Get to know Chef Alison Turner of Salem Baking Company
by Celia Eisentrager
The Salem Baking Company has been making and baking a delicious array of products since 1930. What began as a retail bakery in Winston- Salem, then known as Dewey’s Bakery, is now known as Salem Baking Company which focuses on traditional baked products for national distribution. Thru the year, they have remained faithful to the origins of time-honored classics such as Moravian Cookies, Cheese Straws, Cheese Biscuits, Flatbread Crackers, and Shortbread Cookies, just to name a few. One bite and you will you know that these classic recipes have been crafted with care and that only the finest ingredients have been used.
In the interest of full disclosure, Salem Bakery Company is supplying cookies forThe Southern C Summit swag bags so Whitney may have sampled a few in advance. She gave them two thumbs up. She couldn’t talk because her mouth was full. 🙂
Q & A with Chef Alison Turner at Salem Baking Company
What are your top selling products?
We’re best known for our Moravian Cookies, which we’ve been baking since we began as a retail bakery in 1930 in Winston-Salem, N.C. These unique cookies are thin, crisp and packed with flavor. We bake them with all-natural ingredients such as pure cream butter, whole eggs and finely milled wheat flour. Ginger Spice Moravian Cookies are made with the original recipe that was brought to North Carolina centuries ago from the European kingdom of Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic. Over the years, we’ve created many new flavors that preserve the classic Old World Moravian baking tradition. Favorites include Meyer Lemon, Pumpkin Spice, and Chocolate Dipped Mint.
We’re also beloved for our Cheese Straws, a classic Southern treat that we offer in an array of savory flavors, including Classic Cheddar, Parmesan Artichoke Garlic, Sun-Dried Tomato Basil, and Pimento.
After being in the business for over 80 years, what are some of the things that have changed and what has stayed the same throughout the years?
We love the innovation that’s become possible as customers become more open to new and unique flavor combinations. Thanks to the explosion of food blogs and the ability to share recipes, there are more foodies than ever before. Our bakers can create flavors that would have been met with skepticism 10 years ago and know that people will appreciate them today. Our customers love flavors like Pomegranate Lime, Chocolate Dipped Toasted Coconut and Caramel with Sea Salt.
What has stayed the same is our devotion to using the highest quality natural ingredients, and our commitment to staying true to the traditional recipes that we’ve used for generations. In 1930, we baked with wholesome, fresh ingredients because that was the way that all baking was done. Things have certainly changed in the food industry since then, but we believe in maintaining the time-honored baking philosophy that makes our treats so amazing.
What makes your bakery uniquely Southern?
The South has a wonderful dichotomy of tradition and innovation. We’ll always stay true to the art of Moravian Baking that we’ve been perfecting for 80 years, while our artisan bakers continue to build on that tradition to create unique new products. Moravian treats have become a quintessential part of North Carolina and we’re proud to carry on that tradition as people all over the country discover what North Carolinians have known and loved for years.
What is your secret to success?
We never forget our heritage. Each and every recipe stays true to what we’ve always believed in – crafting our products with care using the finest, most essential ingredients to convey the naturally vivid flavors in everything we bake.
What is your favorite Southern baking recipe?
I’ve created an ever-growing collection of pairing recipes that combine our Moravian Cookies and Flatbread Crackers with fine cheeses and gourmet spreads. Effortless appetizers are a Southern entertaining staple, and these pairings are elegant yet easy to put together at the last minute. My favorite pairing is our Cheddar & Chive Flatbread Crackers with Pimento Cheese, fresh tomato slices and bacon. This savory flavor combination is simple enough to make for an afternoon snack and elegant enough to serve at a party! We also have a recipe for grilled peaches with rum and brown sugar that pairs perfectly with a scoop of ice cream and Meyer Lemon Moravian Cookies. We’re always posting new recipe ideas on our Facebook page and on the Recipe & Ideas page at Salem Baking.
Please share any additional information about your company that you would like our readers to know!
In April, we’ll be launching a new line of Delightfully Thin & Crispy Cookies. Every single bite of each cookie is filled with premium inclusions, such as real peanut butter, rich chocolate chips, tangy cranberries, and sweet praline pecans. Our bakers have created a taste and quality reminiscent of your favorite homemade cookies, featuring incredible new flavors unlike any you’ve ever tasted. The cookies are available in seven decadent flavors, including Caramel Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt, Oatmeal Cranberry Almond with Tupelo Honey, and Chocolate Mint.