By Julia Howard
Isabel Burlingham holds her family, Scandinavian heritage, and traditions close to her heart. Her new baking business, parchment, is, in fact, a culmination of all of her passions.
Burlingham worked as an analytical research chemist for the past ten years but became uninspired by her work. When she heard of a business incubator program through the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market, she decided to pursue her passion for baking.
Isabel Burlingham delves deep into her Norwegian roots, baking traditional bread, pastries, and cookies using a combination of family and contemporary Norwegian recipes while acknowledging science for making the baking process possible.
“Scandinavian baking is unique because it is less sweet and uses traditional flavors like cardamom, almond, and pecan,” says Burlingham.
At parchment, everything is meaningful – from the selection of breads, pastries, and cookies to their ingredients, packaging, and business name.“The name parchment comes from parchment paper,” explains Burlingham. “parchment was one of the original writing tools used to record stories that we’ve passed down through the ages. And, parchment is also a baking paper used in modern baking.” Burlingham adds.
For bread, Burlingham makes Rugbrød, a dense and tangy Nordic-style rye sourdough, and Julekaker, a yeasted cardamom bread made in a brioche-style with crystalized ginger and raisins.
Her centerpiece pastry is Kardemummabullar, a slightly sweet cardamom flavored roll with a cardamom filling available in various flavors, including traditional, raspberry, chocolate, almond, and orange.
Traditional cookies are a cornerstone at parchment. Burlingham bakes various cookies, including Pepperkaker, a thin, crisp spice cookie, Lavendelflarn, a crisp, buttery lavender shortbread (with seasonal variations), Pekannflarn, a crisp, lacey pecan cookie with a chewy, caramel finish, and Kniplingskager, a buttery crisp Danish lace cookie with a hint of ginger – just to name a few.
Burlingham relies on local and organic ingredients whenever possible, and she uses organic flour from New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts.
For Isabel Burlingham, her work is inspiring and rewarding. She loves to share the origins of her products and the stories that go with them.
You can find parchment at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, the Troy Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, and the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sundays. You can also find parchment’s products at the Honest Weight Food Co-op.
This week’s recipe: A Smorgasbord of Open-face Sandwiches