If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Great Sourdough Baking Experiment of 2020, it’s that you need friends and family who are willing and able to eat all those carbs you cook. Jessica and Brandon Morrison started The Baking Notification Project to solve this exact problem.
In the summer of 2021, Jessica was taking a break from her work as a journalist and chemist. She cooked often, but she, Brandon, and their little boy couldn’t eat as much as she wanted. (Fun fact: At 17 months, Henry can say “cookie,” “cake,” and “pie,” but usually calls everything Jessica bakes “more!”)
“The pastries were starting to pile up,” she recalls. “I was texting my friends and neighbors to try to donate what I was cooking, but it was always a bit hit and miss. I pitched the idea of an automated, opt-in messaging platform to Brandon, a software engineer, and we prototyped the BNP in a weekend.
After a few months of testing with their East Nashville neighbors, in October 2021 they launched The Baking Notification Project, a text-centric system for home and hobby bakers to connect with their neighbors to share baked goods. . Subscribers pay a monthly fee (about $10 per month) to receive notifications when their baker of choice has baked goods to share. Each baker explains how often they cook, what their specialties are, and where and when subscribers can grab their carbs. Subscribers claim the items they want at no additional cost. When all the goodies are claimed, this series of notifications ends. Bakers choose how much they charge and all subscription fees accrue to the baker. In exchange, the baker pays BNP a monthly fee.
Morrison has no formal baking training, but his training as a chemist and his love of A good pastry, a cookbook written by a chemical engineer, clicked for her. She started making croissants and other pastries.
This month, The Baking Notification Project introduced its first test baker (besides Jessica), Alexandra Payne. Payne used to cook and sell at the East Nashville Farmer’s Market. She decided baking was her passion and her therapy, but not her way of making a living.
“I continued to cook in the years that followed, but it’s hard to be motivated to do so when there are only a limited number of family members you can cook for, a number limited number of baked goods that freeze well and a limited number of easy-to-halve or quarter recipes,” she says.
So she signed up with BNP to make the cookie sandwiches, whoopie pies and breakfast pastries she loves, and so she could afford to experiment with new ingredients and techniques. Payne recently moved to Madison and also hopes BNP will connect her with her new neighbors as well.
Morrison was clear with would-be bakers “that being an early tester on the platform requires a high tolerance for experimentation, tech hiccups and mild chaos. We’re a small team and we’re building the BNP while elevating a toddler and juggling other jobs. [Payne] has work experience, and she was ready to get started right away.
BNP participating bakers are hobbyists and agree to follow Tennessee rules for home bakers selling food to the public, such as labeling requirements and restrictions on certain food preparations.