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Blog: Cash Mob 3: Dutch Oven Bakery – Baking for Altadena Since 1957

“I’ve always loved Altadena, and the people of Altadena,” added the elder Davis. "I wanted to give something back to them."

 

 

The Altadena Cash Mob this week makes its way to the Dutch Oven Bakery, providing both breakfast and dessert to Altadena for nearly 55 years!

This week’s cash mob will take place tomorrow, Saturday August 4, at Dutch Oven Bakery, located on Lake Avenue next door to the Boys Republic Thrift Store and Oh Happy Days! Natural Food Grocery and Café.

Though the bake shop was founded in 1957 and might just be one of the longest running bakeries still in business under the same name in the Pasadena area, since August of 1990 the head bakers/owner-operators have been David Davis, Sr. and David “Reg” Davis, Jr., a father and son team who live on Mountain View Street and specialize in continuing baking traditions and developing new ones for those who live in Altadena and those who visit the community (including hikers in need of refueling once they're down the hill!). Items you can find at the Dutch Oven Bakery include both full size and small tea cakes, pecan pies, fruit pies and cobblers, turnover fruit pies, blueberry muffins, chocolate chocolate chip muffins, German chocolate cake, cinnamon rolls, birthday cakes, Monkey Bread, Seven-Up and Sock It To Me bread, bran muffins, and varieties of pound cakes, each baked regularly as capacity allows. Day-Old items are also available, with bags of two, three or perhaps if you’re lucky a couple more items, at $1.50 per bag. The Day-Old shelf is right by the door, which makes it easy to run in and pick something up quickly as you’re running errands or even on your way home for tomorrow morning.

The Davis’s specialties are sweet potato pies— available as full size or mini-pies— and wide variety of honey muffins. Honey muffins include honey lemon, honey blueberry, and honey pineapple in a yellow cake. The recipe was derived from the former owner Judith Talbert’s* original honey bran muffins without yellow cake, which the Davis’s still bake as well. At one point, the Davis’s owned three bakeries in the area, including the equally-historic Hillcrest Bakery at Lake and Washington, but Dutch Oven Bakery is the only bakery where you can still get items baked by the Davis’s (Hillcrest’s specialty from was a Swedish bread called Lippa bread, which the Davis’s also continued to bake and sell as a carry-over from its previous Swedish owner, Edward Noren).

An Altadena resident since the early 1960s, and a commuter to Mid-City where he was an insurance salesman who moonlighted as a part-time baker with his son Reg Davis as full-time baker, Mr. Davis had never been in the Dutch Oven Bakery, despite passing it often on Lake Avenue.

“I was always rushing down there towards the freeway without stopping,” stated the elder Davis. But one day a colleague of his told him that the bakery was for sale up here in Altadena by its long-time owners. He pushed it to the back of his mind, but a year later, standing over the mixing bowl, he recalled the bakery and came into speak with the Talbert sisters, which of course led both he and his son to where they are today. Together, the Davis’s baking also changed a bit, and they began to make new things for Altadena in comparison to the baked goods that appealed to the clientele of his previous bakery, at Ann’s Creative Pastries, in next door to the World On Wheels Roller Rink at the Midtown Shopping Center on Venice Blvd. “Doughnuts really sold there, and here we made more muffins and pies,” stated the younger Davis.

“I’ve always loved Altadena, and the people of Altadena,” added the elder Davis. "I wanted to give something back to them."

Photo cakes are available as special orders for occasions, as are custom birthday and wedding cakes with real buttercream frosting. The Davis’s previously baked bread when they first took ownership at Dutch Oven as well, however, he found it hard to compete with the low-prices of bread at grocery stores— baking bread was costly on a day in, day out basis and at that time in the 1990s, people just weren’t buying fresh bread. If there is a local demand for bread, Mr. Davis might consider bringing it back. He also has many old recipes and formulas for items such as Salt Rising Bread, some of which include certain types of yeasts and flours that are no longer easily or affordably found as commercial mixes have became more common. I suggested that perhaps a Dutch Oven Cook Book with these recipes and formulas might be in order down the line.

Davis and Davis are at the bakery beginning at 5am on weekdays and Saturdays, and at 7am on Sundays. Coffee is also ready beginning at 5am, so if you need to start your day extra-early and want some motivation to get out of bed – the Dutch Oven Bakery is open for you.

“To bake, baking has to be in a person,” stated Mr. Davis, “Out of all my six boys, Reg has it…my other sons have tried it...it is not just about the ingredients…it comes from within…It is hard work, late at night and early in the morning...You have to listen to the rhythm of the paddle and the dough in the mixer, you can hear it and you can’t do it from the top of your head in commercial baking…You hear that rhythm and then you know the dough is ready.”

Plentiful street parking is available at in the early hours, and for other times of the day, there is also a parking lot in back too. The lot can be entered from a covered walkway between the Altadena Florist and the historic brick Altadena Junction Mt. Lowe Power House.

On the way out the door, Mr. Davis introduced me to the two owners of Bill’s Chicken, who are opening a catering spot next door in the former Erlander’s Natural Department Store. The space will also feature a small weekend-only restaurant serving Carribean food and Jamaican music, too.

So, come on in to the Dutch Oven or call with an advance order whenever you’re in need of something sweet to take to a party, to serve to your own guests, to give as a gift, to treat yourself or to delight a child, but especially come in this Saturday to make an afternoon of it, as we take a day to appreciate the way the Davis’s connect to both the present and past of this neighborhood, showing up at the mixing bowl each morning with dedication. While you’re there, be sure to stop by neighboring local businesses in that block – Altadena Florist and the Boys Republic Thrift Store**, among others— and especially Oh Happy Days! Natural Foods, where you can take home some fruits, vegetables, vegan lunch specials, and vitamins that might be just the thing to make your peace with the fact that you just ate two honey muffins in a row (remember, you can always come back and/or take more to go)!

