Updated January 16, 2016 :(Why? Because Five Daughters opened in 12South today and this article now reflects that!)
Mmmm … how sweet it is to be greeted by the smell of freshly baked goods. Whether its a lemony scone, a gooey, glazed donut or a chocolate-studded cookie hot out of the oven, there’ s something incredibly comforting about encountering those decadent aromas. Five Daughters, one of the newest and most popular artisanal bakeries to open in Middle Tennessee, has built its business on the universal nostalgia for buttery pastries. With a passion for culinary innovation and a devotion to top-notch ingredients, owners/spouses Isaac and Stephanie Meek have crafted recipes that rival your grandma’s best batch. Garnering inspiration from their five beautiful and vivacious daughters, this dynamic team has changed the face of baking … and we aren’t complaining.
Before embarking on this culinary adventure, Isaac was a musician. Longing for another creative outlet, he took up baking as a hobby. He and Stephanie made cupcakes and cakes to give to friends and neighbors, and it didn’t take long before people started encouraging them to consider it as a full-time gig. Isaac’s great-grandfather owned a cake shop, and his grandfather owned a pizzeria, so the food industry is definitely in his blood. But this was a total departure from his full-time job, and it was a move that demanded courage and perseverance, not to mention the support from his wife and kids. If this bakery was to be successful, it had to be a family affair.
A handful of gourmet coffee shops and bakeries have opened in Nashville over the past five years, but Five Daughters is distinguished by its mission of quality and artistry. Isaac and Stephanie are fully committed to using only the best ingredients; they even import Irish butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows to use in all of their treats. The cost for these ingredients is high, but to Isaac, it’s absolutely worth it. His products are truly exceptional. The Quinn, for instance, which is named after their youngest daughter, is a reinterpretation of the classic French pastry Kouign Amann. It’s simple and subtly sweet, with the perfect balance of tender and crispy parts. With distinguished flavors and satisfying textures, they make you question why you ever wasted a penny on Little Debbie.
Balance is actually what defines Five Daughters. They offer the gut-busting indulgences you crave on Saturday morning, like the 100-layer donut, a genius hybrid of a donut and croissant, as well as cupcakes and the beloved stuffed happy donuts, which are filled with creams, custards and jams. But they also offer an incredible paleo donut, which has a great flavor and consistency, perhaps an unusual find. They even have salads and sandwiches to go, so you can abate your sugar rush with a cup of perfectly massaged and dressed kale. And for those who like something savory in the morning, Five Daughters also makes eggs to order.
Five Daughters’ version of the cronut continues to be the most coveted item. It’s available in numerous flavors, many of which were inspired by Stephanie’s cravings during pregnancy (can any of you relate?). Think samoa, orange creamsicle and even s’mores donuts topped with homemade marshmallows. Isaac gets flavor inspiration from lots of places. Some are obvious, like the maple-glazed bacon donut, because of the popularity of those things in Southern cooking. Other ideas have come from customers who give suggestions based on personal preferences. It’s this kind of flexibility that makes Five Daughters so successful — a willingness to listen to the wants and needs of the community and the openness to creativity and experimentation.
Like their ever-growing family, Five Daughters opened at The Factory in November 2015 and soon after opened a second location, in the bustling 12South neighborhood. Both offer all of the same products but the 12South location also sells coffee from local purveyors and has a deck where customers can relax and enjoy their treats. They want it to be a new cornerstone in the local community. Isaac and Stephanie are intentional about their business and that is reflected in their food. “We love what we do, and we love the people we serve. You really can taste the love that goes into each item,” says Isaac. And that, no doubt, is what keeps us coming back for more.
Five Daughters has two locations:
The Factory at Franklin, 230 Franklin Road, Franklin, TN 37064. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
12South neighborhood, 1110 Caruthers Ave, Nashville, TN 37204. Hours are Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
All images from today’s article are courtesy of Five Daughters Bakery.