Today we’d like to introduce you to Ernestina “Ernie” Flores.
Ernestina “Ernie”, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am born and raised in Oak Cliff. I first started baking at a very young age. I love two watch cooking shows on PBS. I would spend my Saturdays glued to the TV and then would try to remake the recipes in my mom’s kitchen. Sometimes recipes would turn out good and other times it would be a total flop. I remember spending the night at a friend’s house and we decided to make some whole wheat bread. We had no idea what we were doing but we had fun trying. The end result of our bread-making was a dry, hard brick of inedible bread.
After graduating from high school in 1993, I enrolled in the pastry apprenticeship program at El Centro Community College. Through the apprenticeship program at El Centro, I worked for three years as a pastry apprentice at the Omni Madalay in Las Colinas. I worked full-time and went to school part-time. I worked crazy hours and completely immersed myself in learning the craft of baking.
As the years passed, I put my baking career on the back burner. I got married (this October we will be celebrating our 20 yr. anniversary), had my son (he is 18 and going to college), and worked jobs outside of the food industry. As time went by, I gravitated back to baking. It’s in my blood! Fast forward to December 2016, my husband suffered a major medical crisis and he was unable to return to work. Times were hard and I began baking again. At first, I sold to my friends and family, then started taking more and more orders. I decided to take my dream off the back burner and put it in the oven to bake. Flores Bakehaus will turn 1 this October 18th and here I am sharing my story with you.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No smooth roads, not at all. There has been a lot of detours along the way. I was 18 years old when I decided to pursue a career in baking. After I completed my apprenticeship, I worked at a couple of bakeries in the DFW area and several non-food service jobs. In addition to my baking business, I currently work a full-time administrative job. And yes, the struggle is real!!! Challenges are scary but I now see them as opportunities to grow.
Balancing family life, growing a business and taking time to take care of myself are all challenges. It takes a lot of hard work in starting a business. Endless hours are spent on planning menus, testing recipes, going to sleep late and waking up super early to bake. There have been plenty of occasions where I have forgotten to add an ingredient or baked something longer than needed and had to throw it in the trash.
I also try to include vegan items on my menus. My son is vegan and he has always been the driving force for me to make vegan baked goods. At first, I was hesitant because vegan baked goods I have tried in the past were dry and tasteless. My thought was, “If I make banana bread that has eggs and milk and then make a vegan version, I want them to taste the same.” A lot of bananas have been used trying to perfect a vegan version of my banana bread but I finally came up with a recipe that tastes exactly the same as the non-vegan banana bread!
Tell us more about the business.
Flores Bakehaus is a micro-bakery in Dallas, Texas established in October of 2018. I specialize in quick breads, cookies, cinnamon rolls and other delicious treats. Our products are made in small batches, from scratch and made to order. I am mainly known for the different quick breads I make. Some of my most popular flavors are banana, banana-pecan and choco-banana. I recently started making cactus bread “pan de nopal” and it has been a hit! I have new “fall-inspired” flavors that are going to debuted at the end of September. The new menu includes: Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Pecan Crumble, Guava Bread, Chai Spice Pear Scones and Café de Olla Bread (Coffee with Cinnamon).
Flores Bakehaus operates under the Texas Cottage Food Law, which allows the production and sale of nonperishable items from my kitchen in Dallas. My goal is to make amazing baked goods for all to enjoy! Flores Bakehaus currently sells at local vendor markets and pop-up events in and around the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. Follow us on social media for information about our upcoming events.
I try to bring my culture into the food I bake. I see a recipe or an ingredient and start thinking how would that flavor profile taste in bread or a cookie. I think about the trips I took to Mexico as a child with my family. We always went during winter break and I remember being welcomed by my family with a warm and delicious meal. When I bake that is the feeling I want people to have when they are eating something I made. When they taste my bread, they say that it reminds them of something their mom or grandmother made for them as a child. I think that is the best compliment anyone can receive.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I can’t say I believe in luck. However, I believe that opportunities come up and one can either take them or walk away from them. My faith in God has also been a constant force in my life and business, sometimes that means stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping out in faith to try new things for my business. This past year I have met a lot of vendors who have been so welcoming and helpful. They keep in the loop about upcoming markets and they truly want to have success in your business. They provide a great sense of community and support. I have made a lot of changes to my business during this first year and it has all been a result of advice or suggestions from other vendors. One has to be willing to listen to advice and take the good and put aside the not so good advice.
- Banana Bread $10
- Sweet Potato Bread $12
- Cafe de Olla Bread $12
- Banana-Pecan Bread $15
- Guava Bread $14
- Website: https://floresbakehaus.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/floresbakehaus/
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/floresbakehaus/
- Other: https://linktr.ee/floresbakehaus