Nestled inside a repurposed industrial building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, Norwegian baker Hedvig Bourbon bakes a tasty alternative to regular crackers and bread. Hedvig Bourbon is the founder of Norwegian Baked, a Brooklyn-based bakery that specializes in a traditional Norwegian treat known as Knekkebrød, or crispbread. This highly nutritious, low carb crispbread is packed with rye, oats, and seeds, and tastes like a healthier version of a cracker that can paired with many foods including cheese, jam, or soup.
With its versatility, it comes as no surprise that Bourbon’s Knekkebrød was named one of “The Best New Things to Eats in New York” by Grub Street. “The Knekkebrød I bake is made with all natural, organic ingredients and no preservatives,” said Bourbon. “It’s honest food.”
Bourbon has made a name for herself in this niche market. With no employees other than herself, Norwegian Baked is a one-woman-show. Although she always had a love for cooking and baking, Bourbon never planned to be a baker. She knew she had something special when she started making an old family crispbread recipe for friends in New York, which everyone fell in love with. When she realized that this dream could be a reality, she left her job in marketing and pursued her business.
In January, Bourbon partnered with a local girl scouts troop and invited young girls to help in the kitchen, image via Norwegian Baked Facebook
“I got the stores to order the product but I didn’t know what would happen after,” said Bourbon. “To my surprise, the stores just kept ordering more and more and I said to myself, ‘Wow this is actually happening!'”
Bourbon has been operating her business for the past two years. Along with baking the product, she is using her business as a way to give back to her community. She strives to use her product as a way to show other community members that anything is possible when you follow your dreams.
Currently Bourbon shares a kitchen with the owner of Granola Lab, an artisanal granola brand also based out of Brooklyn. The two of them have a place in a repurposed warehouse building that was previously owned by AP&G Co., a company that manufactured mouse-trap devices. When the company moved its warehouse location to Bayonne, New Jersey, the 165,000-square-foot building was repurposed as a workshop place for creative Brooklynites.
Located near the Brooklyn waterfront, the three-story building is equipped with 20-foot-high ceilings on the top floor and large glass windows. From the outside, no one would guess that this building actually serves as co-working space. Inside, however, you can find all types of local artists and creative working together. Besides Bourbon, there are jewelry makers, candle artists, woodworkers, and more.
In the future, Bourbon hopes to expand her company by relocating to a bigger kitchen where she can employee other New Yorkers who share her vision. “When you start a business, a lot of people say that they want to get to a certain point and then they can be bought out,” said Bourbon. “But this is a family business, I want something I can pass on to my children.”