The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Small Batch Baking Company takes the traditional loaf and bakes bite-size babka snacks. Courtesy photo.

Small Batch Baking Company

Bite-size babka comes in packaging and can also be catered for holidays, celebrations and events.
Order online at, or visit the Bedford Fields Farmers Market on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bedford Fields (331 Route 101, Bedford).

Breaking down babka
From loaf to snack-size treat with Small Batch Baking


 For Sheryl Blackwell and Susan Friedburg, babka isn’t just a treat — it’s a taste of childhood memories.

Babka is prevalent in bakeries in New York where Blackwell grew up. Friedburg still remembers the smells in the kitchen and the memories of baking babka when she would visit her own grandparents in Brooklyn. 
Traditional babka loaves are hard to find in New Hampshire, they said. The closest loaves they found came from bakeries in Brookline, Mass. After that discovery, the two decided New Hampshire needed babka, with a bit of a twist. They formed Small Batch Baking Company and now bake and sell bite-size babka pieces.
“You can have a great snack, something you remember from your childhood, in just a few bites,” Blackwell said. “We were convinced the world needed snack-size babka. … You can look anywhere in the world and it doesn’t exist.”
Blackwell and Friedburg bake the babka in the traditional loaf. Similar to making rugelach or biscotti, they cut the babka into snack-size portions before packaging. But while the process is traditional, the flavor varieties at Small Batch Baking Company are new.
“We didn’t necessarily go out to reinvent babka,” Blackwell said, adding that traditionally, babka is made with chocolate or cinnamon. “You’re not going to find blueberry cinnamon out there. It’s bringing sort of the new-world mentality to an old world favorite.”
The snack-size babka bites come in traditional chocolate, chocolate cappuccino, blueberry cinnamon and chocolate raspberry.
“We definitely thought the traditional chocolate would sell the best, but the cappuccino and the blueberry cinnamon take turns [being most popular] at the market,” Blackwell said.
The babka is made in Friedburg’s kitchen; since the two women are also mothers, sometimes they bake in tandem. Friedburg might start the loaf, and Blackwell steps in when Friedburg has to bring her son to school. The whole process takes about four hours, since it’s a yeast based bread that needs to rise twice in the process.
“It is a bread, not a cookie, not a piece of cake,” Blackwell said. “It can be eaten as a snack, it can be eaten at breakfast time. It’s really an all-day snackfood; it’s very versatile.”
Small Batch Baking Company is a family affair, as it’s not hard to find taste-testers. Friedburg’s husband and father-in-law particularly enjoy tasting new recipes, she said. It also helps that Friedburg’s father-in-law grew up in a bakery business. Friedburg and Blackwell’s sons also enjoy their mom’s new homestead business.
“I never would have guessed that I’d be in a baking business,” Friedburg said. “One of the things I’ve been very passionate about is offering this family tradition and family memory to people. … This is really something that comes from our tradition and from our hearts.”
Small Batch Baking Company has been attending the Bedford Fields Farmers Market and also takes orders online. Coffee shops like Bean Towne Coffee House in Hampstead and Village Bean Fine Coffees in Windham have also picked up the bite-size babka. Next up, Blackwell and Friedburg will be providing babka for the closing event at the New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival in April. After that, they hope to attend the Concord Farmers Market during the summer. 
As seen in the February 27, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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