From the very start of his journey with Baltzersen’s, there was one thing Paul was insistent on serving in his café: cinnamon buns from Grandma B’s original recipe book.
However Paul is no baker himself. He searched Harrogate far and wide and finally found Linda to help him turn Grandma B’s 90-year-old scribbles into the wonderful pillows of swirly cinnamon delight he’d envisioned, and thus, the Baltzersen’s cinnamon bun was born.
Linda has been a part of the team from pretty much the very beginning and her story is an interesting one.
Growing up in Kenya, she would tell her friends as the bus for the prestigious ‘Kenya Utalii College’ passed her primary school each day that one day she would be on it. Sure enough, a few years later, she was.
After obtaining her degree, she worked for many years as a haute cuisine chef in Kenya, before she eventually set her sites on the UK, moving to Harrogate in 2012.
When I ask how Harrogate compares to her hometown in Kenya she laughs, explaining that Harrogate is a lot more tranquil than the vibrant, buzzing town in which she grew up “it’s different. Great, but different”.
She first became interested in cooking whilst watching her mother in the kitchen as a child. Fascinated by what she saw, she would use anything she could find to mirror the way her mother used her hands to transform basic ingredients into elaborate dishes, even if that meant ‘cooking’ with mud and water.
Having spent the better part of her life in haute cuisine, Linda sees baking as a sort of nice break for her. She’s learnt over the years just how different the two art forms are and offers a simple yet valuable piece of wisdom “baking is a science, cooking is an art”.
A Day in the Life of Linda
A typical day for Linda begins at 4am. She arrives at the Baltzersen’s kitchen at around 5am and begins by firing up the ovens, lining the trays, and, most importantly: placing the cinnamon buns in the oven.
She then gets on with baking the other regular pastries such as skolebrød and sultanaboller. She must ensure that the majority of the doughs are proven before 6.45am – a time when most of us are still tucked up in bed.
The passion and excitement Linda has for the things she bakes is inspiring. She still finds the task rewarding and explains how, because of the delicate nature of baking, each batch of cinnamon buns or sultanaboller is different. Perhaps it’s the icing sugar getting up our noses, but we sort of understand what she means when she says, “In a way, they talk to me”.
Developing the Cinnamon Bun Recipe
The cinnamon bun recipe itself took six months of development to get to what it is today. Taken from Grandma B’s original book, the ingredients used back in Norway in 1917 were very different to those we have in Harrogate today.
It therefore took months of tweaking and binfulls of failed batches before Linda finally achieved the perfect combination of squidge, spice and sweetness
It’s not only cinnamon buns that this artisan conjures up in the kitchen. She’s also the brains (and hands) behind many of the other cakes you find on our counter each morning. Paul gives free reign to Linda and her fellow bakers when it comes to choosing what to bake each day, encouraging them to be creative and inventive. Safe to say they never disappoint.
Linda is a cherished member of our team and Baltzersen’s wouldn’t be the same without her, and of course her cinnamon buns.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight in to the face behind those beautiful buns – now it’s time to get yourself down here, we wouldn’t want any of her babies going to waste would we?!