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Bake, eat, enjoy

By Staff | Sep 13, 2012

KOLACHES, which are a traditional Czech pastry, can feature a variety of fruit fillings, including apple, blueberry, raspberry and cherry.

“Smells wonderful” is a common refrain each time a customer walks through the door of the Kettel House Bakery and comments on the enticing kolaches, cinnamon rolls and other treats that are displayed throughout the room.

“We’ve been surprised by how fast this business has taken off,” said Cindy Kettelkamp, 53, who opened the bakery in April 2012 with her daughter Emily Hamilton, 24. “When you walk in here, we want it to be like coming home to a place filled with the aroma of fresh-baked bread and cookies.”

Located in a vintage house near the heart of Marion, the Kettel House Bakery’s roots stretch back to the farm near Marion where the Kettelkamps run a dairy. The Kettelkamps have also sold baked goods at local farmers’ markets for nearly 20 years.

Their bakery is the result of a 4-H project gone wild, said Hamilton, who began baking cinnamon rolls at age 9.

“When I was old enough to join 4-H,” Kettlekamp said, “I started exhibiting my baked goods each year and competed at the Iowa State Fair, and things took off from there.”

-Farm News photos by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby EMILY HAMILTON bakes many loaves of bread each week including Asiago cheese flavors and her great-grandmother’s dill casserole bread, with which she is experimenting as a potential item to sell at the Kettel House Bakery in Marion.

Hamilton continued to bake items for farmers’ markets when she went to college. After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2010 with a degree in studio drawing, customers’ strong demand for the Kettelkamp family’s baked goods at area farmers’ markets opened new possibilities.

“We saw this could be a business opportunity,” Kettlekamp said, “and part of our mission is to help other women entrepreneurs.” She said Megan Knatz, who started selling cupcakes at the Kettel House Bakery this spring, now owns her own business (Take the Cake Cupcakes) in Marion.

Kettelkamp, Hamilton and their employees keep busy preparing hundreds of baked goods each week for their store, the local Fareway grocery store and a number of farmers’ markets in the area. They rely on many family recipes for their signature items.

“Home cooking is the way we’ve fed our family for years,” said Kettelkamp, whose mother, Lori Cordes, also helps at the bakery a few mornings each week.

“I think it’s important to teach the next generation cooking skills they can use for the rest of their lives.”

-Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby CINDY KETTELKAMP, left, and her daughter, Emily Hamilton, 24, have sold baked goods at local farmers’ markets for nearly 20 years. They opened the Kettel House Bakery in Marion in April 2012. Their cookies, kolaches and other items have become top sellers.


(This traditional recipe showcases the popular Czech pastry that can feature a variety of fruit fillings, Kettlekamp said.)

6 cups milk

3 tablespoons yeast

2 tablespoons salt

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

6 cups flour

1 cup vegetable oil

Approximately 8 cups of flour (with a total amount of 11 to 14 cups flour)

4 cans of pie filling (use any flavor desired)

Scald milk. Cool and add yeast and salt. Let mixture sit 5 minutes. Add eggs and sugar. Beat together.

Add 6 cups of flour and stir. Add 5 to 6 more cups of flour and combine into the mixture.

Add vegetable oil. Dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and form an elastic ball.

Place dough in greased bowl. Allow dough to rise until it doubles in size. Form kolaches by taking pieces of dough and forming them into 3- to 3.5-inch circles. Place kolaches on a pan to rise until the kolaches have doubled in size. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to make an indentation in the center of each kolache, and add pie filling. Let rise.

Bake kolaches at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 60 kolaches.

Banana cookies

(Hamilton grew up enjoying these cookies, noting they are still a good treat.)

1 1/2 cups shortening

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

4 mashed bananas

3 1/2 cups to 4 cups flour (amount will depend on the size of the bananas used in the recipe)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda


6 tablespoons brown sugar

4 tablespoons cream

4 tablespoons butter

Powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream shortening and brown sugar together. Add eggs and mashed bananas. Combine flour, salt and baking soda, and add to the banana mixture. Drop dough from a tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

To make the icing, combine brown sugar, cream and butter, and bring to a full boil.

Remove from heat and add enough powdered sugar so the icing can be spread on the cookies. Beat until smooth and add vanilla. Spread icing on cookies.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

(Cindy Kettelkamp’s mother, Lori Cordes, sent batches of these cookies to Kettlekamp while she was a student at the University of Northern Iowa.)

1 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted flour

2 cups quick oatmeal

1 12-ounce package chocolate chips

Cream together shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and water. Add soda and salt to batter. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips to the batter.

Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cookies’ edges are nicely browned.

Dill casserole bread

(This savory recipe came from Hamilton’s great-grandmother, Ila Gordon, who was reared on a farm near Barnum and lived in Fort Dodge.)

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup creamed cottage cheese (run the cottage cheese through the blender)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dried, minced onion

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

2 1/4 cups to 2 1/2 cups flour


Soften the yeast in the warm water. In a mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sugar, minced onion, butter, dill seed, salt, baking soda and egg.

Add softened yeast mixture to the batter. Stir well. Add flour to form a stiff dough.

Let dough rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and place in a greased, 8-inch round casserole pan. Let dough rise 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Brush the top of the bread with butter.

Croissant chicken salad sandwiches

3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 fresh basil leaves, minced

3 cups cubed, cooked chicken

1 1/2 cups grapes, sliced in half

1/2 cup roughly chopped cashews or sliced almonds

2 stalks celery, diced

4 to 5 diced spring onions

6 to 8 plain croissants

Lettuce leaves to garnish the sandwiches

Havarti cheese (or a cheese of choice)

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper and basil.

Fold in chicken, grapes, cashews, celery and onions.

Slice croissants in half, and layer with salad, lettuce and cheese.

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