Bakers serve up vegan options

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The smell of homemade bread fills the air at the Lake Hollingsworth Apartments as two Florida Southern College students prepare for Lakeland’s Farmers Curb Market on Saturday.

However, this is not a typical baking scene. The milk is almond milk, and the butter is Earth Balance, a soy and dairy-free butter substitute.  The bread is gluten-free orange poppy seed bread, and the bakers are freshmen Noelle Morley and Ally Fitzgerald, founders of Two Broke Bakers.

“There’s no dairy, no eggs, and sometimes not even any wheat,” Fitzgerald said.

On Fridays the two get together to bake up their vegan, gluten and soy-free goods for the market. Fitzgerald and Morley usually work out of the kitchen in the Fannin Ministry Center.

Sometimes scheduling conflicts move them to other locations, like a friend’s apartment at Lake Hollingsworth.

“We’ll be in this kitchen until probably three in the morning,” Morley said.

Baking late does not make for much sleep, as the two wake up at 5:45 a.m. so that they can get to the market at 7 a.m.

The Two Broke Bakers booth stays up until 2 p.m. If there is anything left at the end of the day, the two take their leftovers and trade them with other vendors.

“It’s like a really good community,” Fitzgerald said.

Their best sellers include their homemade nutter butter cookies and peanut brittle. Like several of their recipes, the recipe for the peanut brittle comes from Fitzgerald’s family.

“A lot of my recipes are from my family, and I make them vegan,” Fitzgerald said.

While Fitzgerald is a vegan and has been so for nearly a year, Morley is not.

“I’m Italian. I can’t be vegan,” Morley said.

Even so, after Morley tried some of Fitzgerald’s vegan recipes at the beginning of the year she started baking with her at Nicholas Hall.

“The first thing we made were cookies, vegan chocolate chip cookies,” Morley said. “And it was funny, because we didn’t have any spatulas. So we used our ID cards.”

As they baked in the communal kitchen, several people began asking if they could have some of their baked goods. They began hosting vegan nights, which eventually led to talk of going to the Farmer’s Market.

“She [Fitzgerald] said to me one night, we were in my room, and she’s like, ‘What if we went to the Farmer’s Market?’” Morley said. “And I’m like, oh, that’s funny. That’s not going to happen.”

However, the two called up the manager of the market to see what the requirements were.

The two began brainstorming ideas for a name, such as “Two Girls And An Oven” and “Don’t Have A Cow.” Two Broke Bakers received the most votes in a Facebook Poll, and was made the official name.

They bought insurance and reserved a space, setting up shop in November among, according to the Farmers Curb Market website, around 44 other vendors.

Fitzgerald and Morley hope to continue to run their small business throughout their time at Florida Southern College.

“I think we’re going to do it all four years,” Fitzgerald said.