Consumer, food

Downtown Bakery Celebrates One Year of Sweet Experimenting

The Sweet Praxis bakery sells pastries that are gluten-free and vegan. (c) 2017 Jenna Babyak

Listen here to find out why one of the owners of the Sweet Praxis says their bakery is different than others.

By Jenna Babyak SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) – A downtown bakery has been making Syracuse a little bit sweeter for one year now.

The Sweet Praxis opened up on the first floor of the Grange building in Hanover Square on November 2, 2016. Where most bakeries would have a kitchen, though, The Sweet Praxis staff calls its food prep area a “Bake Lab.”

“We’ll take a recipe we’re already doing, swap out some ingredients or hybridize it with a different recipe,” said Jennifer Walls, bakery co-owner. “And then we all try it, we all tweak it, we all comment on it. So it’s kind of like there’s a test variable and then there’s a control. It’s almost like a laboratory.”

Walls and her partner, Natalie Evans, first hatched the idea in early 2011 when they were business partners at an architecture firm together. They had already been baking for birthdays at the office and other events, but they decided they would try popping up at local farmers’ markets on the weekends as something fun to do on the side. By May, their idea was launched, and they started selling just two products every weekend: cupcakes and french macaroons. Walls said it started out as a side-business, but soon it became obvious that it was their passion.

“We worked full-time, so it wasn’t really a reality until two years ago when we really started to think, ‘Seriously, do we want to do this?'” Walls said.

The owners didn’t want to completely let go of their architecture background, so they gave their bakery a unique name that represented it.

“It has to do with putting a theory into practice, that trial and error, that constant exploration of experimenting with things, testing things, trying again,” Walls said, explaining the term “Praxis.” “And that’s what we wanted our business to be like–constantly changing with the seasons, playing with new ingredients that we’re finding locally, seasonally, and playing with food trends as they come up.”

The Sweet Praxis is on the first floor of the historic Grange Building in Hanover Square. (c) 2017 Jenna Babyak

Jennifer Walls, bakery co-owner, looks at the meringues her baking staff made early Wednesday morning. (c) 2017 Jenna Babyak