Meet Kalyn Akers, a mother, teacher and baker. Kalyn began baking sourdough and other breads out of her home kitchen. In recent years, she’s expanded to homemade king cakes. She and her husband are building their business Sunny Akers Farm, which in addition to a home bakery includes chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and a garden. Sunny Akers Farm has been part of Maker Faire Lafayette past two years. If you’ve tried any of their loaves or samples, you’re probably looking forward to seeing them again at this year’s Faire as well.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
I am a mother of 4 (soon to be 5) and a French teacher at Vermilion Catholic High School. We have a small farm with goats, chickens, rabbits, and a sheep, and a budding bread business. After my fourth child was born, I took a hiatus from teaching and in that time I bought my first bread book and became obsessed with baking sourdough, among other breads. This lead me to a great brioche recipe that I decided to try out for a king cake, which has since been our best seller. I am still mostly selling from our home in Maurice, but we are working to build a commercial kitchen on our property and maybe even one day a storefront. We dream big!
What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
To me a “maker” is a person who does the research, puts in the hours, the trials and errors, is always learning, always tweaking, always thinking of how to better themselves and the product they’re making.
Who or what inspires you?
I think growers are who inspire me most. People who organically perfect the soil and tend to their plants and fruit trees, build trellises, make their own compost, can their fruits and veggies, etc.
Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
My bread making began as a hobby that has since turned into a business. Since my husband and I both have full-time jobs and 4 children in activities, and a baby on the way. It has definitely been a challenge to plan our bread-making schedule around our regular life’s responsibilities. I won’t say it’s easy, but we make it happen!
Why is making important to you?
It’s important to me to know how to do things in general. It saddens me that my generation values convenience more than knowledge. Knowledge is a gift and I wish I could fit more in my brain! I want to know where everything comes from and how everything works. I simply choose to focus my attentions on knowledge that I can eat!
What have you made that you are most proud of?
I am definitely most proud of my sourdough accomplishments. It took a lot of research, time, and flour to get to those first beautiful loaves. I mostly bake in a dutch oven or cloche with a lid. You never know quite what the loaf will look like until you lift the lid. When I lift the lid and see beauty, I always feel proud.
What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
With unlimited resources, I guess I would love a giant garden and orchard that people in the community could come pick from. I would also love to grow my own grain. Then maybe the storefront café/bread bakery of my dreams.
What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
I am definitely loving the goat and goat milk trends.
What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
DO IT! It’s worth the time and effort and it is so rewarding to spread your knowledge and love of your skill to others.
Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I’m a French teacher who had never been to France. I fulfilled that dream in June last year, and it was a dream come true to eat all the French bread that I could get my hands on!