Headline Updated 1/18/2021
By Christine Graf
Ballston Lake resident Britt Young has taken her passion for baking to the next level by opening The Sweetish Chef, a grain-free and sugar-free bakery at 76 Front St. in the village of Ballston Spa.
The Rockland County native and University of Albany graduate launched an online baking business in 2020 after leaving a career in teaching. She also developed a local following by selling her baked goods at local farmers market. For her, opening her own bakery is a dream come true and something she said she could have never imagined actually happening.
Young started experimenting with grain-free and sugar-free baking about seven years ago. Several years prior to that, her sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. People who suffer from this autoimmune disorder cannot ingest gluten without damaging their small intestines.
“I decided to go gluten free because it’s (celiac disease) hereditary,” said Young. “Then I read the benefits of avoiding grains and sugar in general, and I just took that step forward with my own life. Back then there were no substitutes. I was only eating eggs, meat, leafy greens, and nuts, and then I realized I could put things together to make things that I was missing.”
Young utilized the baking skills she had learned from her mother who was known for her homemade baked goods. She has many happy memories of their time spent in baking together.
“She taught me everything I know,” she said. “I used a lot of recipes I already knew and just kind of tweaked them using what I knew about the science of everything—how to get the flavors and textures you need without using certain ingredients.”
According to Young, her mother—nicknamed the Swedish Chef by her family– had unhealthy habits that contributed to her unexpected death in 2018. The Sweetish Chef pays homage to her with both its name and its mission.
“I was very angry and passionate about what happened to her, and I realized there are so many people out there that have health issues that have to do with grains and sugar,” she said. “So, I used my anger and my passion and turned it into trying to give back to the universe somehow.”
Unlike gluten-free bakeries that typically use gluten-free flour, Young uses no grain at all. Her baked goods are made with either almond flour or coconut flour and sweetened with a blend of monk fruit and a fermented sugar called erythritol. Baked goods made with these ingredients are more expensive than their traditional counterparts.
“It’s more expensive because of the ingredients,” said Young. “But people understand that. They get that the ingredients aren’t cheap.”
The Sweetish Chef offers a variety of baked goods including apple cider donuts, coffee cake, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and bagels. Custom cakes are also available and can be made vegan or dairy free. The bakery also supplies baked goods to The Green Grocer in Clifton Park, Saratoga Coffee Traders in Saratoga, and Life Made Simple Boutique in Burnt Hills. Products can also be ordered online and shipped nationwide.
Young is currently the bakery’s only employee, but she is hopeful to hire additional employees in the future. She also plans to expand her product offerings.
“My short-term goal is to keep the community stocked and happy and to become well-known throughout Ballston Spa,” she said. “But eventually if things go well, I would like to get a bigger location where I could produce more and supply more online orders.”
The Sweetish Chef is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.sweetish-chef.com.