May 17 2017 11:48 PM

Little Light Bakery

Little Light Bakery debuts at the Allen Farmers Market today. The new bakery will launch with a dessert-only menu but may expand to include artisan breads and other bakery goods in coming months.

After being cooped up inside the Allen Market Place since last fall, the Allen Farmers Market returns to its summertime setup today with its first outdoor market of the year. Held in the Allen Neighborhood Center’s parking lot near the corner of Kalamazoo and Allen streets on Lansing’s east side, this year’s market will see a couple of notable changes. Prominently absent is Sleepwalker Spirits & Ale, which is prepping its new home in REO Town. Owner/brewmaster Jeremy Sprague launched Sleepwalker out of Allen Market Place three years ago before transitioning to an upcoming permanent space, due later this year. And this marketfirst-building-later business model is one that Pax Zetzer, the market’s newest vendor, is hoping to duplicate with his new venture, Little Light Bakery. “I’d love to have a (brick-and-mortar location) someday, but right now it’s just about getting the word out and hoping people like our menu,” Zetzer said. “I’m focusing on the items that I know are going to do well, but there’s a lot of things I want to introduce as we settle in over the coming months.” Little Light will start with a dessert lineup, featuring a classic cheesecake (New York-style with graham cracker crust), a s’mores cheesecake (chocolate base topped with toasted meringue), and an Earl Grey lemon cheesecake with shortbread crust. There will also be a line of cookies, including chocolate chip, cherry oatmeal and snickerdoodle.

“These are the items that have already started wowing people, so it made sense to lead with them,” Zetzer said. “They’re not the kind of desserts you can just find anywhere. I try to give them an artisan touch that gives them their own identity. You’re not going to be able to find (any other dessert) like this in town.” Zetzer, a Lansing native, studied culinary management and baking and pastry at Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland before coming home to launch Little Light last fall. He’s spent the last eight months working the sauté line at Dusty’s Cellar in Okemos and tending bar at American Fifth Spirits in downtown Lansing, developing both his front-of-house and back- of-house skill in preparation for solo entrepreneurship. before, but I think being a baker has “I’ve never run my own business helped me prepare for it,” Zetzer said. “You spend a lot of time preparing, you go through the (protocols) very carefully and you build using the best materials available to you. If you work hard and are very careful, you succeed.” Zetzer said his goal with baking is to create the type of food that’s communal. The bakery takes its name from the gospel song “This Little Light of Mine,” which Zetzer said is an ode to his grandmother.

“She’s the one who introduced me to baking, and we used to love singing that song while we worked, so I think it’s fitting,” Zetzer said. “Plus it sort of (exem- plifies) what I’m doing with the bakery. This is food that’s meant to be shared. I really hope it brings people together.”

Little Light Bakery (at Allen Farmers Market) 1611 E. Kalamazoo St., Lansing 3-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays