After baking some gluten-friendly muffins and cookies for her family, Millie Drum realized sharing nutritious baked goods wasn’t something she wanted to do just for family and friends — it was something she wanted to offer the entire Birmingham community.
“I thought it would be a great idea. I was telling my sister-in-law I would love to do that one day, and she said, ‘Do it,’” said Drum, a Heatherwood resident.
Her sister-in-law was right in the middle of opening Bloom, a creative wellness studio and event space in Cahaba Heights, at the time. She immediately encouraged Drum to sell her baked goods at Bloom once it opened.
It was that encouragement, Drum said, that brought to life the idea of Sunrise Baking Company.
Sunrise Baking Company, an online baked goods service with weekly pickup locations and daily offerings at Bloom and Innova Coffee, combines Drum’s love for fitness and healthy eating with baked goods recipes that are grain, dairy and refined sugar-free. Each week, her subscribers get a Sunday order option where they can purchase treats that will be ready for pickup just a few days later.
“People are so excited about the baked goods. I have a lot of people who want to eat gluten-free or have to eat gluten-free or grain-free, and they are just very excited about the baked goods because they don’t have a lot that’s available to them, so that makes me happy to feel like I’m meeting a need for them,” Drum said.
Drum said she’s always liked baking, but it wasn’t until recently that she thought about doing it as a business. When she was a stay-at-home mom for four children, she was often busy making healthy food for all her kids and even their athletic teams at Spain Park High School.
“When I started trying to [eat paleo more], I started trying the recipes and started thinking there’s so many good, nutritious baked goods you can make. It’s almost like why would you eat a not-nutritious one when there’s so many good ones that have so many health benefits?” Drum said.
Even though Drum doesn’t have to eat gluten or grain-free, she said she chooses to for the health benefits.
“I feel like nutrition is such an important part of health, preventing any health problems and just for the best quality of life,” she said.
In the last few years, three grandchildren have been added to the family, she said, with one more on the way this year. That’s why she decided to start making lactation cookies, which have been one of the most popular products so far for both nursing mothers and people just trying to eat healthy.
“They are full of all kinds of things that help support a nursing mom’s milk supply,” she said. She has made a new version that contains oatmeal, which so far has been her only grain product.
Other popular baked goods include her pecan muffins, which she sweetens with molasses and coconut sugar and adds pecans. She said “they kind of taste like pecan pie, a healthier version.” One of Drum’s favorite things to eat is avocado toast, so she made gluten-free, grain-free “everyday” bread, made with flax, one of her top priorities.
Almost all of her baked goods are made with coconut oil, Drum said. She does most of her baking at Chef’s Kitchen, a commercial kitchen located in Hoover, and she said it’s been a huge help with her getting started. Although it is not certified as a gluten-free kitchen, she makes all her baked goods gluten-friendly, without actively adding any gluten ingredients.
This summer, she will be at farmers markets at Pepper Place, West Homewood and Lee Branch, with her mom helping her when production ramps up.
Drum has done a few gluten-friendly birthday cakes and offers a weekly baked goods feature with new items.
“I love to try new things, so I’m hoping to do cakes for Easter and paleo pecan pies that did well last Thanksgiving again. So for different holidays, I like to have a special item I offer,” she said.
Follow her on Facebook and Instagram at Sunrise Baking Company. For more information, go to sunrisebakingcompany.com.