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“When everyone is starting their days, I’m ending mine,” Funk said. Hers just starts earlier. On a regular day Funk says she usually does 15-20 dozen long johns and 50-60 dozen-donut holes. And those usually double on weekends and holidays.

“It seems like they know what they want before they step into the door,” Funk said. “Because when there’s something new, they aren’t willing to it try because they know they came here for that one thing they crave.”

Funk learned at the hand of her grandma in South America

By JOEY AGUIRRE


While Storm Lake sleeps, Lisa Funk is awake, baking. Funk, the owner of the Storm Lake Bakery, is at the office by 2:30 a.m. preparing breakfast for her loyal customers. At the Storm Lake Bakery, Funk loses track of how much she bakes each day.


“I have so many different items that by the morning when I’m done, there’s a lot there,” Funk said. A team of four fills the shelves of the bakery six days a week.


Funk, her husband and two others move around the bakery barely speaking a word to each other. They each have duties that Funk says could be done in their sleep. Funk prepares and makes each item, from donuts, donut holes, long johns and yum-yums. After rising, her husband will fry what items need to be fried and then have them on a cart rolling towards the glazing or icing station.


If the radio wasn’t on in the background, the only noise would come from grease popping in the fryer. Funk says that when it’s that early in the morning, she has the planet to herself, and she likes it that way.


“When everyone is starting their days, I’m ending mine,” Funk said. Hers just starts earlier. On a regular day Funk says she usually does 15-20 dozen long johns and 50-60 dozen-donut holes. And those usually double on weekends and holidays.


“It kind of depends on the season but when it comes to any kind of holidays, I double all my batches,” Funk said. “Maybe triple some of them.“People are still somewhat on a diet I think but they’ll come back,” Funk said. “They can’t resist.”


The giant oven Funk uses is from 1941 along with a cooler from the same era. Funk will bring in new items and has considered gluten-free bread but in the end, the locals know what they want.


“It seems like they know what they want before they step into the door,” Funk said. “Because when there’s something new, they aren’t willing to it try because they know they came here for that one thing they crave.”

“I love bringing something new on every now and then, and people try it, but they always go back to what they’ve known for so many years and it’s good,” Funk said. “And I want to keep it that way.”


Ninety-nine percent of the items in the bakery are freshly made every morning with the exception of some strudel, which is thawed and then baked.

When baking alongside her grandmother as a child in South America, Funk would do almost everything throughout the process.


“The only thing my grandma would help me with was baking the cake because I wasn’t allowed to handle the oven,” Funk said.


Funk would find any reason to bake. She would bake a birthday cake for her four sisters and two brothers, mother and father along with her aunts and uncles. Plus baking bread, which was a daily routine.


“In South America the humidity is so great that we have to bake daily because our bread will not last more than a day on a countertop,” Funk said. “Since we are not using any preservative we had to bake our bread fresh every morning.”


There are no preservatives used in anything Funk bakes in Storm Lake. Her bread is, as she describes, “more natural and healthier” and “doesn’t have any crap in it.


“And that’s the same way with the rolls and donuts. Nothing has any preservatives in it.”


Funk and her family moved to the United States when she was 17 years old.


“I was raised Mennonite and my mom and dad wanted something better for their kids,” Funk said. “It was really tough but as I look back at it today, it was worth everything.”


Funk believes that if she hadn’t moved to America, she would have become a homemaker because that is typical for women in Mennonite culture. Lisa is the mother of four kids and is married to Jacob, who has his own business, Funk Construction. Jacob helps Lisa fry in the mornings. No culinary school was necessary for Funk, who has been following the ways of her grandmother to produce a shop full of fresh, handmade sweets since 2001.


“All hands-on learning from family,” Funk said. “I’ll give a lot of credit to my grandma. She was a perfectionist when it came to bakery stuff. “I remember when I would help her make bread, she taught me to never leave a crumb of flour in the bowl because that was a waste of money,” Funk said. “I never had culinary training, I’m a natural.”