HANNIBAL — Amy Powell is taking her lifelong love of baking to the next level as she competes in the Greatest Baker contest, with the goal of opening a full-service bakery if she wins.
Powell learned her baking skills from her mother and has been baking all sorts of items since she was a child. Today, she bakes goods like bread bowls and dinner rolls for the Rooster Knobb — the restaurant her parents, Tom and Dana McAfee opened in June — and on her Our Daily Bread Artisan Breads Facebook page. The next chapter of her business endeavor involves an online contest at greatestbaker.com. If Powell receives enough votes to win the contest, she plans to apply the prize money toward fulfilling her dream of opening a full-service bakery in Hannibal.
Powell began the keto diet Dec. 26, 2018, which focuses on minimizing carbohydrates and maximizing protein. But she loves bread, and she remembered how excited she felt after perfecting her recipe for zero-carb sandwich bread after a little over a year.
She shared the recipe on her personal Facebook page, and friends and family soon asked her to make some for them to purchase. In April 2019, Powell launched Our Daily Bread Artisan Breads on Facebook, and the business continues to grow.
“We just do so many different things right now, it’s crazy. We ship all over the U.S.,” Powell said, noting she is the only one who does the baking, and her husband, Larry provides social media support.
Powell’s younger sister, Anna, told her about the Greatest Baker contest. After she looked into the rules and details, she decided to go for it.
“This is supposed to help as a leg up for bakers like myself,” Powell said. “It’s always been in the mix that we want to open up a storefront, but it takes a lot of money. So I decided, ‘let’s just give this a shot.’”
Now in the second of six weeks, the Greatest Baker contest awards $10,000 to the winner. Powell is currently holding steady at second place in her division. She said this week, she needs to remain in the top five to advance — then the process gets considerably more stringent.
Powell stressed how community support has been so welcome throughout the endeavor. Voters can also opt for a paid vote that counts for double, with proceeds going to the No Kid Hungry Foundation. Powell feels nervous at this stage of the contest, but she gets inspiration from customers she said are like family.
“I do know — especially during the last couple of days — the community outreach with the posts I put out there was really overwhelming,” Powell said. “I wasn’t expecting as many people to jump on and vote — I went from sixth place to first place in a matter of hours, then I jumped back up to second, and so far we’re staying there.”
Daily voting opportunities and more information about the Greatest Baker contest are available by visiting greatestbaker.com. Powell’s bakery Facebook page can be found by searching for Our Daily Bread Artisan Breads.