West Virginia Department of Commerce Crazy Baker

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Crazy Baker

Living the Sweet Life
The Crazy Baker

By Catherine Zacchi

Baking struck a passionate chord in Hall Hitzig, owner of The Crazy Baker in Renick.

“When I was a child growing up in New York, I went to Kirshbaum’s Bakery in our hometown of Bearsville, N.Y., hung out in the workshop and watched Chef Kirshbaum prepare his goods,” Hitzig said. “Tasting them was the key. I was in love with bakery food!  I trained my palate on his baked goods and in the bakeries of New York City.”

Hitzig moved to West Virginia, where he worked days as director of maintenance for an air charter company at Greenbrier Valley Airport and baked for restaurants during the evening. After 16 years, he decided to embark on a new career as a pastry chef. Hitzig graduated with honors from L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Md., in 2000.

While Hitzig was working at a resort in English Cotswolds, friend and fellow baker Jeff Kessler bought property and opened a bread bakery in Renick, W.Va. Today, Hitzig leases half the bakery space from Kessler, who operates Jeff’s Breads in the other half.

“My passion is not only to create delicious food, but also pure, clean, and traditional foods,” said Hitzig. “I purchase as much as I can locally or within the state of West Virginia. For example, the honey in our granola comes from local bee keepers.”

Hitzig’s holiday recommendations include Panforte, a traditional Italian confection filled with almonds, spices and candied citrus; Panettone Basso, a Christmas bread filled with fruit and almonds; Sticky Toffee Pudding, a rich date cake with hot toffee sauce; and a gift package of healthful granolas.

Catherine Zacchi lives in Mineral Wells and works for Commerce Communications. She enjoys biking on the North Bend Rail Trail in Cairo. Contact: catherine.m.zacchi@wv.gov