Photos by Lexi Ujczo.
It’s a marshmallow world in the winter, but a marshmallow way of life for the OSU Bread Club. Let me introduce you to campus’s most underrated club this winter. A group where STEM and arts majors gather together for one weekly carb-loaded night of relaxation and socialization. In an attempt to get some holiday baking advice for this issue of the magazine, I crashed a meeting with the coziest club on campus in the RPAC demonstration kitchen. (They were making Amish Apple Fry Pies. And they were fan- frying-tastic.)
Bouncing around from member to member, here’s what I learned about the club…
1. They’ve been on campus for about eight years (no one knew for sure) and used to go by the name, “The Society for the Baking and Eating of Sourdough.” It wasn’t long before the OSU Bread Club became the new name, which left room to bake things like cookies.
2. Every week they nominate one of their members to be Chef of the Week. The requirement is simply a feat of amazingness. (This week’s Chef of the Week, Cameron, apparently got very low during a limbo competition that weekend!) If nobody disagrees, then they win the title! (No one ever disagrees.)
3. One guy I talked to straight-up didn’t remember how he joined. Don’t let this sound alarming; he regrets nothing.
4. Your first meeting is free! If you want to come back, it’s $35 for the semester, or $60 for the whole year. They recruit year-round, so you’re always welcome to visit.
5. There weren’t enough apples to use up all the dough that was available, so another group attempted to fill muffin pans with leftover dough and blueberry filling, impromptu. This is normal.
6. The club was started by a handful of STEM students, and now averages around 12-15 members a year, though the email list is always anywhere between 200 and 500 students.
7. At one point someone started singing, “TO THE WINDOW, TO THE WALL! GONNA GIVE THIS BREAD MY ALL!”
8. The rolling pan was being used so one student began rolling his dough with a bottle of cinnamon. In Bread Club, you rally with all you’ve got.
Amidst the ongoing conversations, some of which included friends shouting baking tips from across the stovetop and others freaking out about their friends going through breakups specifically during cuffing season, I found a few minutes to chat with the club’s leadership. I sat down with Amy Riley, the President/CEO, Alison Jennings, the secretary, Jiwoo Kim, the VP, and Stephanie Renner, the treasurer, to chat about how the club has impacted their lives as students.
How has your confidence in the kitchen improved since joining the Bread Club?
Alison: I think it’s increased because I’m less afraid to make mistakes.
Amy: We make a lot of mistakes in Bread Club, but we laugh at them. I’ve learned to have a lot more fun. If I mess something up, no one’s going to be like, “You ruined everything.”
When was a time that you got to flex baking knowledge on someone outside of Bread Club?
Amy: I do it daily. A lot of the stuff we make is so much better than the coffee shop stuff.
Stephanie: People are so shocked that as a college student you can bake. Even chocolate chip cookies, they’re like,“Really? You can make those? I just get the box!”
What’s one thing that you think every college student should know about cooking?
Jiwoo: Flour is essence.
Alison: You can never use too much vanilla extract.
Amy: It’s not as complicated as it looks. If you just read [the recipe], you’re fine.
Where would you recommend people start if they’re trying to get into cooking or baking?
Alison: Join Bread Club! The more you bake, the better you’re going to be. You can mess up.
Jiwoo: You can start with small things, like chocolate chip cookies. All you need is experience. If you join Bread Club, we’re going to give you experience.
Stephanie: Go on Pinterest!
What have you learned about being part of a team since joining Bread Club?
Alison: You have to know when to let other people join in. Sometimes, especially during the first meeting, newer people want to hog all the ingredients. As the semester goes on, you see that they step back, they work in groups, and they encourage some of the shyer people to join in. Stephanie: The table’s only so big so you can’t always be standing right in front of it.
Amy: We are all friends in this, but if people are new, you go with them. Nothing’s awkward when you’re here because it can’t be. The kitchen’s so small!
What time of the year do you think you get the most amount of people?
Amy: The first meeting is always the biggest, but the second and third are where you get the people who are actually gonna stay. They’ll come to the first one, and then they’ll bring a friend.
Alison: The involvement fair helps a lot. We were in the spirituality and religion section this year, and that just confused people even more, but it also got people interested so…
Jiwoo: They’re all interested in our name. The Bread Club. •
If you want to find out more information about the Bread Club, check out their Instagram @breadosu or Venmo @Stephanie-Renner-2 to support their baking funds! Happy baking, Buckeyes