basic."
Currently, Sinfull Bakery sells a variety of vegan products, including cinnamon rolls, cookies, bars, sweet loaves, cupcakes and pies. Her products are sold around Houston at several coffee shops, such as Black Hole, Antidote and Catalina; they can also be found at Central Market, Georgia's Farm to Market, Urban Harvest on Wednesdays and Sundays, and now online.
"If you do the right portions of flour, baking soda [and] baking powder, all of those combine if you do it at the right ratios," she says. "But then there is sometimes when amazing vegan bakers do all kinds of crazy things like make meringues. I know what they use for it, which is great and awesome; I wish I wanted to do that, but I don't for some reason. I like doing it like this."