Flipping the Script on Gluten-Free Baking
Katarina Schare is pioneering a new kind of business at Hävenly Baked Goods.
Katarina launched Hävenly in 2019 after discovering she had a knack for creating delicious, Swedish-inspired baked goods that just happened to be gluten-free too. After years of practicing law and raising two young girls, her career pivot was a surprise to many. Yet, with her passion and perseverance, Katarina built an impressive business in record time.
Hävenly’ recipes come from Katarina’s time growing up on the Western shores of Sweden. After moving to the US, she realized not only how much she missed her usual foods, but that American food was actually making her feel sick. Katarina was trying every elimination diet she could find to figure out what was causing her to feel ill. While cutting out gluten, she continued to bake her Shabbat bread using gluten-free recipes and found that her friends and family couldn’t tell the difference. It was then that she learned she had something unique in her hands.
Katarina launched Hävenly four months before the pandemic hit. “We were just starting to get our momentum,” Katarina said with a sigh. Luckily, they didn’t have an expensive lease at the time, and she was able to pivot and sell pre-made bread mixes until the world began to reopen again. “That’s when the farmers market stepped up majorly for us. We were able to sell our bread mixes on the online store. It allowed us to keep our customers instead of disappearing from their minds altogether,” she added.
Hävenly has remained a market staple since 2020. Whether you’re biting into a Love Bun, Rustic Loaf, or Power Muffin, the soft, airy texture and nutty grain flavors are not only a joyful treat for gluten-free eaters, but a delicious culinary experience for those of us who proudly proclaim our love for wheat. “We used to ask people [at the farmers market] if they wanted a sample of gluten-free bread, and most people would say no,” Katarina recalled. “One day, we decided to start asking if they wanted Swedish bread instead, and that changed everything.”
Still, the components that make Katarina’s business unique – the healthy, wholesome ingredients and Swedish heritage – can also be barriers to her company’s success. “In Sweden, we knew we had to eat our bread fresh. In America, people are used to going to the supermarket and having their bread last for one to two weeks,” she explained. Not using preservatives and chemicals has a convenience cost that most Americans aren’t used to, but through education and experience, Katarina is able to shift her customers’ minds and change their habits.
What makes Katarina’s company truly unique, however, is something most of her customers may not even know about Hävenly: she is committed to zero waste. From compostable bags and stickers to reusable baking sheets, Katarina has reduced waste in every aspect of her business. When asked, she could think of only two items she puts in the landfill on a regular basis. It isn’t easy or cheap, but for Katarina, it’s worth it to help preserve a better future for her daughters. “I’m petrified that we’re going to leave our children with nothing but trash piles,” Katarina confided. “We have the privilege of being able to run our business sustainably, so that’s what we do.”