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Technology in the Bakery: Freedom Bakery and Confections®

By Elisha Neubauer

Freedom Bakery and Confections has been providing delicious treats to the Watsonville area since it first opened its doors in 1975. FB&C's founder, Tony Liu, a pastry chef from Taiwan, drew on his previous experience in German and French bakeries from around Southern California.

Named for the street it was located on, FB&C pulled apart from its competitors by hand-painting cakes. For forty years, Freedom Bakery and Confections has continued to focus on improving techniques and modernizing operations. One thing, however, has not changed: everything is still made on-site, from scratch.

Paul Liu, current owner of Freedom Bakery and Confections, has been involved the family business for as long as he can remember. "I grew up in the family business and luckily have always enjoyed the bakery business," Liu recalls. "When we were young, you can say it was even our first home, because my parents were building the business. Family members of all ages, including kids like me, were able to pitch in. We ended up spending a lot of time here at the shop, so the bakery is really our second home."

It is this feeling of familiar attachment to the shop that drives the amount of love and attention they pour into each baked good. "We pride ourselves in producing products that have both great presentation and taste," explains Liu. "We use only the finest ingredients available. For example, most bakeries use domestic chocolates and flavorings, whereas we use European chocolates and natural flavorings."

While hand-painting the designs onto the custom cakes had set the store apart in its early days, it was costly to the customer due to the length of time required for each product. In 1997, Freedom Bakery and Confections invested in a concept that not only modernized the process, but brought it into an acceptable price range for the everyday customer.

"We have an internally built printing machine that prints food coloring based images directly onto the food surface without using edible paper," says Liu. This allows FB&C to bring cakes that had once been priced at $40-50 down to $10-20 each instead. Freedom Bakery uses the food color printing machine to make custom designed cookies, cupcakes, and other desserts.

"A lot of our work is dealing with custom images on food products," Liu explains. "We do photo cakes without edible paper so the cake actually tastes like a cake. We ship our photo cookies around the country for personal and corporate use. We're starting to do more shaped cookies with custom designs. On the cake side, we do custom designed cakes for weddings and celebration cakes."

With over forty years in the confectionary business, you can bet on Freedom Bakery and Confections. They've managed to impress customers for decades, continuing to grow with the times in order to remain a relevant source of custom cakes and other baked goods. For Liu, the bakery is more than just a business. "I'm lucky in that I'm able to make a living doing what I love," he tells us. "There's no greater gift than that in my opinion."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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