If you order a croissant at Sunday Morning Bakehouse, the shop that baker Caroline Yi opened in North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose development in October, you might find yourself gazing at it, marveling at its deeply golden-brown exterior and the sheer height created by skillful lamination (the process of encasing butter in yeasted dough, then rolling, folding and turning that dough several times to create multiple ultra-thin, alternating layers of dough and butter).
Yi, 27, was born in Montgomery County and attended Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville and the University of Maryland. She has a bachelor’s degree in American studies and took a job as a digital marketing coordinator for a patent technology company, but boredom led the Rockville resident to pursue the passion for baking that was part of her family’s DNA. Her grandfather owned a bakery before she was born and her mother and aunt worked there. Her uncle was a baking assistant; now he occasionally helps Yi make doughnuts at Sunday Morning Bakehouse.
Yi embarked on a course of gaining experience, with the goal of opening a bakery one day. “People want small, privately owned bakeries in their neighborhood because they are so few and far between,” she says. “They want to know the baker, know who makes the bread and the doughnuts. I envisioned having people see me and wave to me and ask me what else I have coming out today.” To that end, she took a job as a cashier at A Baked Joint in Washington, D.C., to get her foot in the door, eventually scoring a baking job there and learning how to make croissants, bread, biscuits and other bakery items.
In 2017, Yi struck out on her own, selling baked goods at the Kentlands farmers market in Gaithersburg under the name Sunday Morning Bakehouse. A year later, she was selling at the Central Farm Market at Pike & Rose and negotiating a lease for her brick-and-mortar store.
Sunday Morning Bakehouse was a hit from the start, with people clambering for croissants, brioche doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches (the smoked salmon with lightly scrambled eggs on croissant is heavenly) and toasts made with her country sourdough bread. The zen-like space—gray marble, lightly stained wood, white brick, rustic chairs—makes you want to linger at one of the 50 seats and watch the action in Yi’s open kitchen. A saying on the wall states, “Lust is Saturday night; Love is Sunday morning.” Where those croissants are concerned, we lust every day.
Sunday Morning Bakehouse, 11869 Grand Park Ave. (Pike & Rose), North Bethesda, 240-669-8202, sundaymorningbakehouse.com