A family affair: Manderfield’s Home Bakery

Jamie Gajewski

My roommate Nicole Capozziello first discovered Manderfield’s Home Bakery on March 14, 2006 when she was searching for a pie supplier for Pi Day. Luckily, some pie-loving force guided her towards Manderfield’s, began in 1934 by Frank and Marie Manderfield.
“Since Perkin’s pie is overpriced, I sought out other pie sellers,” said Capozziello. By typing in “pie” and “Appleton, WI” into a search engine, she found the address for the bakery. According to Capozziello, Manderfield’s pie prices are “ridiculously fair.” Since then, my roommate and I have turned to Manderfield’s fine baked goods in times of celebration and crisis including Day Light Savings Time, the demolition of the GLOW House and Johnny Depp’s recent appearance in Appleton.
Inside the store, crystal cases display tantalizing tortes, carefully crafted cakes, colorful cookies, donuts and Danish. The newest location also includes an espresso bar, an entire rack devoted to sprinkles and a refrigerated section with cookie dough. Despite its somewhat off-road location, a constant stream of customers cycled through during my visit, only leaving once both arts were clutching bags and containers of baked goods.
Artesian breads rest behind the counter under a sign that reads: Give us this day our daily bread. These fine breads are crafted by Brad Jarvais, a specialized baker who joined the family about a year ago. A serving or two of carbohydrates has never tasted so good. Manderfield’s also offers freshly baked loaves, buns, and specialty breads made with fruits and spices.
November 14, 2007, the Manderfield family opened up a new facility due to the fact that the bakery on Calumet was “growing out of the small building,” explained Doug Manderfield, one of Frank and Marie’s grandsons. The newest location is situated at W3176 Springfield Drive in the Town of Buchanan, which is basically in the middle of a field that is being developed. The Springfield location opened just one day after the older location closed. Thanks to the prosperous area of Darboy, new customers, and a larger parking lot, the bakery’s business is booming.
Doug Manderfield’s brother Paul is the head baker at the Springfield location, while Jerry, another one of the Manderfield brothers, decorates the sweeter baked goods. Jerry Manderfield also manages the Menasha bakery branch, located at 811 Plank Road.
Inside the kitchen, the shelves are stocked with four staple ingredients: flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Doug Manderfield explained that the bakery uses specialized types of flour for different goods, from cake flour to whole-wheat flour. Sugar is usually listed second on all the sweeter baked goods. Humpty Dumpty supplies the butter and eggs, which are so fresh that the eggs are actually cracked on site. Recently, the price of flour has gone up from seven dollars a bag to twenty one dollars a bag. This crisis is very disconcerting for family-owned businesses like Manderfield’s.
One fourth of Manderfield’s business can be summed up in two delightful breakfast treats: donuts and Danish. In fact, Lawrence University orders fifteen dozen donuts from Manderfield’s every Saturday. Mysteriously, neither Doug nor I could figure out where these donuts end up. The bakery supplies goods for a variety of area businesses including Tom’s Drive-In, Fox Valley Tech, Black & Tan and Cinder’s, which has partnered with Manderfield’s “since the beginning of time.”
Manderfield’s customers are varied. Some are extremely loyal and have followed the family with each change in location, while others have recently discovered the bakery. Doug Manderfield has noticed a pattern of generational preferences. While younger generations prefer vibrantly colored cookies and sugary donuts, the older generation comes to Manderfield’s in search of more traditional items such as hard crusted buns and date-filled cookies. While Doug Manderfield tries everything the bakery produces, the chocolate chunk cookies are his favorite item.
The most popular breads are Jarvais’ artesian breads, while the top selling desserts are the iced cookies. Manderfield’s baked goods come and go with each new holiday season. For Christmastime, the cases are filled with fruitcakes, butter cookies, and novelty cakes. For Halloween, spider and pumpkin shaped desserts appear beneath the glass.
My roommate and have tried seven types of pie, oatmeal and holiday cookies, sliced breads, specialty breads, bagel chips, and desserts. Our favorite item continues to be Manderfield’s pudding cakes. Pudding cakes are available in single serving size pieces to an entire cake, which is priced at only $4.95. One of our favorite aspects of Manderfield’s continues to be the low prices for such high quality goods. When I last visited Manderfield’s for the interview, Doug Manderfield insisted that I be sent home with some treats. Instead of a cookie or two, I left with an entire loaf of artesian bread, three brownies and a tie-dyed smiley face cookie.
Whether you want to celebrate the end of winter, provide desserts for a senior recital, or feel like part of a German family, make your way to Manderfield’s Home Bakery. My advice is to hop in the Manderfield’s delivery truck that comes to Lawrence bearing donuts each Saturday and let it take you to a world of freshly baked bliss.