The Bakery Science Club at Kansas State University began in the 1970’s. It was started by Grain Science students. In the first years the club only made fruitcakes at Christmas. Since then, the club has evolved into a mini-business with over 100 products and over 40 members.
The club meets every Tuesday night in the Baking Lab at Shellenberger Hall, where club members do everything from scaling up ingredients to baking to bagging. The following Wednesday members conduct a sale from 3-5 p.m. in the hallway of Shellenberger Hall’s first floor.
These baked goods are produced primarily using donated ingredients. On top of the weekly sales, Bake Club has two seasonal sales for Christmas and Open House. Both sales require a week or more of baking. The result of these bring in almost 10 times what a weekly sale would normally.
For the Christmas sale, Bake Club makes many holiday favorites like kringles, graham crackers and Christmas shaped sugar cookies. All holiday items can be pre-ordered or purchased during the sale.
Open House is a university-wide event that takes place one Saturday each Spring. Shellenberger Hall is open for visitors to tour the Baking Lab. In the last few years, the Bake Club has demonstrated pretzel making to visitor and how different ingredients affect the product. The Open House Bake Sale lasts all day and a complete line of products is offered including: Monster Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls, Brownies, Pretzels and Breads, to name a few.
All profit from the Bake Club goes towards funding educational opportunities for members. Each year Bake Club pays for airfare and hotel costs of all qualifying member to attend the American Society of Baking Convention in Chicago, Illinois. This past year, a group of students toured Bundy’s Baking Solutions in Ohio with the help of the club. To qualify for the trip members must have worked a specified number of hours and earned a certain number of club points. Bake Club has sent as many as 35 members to Chicago to attend the BakingTech. This conference gives them the opportunity to interact with people throughout the Baking Industry, attend seminars to learn about the latest issues facing the baking world and visit vendor’s booths to view the latest technology available. It is a great way for students to get a foot in the door and has been a excellent avenue to find an internship or full-time position. And, of course, there is plenty of time to enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds of Chicago!
Every three years the club has the opportunity to visit the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the largest convention, with the widest array of vendors from all over the country. Company personnel come from all over the world to attend this Expo.
So, who are these lucky members that get free trips to fun places like Chicago and Las Vegas? Bakery Science Club members could be any student at KSU! All majors are welcome to attend, graduate or undergraduate students. Bake Club has had members from a wide range of curricula, any where between Grain Science to Accounting to Education to Interior Design. Opening Bake Club to everyone offers a chance to spread awareness of the major, and in many cases, has influenced students to switch to the Bakery Science Program by being in the club. Previous baking experience is by no means required. Each new member is taught how to shape artisan breads, make cookies and learn how to run machinery with the help of other experienced members.
Every year the entire bake club votes on the 8 member officer team which consists of a President, Vice-President, Production Managers (2), Treasure, Secretary, Marketing Representative and Agriculture Council Representative. These officers have many responsibilities; for example they oversee the production schedule, decide on what is made for each sale, run the sale, find donors, manage the finances, plan the trips and advertise for the club. The Bakery Science Club is a wonderful way for KSU students to make lasting friendships and learn about the baking industry first hand.