With methodical precision and a gentle calmness, Mallory Weeks readies herself for business with a checkered apron, whisks and a long list of ingredients as an early morning exercise in mindfulness.
Assorted bowls of zested lemons, grated zucchini and peeled bananas are matched with measured flour in Weeks’ assembly line.
She calculates the perfect fruit to bread ratio in each bite in part due to science but mostly from love, which has drawn a lot of repeat customers to Mallory’s Bakery in Key Largo.
Weeks has long been known to be a baker. She was famous for her cookies when she worked at a local school before the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to self-isolate indefinitely.
During the initial months of the pandemic when boxes of vegetables were being distributed through the community and zucchini infiltrated the area with abundance, Weeks came up with her zucchini loaf brainchild, which transformed the summer squash into a delectable treat.
“We ended up with two cases of zucchini and we started making bread,” Weeks said. “We were making them as gifts to give to the community during a difficult time. At the time, I was out of work. Now I’m turning my lemons into loaves. Lemons seem to be a good theme for moment.”
As the virus wears on, and in a controlled environment with the oven set to 350 degrees, Weeks has added variety to her cottage foods business.
Loaves for one to three people are available in zucchini, nutty carrot, cinnamon with or without nut topping, blueberry, lemon, and lemon and raspberry with or without nuts.
Larger loaves, which are showpieces, serve up to 10 people. They are available in zucchini, blueberry, lemon, lemon raspberry, pumpkin cream cheese and nutty rum. Banana nut, zucchini and blueberry muffins are available in a minimum order of four.
Weeks is testing vegan and gluten free recipes.
“We have a lot of tastings. This takes a while. I have to get the recipe right. I want to produce a quality bread and have it be consistent,” she said.
The lemon raspberry is the newest addition unveiled in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s what roped Ronda Martin Perkins.
“I tried some of the breads for the first time last week. I’m intrigued by anything lemon. When she posted the lemon raspberry, I said to myself, ‘now is the time,’” Perkins said. “I also got the blueberry. Both were incredible. They’re very moist with fresh fruit. The whole process is good, from ordering online to going and picking up. It’s simple.”
Perkins is figuring out her bread scheduling strategy as she plans on going back for more.
“I will definitely be on a weekly schedule,” she said. “I want to try the rum cake. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they love it. It’s a beautiful presentation. There’s some weight to that cake, so you know there is a lot of good stuff in there. I’m excited Mallory is doing this. It’s a win win for everybody. The price is right and it’s homemade with love.”
Weeks has made friends through making bread.
“Mallory is a beautiful old soul. She’s an incarnate of her grandmother,” said her mother, Marlen Weeks. “She has endearing fairy godmothers in this community. There is a good group of people who have supported her. It’s really nice. This community has really been here for her and this is for the long haul.”
Bread loaves are either $4 or $5 for the smaller size and $20 for the larger ones. Orders for loaves are filled within 24 to 48 hours. Valentine’s Day orders must be placed by Tuesday, Feb. 9. Pickup is contactless in Port Largo. Mallory’s Bakery accepts cash, Zelle or Venmo payments.
To place an order with Mallory’s Bakery, private message her on Facebook or text your order 305-394-1680.