It may seem like trendy spots like this are popping up everywhere, but Start from Scratch is actually Miami's only dedicated, gluten-free and vegan bakery in South Florida. They offer a variety of indulgent sweets, as well as fresh and flavorful lunch options like falafel in pita with house-made chipotle mayo ($9.29) and their take on nachos ($9.49).
We know what you’re thinking: “Vegan food? No, thanks.” But Start from Scratch wants to change that mindset. Opened just three months ago in Pinecrest, this place is already shattering stereotypes with recipes that are delicious.According to owner Aimee Branch, who opened the place with her husband Henry, the storefront solves a real problem in the area.
“You can find gluten-free and you can find vegan, but it’s really difficult to find them both together,” Branch said. “People are super excited that they can come into a place…and not have to worry about cross-contamination.”
She’s incredibly passionate about her mission, especially for being relatively new to the scene. Branch became a vegan about three years ago and went gluten-free just two years ago. As soon as she learned about the sources of food, it was like flipping a mental switch. She fought the urge to make an instant change, taking the time to further educate herself and develop a personal plan to boost her chances of success.
Though she strictly follows her new diet, Branch says she’s far from the typical salad-only type. For her, it’s more about adapting her favorite recipes to fit her lifestyle, and that’s the kind of energy you’ll find at Start From Scratch. She says that, unlike many other vegan spots, her bakery doesn’t take itself too seriously.
“You don’t have to have…some off-the-wall kind of a thing,” Branch said. “You can just cook homestyle, but just figure out a way to make it vegan and make it good.”
Perfecting the textures and flavors of the products was no easy feat, though. Branch spent about a year developing the recipes through trial and error.
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“There were times where I was really frustrated just doing batch after batch of things and they don’t work out,” she said. “But really, throughout the whole process, I think my motto was ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will,’ because as soon as you get it into your mind that you can’t do something or you doubt yourself, that’s it, it’s over…You have to just keep pushing and keep going."
Still skeptical of muffins made without flour or eggs? Branch’s reaction to customers’ apprehension is complete understanding.
“My experience – and a lot of people’s experiences – is you taste something [and think], ‘Eh, it’s okay for gluten free,’ ‘It’s okay for
Start From Scratch bakery is located at 9543 South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.