 

*Some long-time Altadena residents have mentioned that the two German sisters who ran the bakery were rumored to have helped oppose the Nazis during World War II…has anyone else heard or can share the details of this story?

**Also known as one of the best hidden thrift stores in all of the Los Angeles area to find vintage wares at genuine thrift store prices, this thrift store run by the all-volunteer Pasadena Auxiliary since 1986 has raised $1.5 million dollars in funds to support Boys Republic’s services for at-risk youth

Dutch Oven Bakery

Locally Owned by the Davis Family

2281 Lake Avenue 

Altadena, CA 91001

626-794-3555

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/dutch-oven-bakery-altadena

Open 7 Days a Week // Monday-Saturday 5am-6pm, Sunday 7am-2pm

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Hugo August 03, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I'll be there...bright and early
Lisa Hastings August 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Great sweet potato pies!
SteveB August 03, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Thanks for the detailed history.
maryam hosseinzadeh August 03, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Forgot to include the Altadena Cash Mobs Facebook page - visit it here: https://www.facebook.com/altadenacashmobs
maryam hosseinzadeh August 03, 2012 at 09:16 PM
For some reason, I did not see all of your wonderful comments until now. Glad you all enjoyed it!
Angela Odom August 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I intend (or hope) to make it tomorrow. I've missed two already, ugh. If I can get my order in for pick-up tomorrow (hims is busy today), I will be there. This is so awesome.
maryam hosseinzadeh August 03, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Some cakes and things are available ready made, so you can just personalize them if that is what you need!
Angela Odom August 03, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Oh no, usually, by the time I get there the pies and cobblers are gone. I just wanted to ensure I would have them tomorrow. My order is in and maybe I'll try some of those honey muffins as well.
Lori A. Webster August 03, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Ooooo....cobbler sounds yummy!
Alta_D August 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
just got my zucchini bread, gettin my fat on!
Lorraine Pozniak August 04, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I got my favorite kiwi muffin today. The strawberry cream cheese muffin looked good, too, so I bought the last one they had. I was there around 9AM and business was already brisk. I've been going to Dutch Oven since moving to Altadena a little over a year ago. This week's Cash Mob gave me a good excuse to go there, since I hadn't been there in a while...
Lori A. Webster August 05, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I think that's great, Lorraine - bring your receipt from Dutch Oven into WFS any time this week, until Friday next, and save 20% on your purchase. Thank you for participating in the cash mob for Dutch Oven!
Angela Odom August 05, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Just finished cash mobbing both Dutch Oven Bakery and Websters Fine Stationers. I actually did Steve's Pets earlier in the week because I feared the dog mob at my house. I got a sweet potato pie (excellent), a peach cobbler (can't keep my hands off of it) and a couple of honey muffins that are to die for -- well, actually I'm still alive but swoon. A wonderful way to spend the day in Altadena. Too bad I couldn't grocery shop here, went to Smart & Final and Vons instead. Oh well.
Lisa Maiorana August 05, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Exactly....
Lorraine Pozniak August 05, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Lori, I didn't get a receipt...I don't remember ever getting a receipt from them anytime I go there, since I pay cash. I paid $5 for my two muffins, one of which I'm trying to save for Sunday morning breakfast.
Lori A. Webster August 05, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Lorraine, just let us know you participated in the cash mob for Dutch Oven and we'll honor our 20% off "shop local" promise!
Cat August 12, 2012 at 09:04 AM
I happened to stop in today and got a honey muffin, I went for the blueberry and wow is it intense. I highly recommend it.
pat noren November 19, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Hello, I came across your blog, while looking for images of my Grandparents Bakery, which was called, Noren's Hillcrest Bakery, on the corner of Hill and Washington. Actually, Dutch Oven never owned Norens Hillcrest Bakery. My great grand parents, Victoria and Perry Noren, opened that bakery in 1932. After that, my Grandpa, Ev Noren owned it, and made all the DELICIOUS limpa rye bread, and gorgeous wedding cakes etc. until he retired in 1986, and he sold the bakery and now it is a Lebanese restaurant. But, my family owned that bakery for 54 years. I wish that we still owned it, b/c it was so fun seeing all the people lined up on Saturdays, waiting to buy glazed donuts and sugar cookies. My Grampa passed away in 2006. My Uncle made my Grampas famous rye/limpa bread a couple of years ago, and won first prize at the Pomona Fair. Its hard to get all the ingredients, b/c some of the companies no longer exist. I am thankful that you mentioned my Grandparents Bakery in your blog. I hope many people have lovely memories of it as well. PS< I heard that the buildings on the corners of Washington and Hill are being considered as Historical Landmarks for the City of Pasadena. I hope that this is the case! I think those old buildings are so charming. Best Regards, Patricia Noren
maryam hosseinzadeh November 21, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Hi Patricia! Yes, sorry. I hope this blog did not cause any confusion - my rushed writing may have been unclear. Mr. Davis stated to me that bought the bakery from your grandfather, and then later (just a few years later, I believe) sold it to the family which opened the Lebanese restaurant. And I apologize for my mistake of calling it "lippa" rather than "limpa" bread, as well as the fact that your grandpa was "Ev" not "Ed". It sounds amazing and how sad that some of the companies no longer exist. As a side note, I believe I own a yearbook from the 1930s which has an ad for your grandparents bakery in it. I should find a way to share that with you. Thank you for your post and contribution to this!

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