The meaning of “kuluntu” is “community” in isiXhosa, a South African language of the amaXhosa tribe. The mission of Kuluntu Bakery is to build community through baking & breaking bread.
What does community building mean to us?
Community building is commonly defined as the creation of a group of people with social and psychological ties. For us, community building digs deeper. It is the formation of a group of open-minded, accepting people that will lift each other up. It is cross-cultural, intersectional, and breeds understanding and empathy for others.
At its heart, Kuluntu Bakery breaks down barriers through education and empowerment. We focus on women because we believe wholeheartedly that women are the center of a just, equitable and peaceful world. Kuluntu Bakery is in the building stages, and we are excited to continue working towards our mission and fulfilling our vision.
Photo by Kelsey Foster Photography
We work towards our mission by:
Kuluntu Bakery is a cottage bakery located near Bishop Arts District in Dallas, Texas. Our vision is to open a brick and mortar bakery that will be focused on women’s empowerment through education, culinary training, and community enrichment activities.
We use high-quality, organic ingredients when possible, including flour from Barton Springs Mill in Austin, TX and King Arthur Flour. We recycle, compost, and donate any unsold goods.
My name is Stephanie Leichtle-Chalklen, and I’m a native of Coppell, Texas. My journey has been unique, and I hope to share my story through Kuluntu Bakery. After graduating from Texas A&M University with a Master of Public Service and Administration and a Bachelor of Sociology, I was inspired to set off on my own and live in the big city. I moved to New York City with no job and few connections. Fortunately, I found work quickly and spent several years working for various international and local nonprofit organizations.
Like most New Yorkers, I had a side hustle – baking! For 2 years, I baked out of my Queens apartment and even spent a summer selling my sweets at a popular street market in East Harlem. I soon decided that I needed more formal training and switched careers to go work in a bakery. I was fortunate to work in two French patisseries, learning from some of New York’s top pastry chefs.
At the end of 2017, my husband, who is from Johannesburg, South Africa, and I decided to pack up our tiny apartment and move across the world to Cape Town, South Africa. This is where Kuluntu Bakery began. During our short time in Cape Town, I spent my time learning local recipes and ingredients and teaching bread making classes with several nonprofit organizations. We moved back to the Dallas area in July of 2018 and have been baking away ever since!
I’m excited to bring these many beautiful pieces of my life together in my home city, through Kuluntu Bakery.
Photo by Hunter Lacey