Dough Baby

Dough Baby Bakery at 511 State St., which specializes in artisan, organic doughnuts, is closing after Sunday.

After 16 months in business, the organic, artisan bakery, Dough Baby, on State Street is closing, the victim of low sales volume.

"With a huge amount of heartache and gratitude, I want to let our beautiful people know, that this Sunday will be our last day open for business," pastry chef/owner Kristine Miller wrote in a Facebook announcement at about 9 a.m. Friday.

News of the closing brought in a lot of customers, including people who said they were sorry they hadn't made it in before, Miller said.

The bakery case was nearly empty two hours later and Miller and her staff had to close for a couple hours to make more doughnuts. When the shop reopened, they sold out again after about 30 minutes. She ended up closing for the day at about 3 p.m.

But the outpouring wasn't enough to make Miller reconsider. "We're like totally out of money, so there's no way to have a second thought," she said.

Miller opened Dough Baby Bakery at 511 State St., in June of last year, selling doughnuts for $2.25 and filled doughnuts for $2.75.

Prices are high because the bakery uses expensive ingredients, including organic sugar from Wholesome in Texas and organic flour from Giusto's in California.

Other ingredients come from Wisconsin, including organic butter from Murphy's Farm, dairy from Sassy Cow Creamery and eggs from Yuppie Hill.

"We use very good ingredients and in the food industry the profit margins are so small to begin with and then when you use really well-sourced food, it gets even smaller. So, if you don't get enough people in the door, it really isn't going to work," Miller said.

"That's kind of what happened to us, but I'm proud of the food that we made."

She's also been proud of her associations with local cafes and food carts, including Porter, Macha Tea Company and El Grito.

"It's been amazing, the industry people that have reached out and that we've been able to collaborate with. That's been one of the most amazing, fulfilling parts of having the bakery, is collaborating with those other people in the Madison food scene," Miller said.

In 2009, Miller worked as a pastry intern at L'Etoile. After working at L'Etoile and its sister restaurant Graze, Miller, who is married to L'Etoile chef-owner Tory Miller, left to raise their son, Miles.

Tory nicknamed the baby "pâte à choux," after the puffy French pastry dough, because Miles had giant cheeks when he was born. And that was the inspiration behind the name Dough Baby.

Miller said she's been working 12-hour days, six days a week "for free for the last year," and is going to take a much-needed break. After that, she will figure out her next step.

"I'm definitely going to stay in the culinary industry, and stay in pastry, because that's what I love," she said. "I'll definitely pop up somewhere, sometime." 

Miller said she generally works 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. Then she picks her son up from day care and spends time with him. Tory usually works from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and is able to take Miles to day care.

She gets about five hours of sleep a night, Miller said.

Besides doughnuts, the bakery makes cookie sandwiches, pies, bars, brownies, and cakes. "The full indulgent spectrum of American pastry," its website says.

Miller has a five-year lease and said there's another food business interested in going into her spot.

Dough Baby will open at 8 a.m. Saturday and stay open as long as it can, Miller said. She also needs to bake for a wedding, so she isn't sure how long her supplies will last.

"I didn't really realize today was going to be like today was, either."

Sunday she will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Read more restaurant news at go.madison.com/restaurantnews.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.