Meet Jake Kubik

Major Gift Officer, Sanford Health

A few times a week, Jake Kubik’s home turns into a bakery. Out of his oven comes English muffins, baguettes and sourdough loaves of all flavors, from cinnamon raisin to cheddar olive and dark chocolate cranberry.

Jake is a major gift officer at Sanford Health in Bismarck, but he also runs Jake’s Bakes, a small, home bakery business, with his wife Erin.

“We had been making sourdough for ourselves and then for family members and as gifts,” he describes. “Then, over a period of time, they told us, you should be selling this at farmer’s markets.”

But in Lincoln, North Dakota, where the Kubik’s call home, there wasn’t a farmer’s market. So last year, Jake and Erin teamed up with another couple to start one.

Today, the farmer’s market in Lincoln has over 50 vendors that sell a variety of items.

“Farmer’s market vendors are really unique, cool people who all have entrepreneurial mindsets,” he says. “It’s really cool to be around those folks.”

During farmer’s market season, Jake bakes about 100 items each week, all sourdough-based. He also sells his bread out of their home for pickup or delivery in Lincoln after orders come in through their Facebook page.

His passion for making sourdough bread started about three years ago when Jake and Erin were looking for a hobby outside of work. At the time, they were watching a documentary on Netflix based on author Michael Pollan’s book, “Cooked.” Each episode focused on cooking with one of four elements: fire, water, air and earth.

“The episode on air focused a lot on bread and specifically sourdough bread,” Jake explains. “Everything with sourdough is made with a starter, and that’s how humans made bread until about the 1930s when commercial yeasts were developed.”

Inspired by “Cooked,” Jake used a homemade starter to make his first batch of sourdough bread.

With sourdough as the base, Jake makes a variety of bread flavors and he’s always experimenting with new ones. Before a new flavor becomes available, it gets a custom name. Jake’s cinnamon raisin bread is called the Rais’N Shine while his favorite cheddar jalapeno bread is named the Sinister.

“We make a traditional product with new-age flavors,” he says.

Currently, the Kubik’s are working on a commercial partnership with a local kitchen. They’d like to start selling Jake’s Bakes wholesale to grocery stores and restaurants.

Jake also looks for ways to use his passion for baking to give back. In February, Jake and Erin started Loaves of Love and for every loaf of bread they sold, they donated a loaf of their classic sourdough to the Heaven’s Helpers Soup Café in Bismarck.

“It’s a soup kitchen but it’s also a café in the feel and layout,” Jake describes. “When you walk in, you can sit at a table and then volunteers will let you know about what’s on the menu and bring it out. They treat people from all walks of life just as equals and as if you’re in a restaurant.”

By the end of February, Loaves of Love donated a total of 52 loaves. Inspired by how they could use Jake’s Bakes to help others, in May they matched their bread sales again and this time, donated to the United Way Emergency Homeless Shelter in Bismarck.

Helping create and build community around bread is one of Jake’s favorite aspects of Jake’s Bakes, whether that’s providing a meal to someone in need of nourishment or connecting with a new customer at a farmer’s market.

“I’ve met so many amazing people,” he says. “And people love our bread.”