The love is in the dough — at least that’s the case at Stan’s Northfield Bakery. Founded in 1961 by Stan Srodek, its legacy as a family-owned bakery lives on two generations later. “I’ve been in here since I was 4 days old, picking up tricks and learning how to make doughnuts and cookies and all kinds of cakes,” says baker Leslie Srodek-Johnson. When she and her sister were newborns, their mother, Kathie, placed them on bread racks to sleep while she kept the business running. Now, 39, Srodek-Johnson carries on the tradition by working alongside her mother decorating cakes, kneading dough, making delivery runs and updating social media (where they include fun behind-the-scenes videos of frying doughnuts or slicing potatoes). They grind their own poppy seeds, roast their own nuts and serve Eastern European pastries, including kolacky filled with cheese, jam or ground nuts. Their fist-sized pierogies come in more than 18 varieties such as mozzarella and cheddar. But come Fat Tuesday, the fluffy paczki steal the show. “It’s a little special indulgence that people can have and remember their grandma,” she says. “If they didn’t have a Polish grandma, it’s just something that they can have that’s small, that lets them just be happy for a moment.” 9395 Olde Eight Road, Northfield, 330-467-8655, stansbakery.com
Our pick: Available every day, kolacky ($6.99 per dozen) come in a variety of traditional flavors —raspberry, apricot, cheese or nut — and are topped with granulated sugar.