WAXHAW, NC – The Baker, a bakery located in the new Mule Barn Mercantile on 121 A S. Broome Street, is owned by Chef and Baker Michael Pappas and his wife, Michelle. They opened on April 22, 2021, and have been serving Waxhaw delicious pastries and bread to rave reviews!
The Baker is a traditional European-style bakery, which means that their products are not all sweet and sugary; they have savory items and loaves of bread. They practice conventional European-style techniques for fermenting dough, laminating breakfast pastries, and composing high-end pastry items. All baked goods are made in Waxhaw and are made from natural, non-GMO, and organic ingredients. They use local honey, eggs, and local flour from Lindsey Mills in North Carolina.
The construction of the bakery was contracted by Michelle’s father, Troy Pruitt, and features 100-year-old reclaimed wood from a Union County schoolhouse.
Micheal Pappas has more than 20 years of industry experience in high-end restaurants, including executive and director-level roles for local and national brands. You may have seen or heard of his work on WBTV and NPR Radio. His focus is on product quality, excellence in customer service, and clean and hygienic operations. Pappas’s core values include meticulously sourced ingredients, serving and honoring guests, an obsession with freshness, and excellence in customer service. He aims to provide baked goods that are not only delicious but good for you, made from the highest quality ingredients. In addition, he wants customers to feel good about their purchases, aiming to “touch people’s hearts, not just their pocketbooks.”
Becoming a baker was initially a challenge for the renowned chef. In 2007 he ran his first restaurant in Charleston and wanted to make fresh bread for his customers. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he read Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman, the director of King Arthur Flour, and The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. The research helped tremendously, and soon his bread was one of the most popular things in the restaurant. He began selling it in-store, then to friends and family, and finally to the residents of downtown Charleston.
Pappas’s bread-making was so successful that Peter Reinhart took notes on his research and techniques and featured them in his new book The Bread Revolution. As a chef, Micheal had also delved into cheese making and meat curing with great success. Determined to learn more about pastries, Micheal studied under Jacquy Pfeiffer of the French Pastry School in Chicago and learned pastry making.
Micheal decided to take his best experiences as a chef and baker and open The Baker in Waxhaw. His items are sought after, and the bakery sells out of nearly everything every day of the week. One of his most popular pastries is a chocolate mousse with Frangelico (an Italian hazelnut liquor), with chocolate-studded cake, dipped in chocolate ganache, and topped with 24 karat gold.
Being a European-style bakery sets The Baker apart from other area bakeries in that not all of their products are sweet. They serve savory items and bread as well. In Europe, the bakeries are part of people’s everyday lives; it’s where they go to get quality baked goods. Pappas looks first to the health of his clients, providing bread and pastries made with all-natural ingredients: no food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial ingredients. He wants his customers to feel good about the quality of the items they are buying.
The Baker will have some new and exciting flavors for the upcoming Fall season. A coconut-raspberry cheesecake will debut in about a week, and they plan to have high-visibility, high-impact, delicious giant pastries for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
According to Pappas, “Your first ten years as a chef are spent focusing on yourself and your craft, learning and exploring, the second 10 years are spent spreading the word about how great your food is, and the next ten years are spent truly serving the needs of your customers. First, you ask yourself, ‘How do I purchase things to enhance my customer’s eating experience?’ Serving the customer is at the heart of what you do.”
The Baker is located at 121 A S. Broome Street inside the Mule Barn Mercantile. You can reach them via telephone at (704) 221-9561 and follow their journey on social media on Facebook at “The Baker Waxhaw” and on Instagram @thebakerwaxhaw.