Texas State student bakes up sustainability


Baker cutting cinnamon rolls.
Photo Courtesy of Delorean Wiley

Brianna Benitez

A love for brewed beer and bread has inspired one student to take their baking skills to the next level.

Delorean Wiley, sustainability studies graduate, is the owner and operator of The Wily Baker, which opened for business in September 2018. Wiley sells baked goods such as cinnamon rolls and pretzels at local farmers markets.

The Wily Baker bakes bread from dough crafted from brewers spent grain, the malt leftover once the majority of sugars and proteins have been removed from the brewing mix.

According to CraftBeer.com, BSG can constitute up to 85% of a brewery’s total by-product. The majority of the leftover grain is fed to cattle and livestock. However, since the livestock industry is a main contributor to greenhouse gases.

As a craft beer drinker herself, Wiley understands the waste stream that comes with home and corporate brewing. She was curious to find an alternative way to repurpose the grain more guiltlessly.

The idea for opening up a bakery stemmed from Wiley’s husband, Jamie Wiley. He has been baking for over five years and was a professional cinnamon roll baker in California.

After testing BSG during baking, Wiley was amazed to see how high in fiber and protein the bread turned out. She said this method creates ideal baking mix, as the grain does not mold.

At least once a month, Wiley collects grain from Five Stones Brewery in New Braunfels.

Justin Vargas is an assistant brewer at Five Stones Brewery. Vargas said once all the color, flavor and sugar is extracted from the grain, it becomes useless. Rather than throwing the leftovers out, the brewery gives it away to people who tend to reuse it for cattle or cooking.

“It’s really great that (Wiley) has been able to take this grain that would’ve normally been thrown away and offer it in a nutritious way to people,” Vargas said.

In addition to creating a consciously crafted product, The Wily Baker owner wants to ensure the prices for her products are affordable and attainable.

Unlike the majority of other environmentally friendly goods, Wiley said she wanted to price her products in a range college students and lower income families could afford.

“It feels more rewarding to serve communities in this way than just getting a high price for creating something unique and different,” Wiley said.

Wiley hopes selling her products at local farmers markets will create an opportunity for the community to hear and learn more about The Wily Baker and its mission.

Currently, the bakery focuses on selling in Guadalupe county, where 1 in 9 people are food insecure.

Every Thursday, 3 to 7 p.m., The Wily Bakery sells at Cibolo Grange Farmers and Artisans Market. On the first and third Saturday of every month, the company is present at the Seguin Farmers Market.

In the near future, The Wily Baker plans on selling its products in Hays County, where 1 in 8 people are food insecure.

The idea of establishing a sustainable bakery stemmed from Wiley’s love for the environment and her husband’s passion for baking. Although Wiley is the owner and operator of the bakery, her husband Jamie Wiley is the head baker.

The couple hopes their aspirational pursuits teaches their children no matter how old someone is, they can still accomplish goals.

To help with the financial aspects of the business, The Wily Baker operators frequently participate in business pitch competitions.

Astrid Echegoyen, communications junior, is the communications outreach specialist for The Wily Baker. Echegoyen is responsible for finding business pitch competitions for the bakery to compete in.

They competed in Net Impact, and ended up winning the People’s Choice in Microsoft’s Community Outreach Competition.

This past March, The Wily Baker partnered with Texas State at the Innovation Lab competition at SXSW, which served as a valuable experience for the bakery and its owners. Wiley and Echegoyen explained their vision for the company, discussed how The Wily Baker transforms grain from breweries in an innovative way and the presentation sparked investor interest.

The Wiley’s are waiting to hear back from H.E.B.’s Quest for Texas Best, a competition centered around locally owned food and beverage suppliers. The winners gain the opportunity for their products to be supplied in H.E.B in addition to $25,000.

The demands of graduate school and parenthood have challenged Wiley in terms of fast-paced business growth. However, she never wants the bakery to interfere with her family life.

“I don’t want to give up any aspects of our current life to pursue this dream,” Wiley said. “I very much want it to fit into what we’re already doing.”

In between baseball games, gymnastics and church, Wiley and her family designate one day out of the week to bake. Wiley said the bakery has created an opportunity for her family to bond over more than just movies or extracurricular activities.

“No matter how this business turns out, we’ve become a better family unit over it,” Wiley said.

Their baking method might not be the easiest, but The Wily Baker is a business is dedicated to making a positive impact not only on the environment, but the people that consume their products.

Custom orders and the bakery’s events can be found on The Wily Baker’s Facebook page.

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