When Jenna Tucker was four years old, she told her mom she wanted to open a bakery. At the ripe young age of 26, she did just that right in the heart of Plainfield.

Last June, Tucker opened Milk & Honey, a French-style bakery popular for its croissants, macaroons and full coffee bar. Tucker and her husband searched tediously to find the perfect spot. When Sweet M’s Boutique moved out of the 100-year-old building on the corner of Main Street and Vine, Tucker felt it was the perfect spot. They bought the place and refurbished it into a quaint and simple bakery with rustic benches, chalkboard menus and white subway tile. They opened the bakery in June of 2017.

The display case reveals warm and gooey pastries, multi-colored macaroons, morning buns dripping with frosty goodness and, of course, Tucker’s favorite item on the menu, the vanilla croissant.

“There’s a funny story behind that croissant,” Tucker says. “We had so many people ask us constantly if we sold donuts. So one day, I said, ‘alright, I am going to put out a croissant that is basically a glazed donut.’ And now they are one of our most popular items.”

What’s funny is that while the vanilla croissant is Tucker’s favorite item, technically the entire menu is her favorite.

“I was trying to come up with what we wanted to sell,” Tucker says. “I knew it would be French style, but we had a small space and it needed to be a limited menu. So I picked my favorite things to bake. And that became the menu.”

The menu is delectable and features items like double chocolate shortbread, chocolate chunk cookies, muffins, brownies, seasonal flavor tarts, éclair and cream puffs and morning buns. Each item is baked fresh each day, with a baker arriving at 4:30 a.m. to get the pastries started. While they look and taste like perfection, it’s hard to believe that Tucker never went to culinary school.

She earned her undergrad at Johnson University in Knoxville and her Master’s degree online at Liberty.

“Everything I learned in the kitchen was self-taught or on the job,” Tucker says.

She grew up watching The Food Network, especially the Barefoot Contessa. But make no mistake, she doesn’t enjoy cooking. It’s just the baking that has her heart.

“I love to bake,” Tucker says. “I have always loved how such simple ingredients can make something so flaky and delicious. I love the technique behind it.”

Samantha Kershaw joined Milk & Honey last May as a barista but is now a baker. She also grew up loving to cook and bake, and when she saw that the bakery was hiring, she jumped at the chance to work there. Over the past year, she has learned more about baking, specifically macaroons.

“It’s just a really good group of people here,” Kershaw says. “We are all friends and have a lot of fun when we are here. There’s a lot of freedom and creativity.”

Kershaw, a student at IUPUI, feels that Milk & Honey brings a new kind of space to Plainfield and to Hendricks County as a whole.

“It brings more of a community space,” Kershaw says. “Students come here to study, people come here to meet up with old friends. It’s just a cool space to hang out and a really good environment.”

Milk & Honey may be a tiny bakery, but they have the capacity to cater any size crowd given enough notice, having served several weddings last summer.

As she runs her bakery, Tucker focus on three main values: honesty, kindness and quality. She deeply believes in being honest and open about the ingredients they use at Milk & Honey and being transparent about their processes.

Tucker also has dreamed of her bakery being a welcoming place in the community for people in all walks of life. Being from North Carolina, she typically welcomes customers with a, “Hey, ya’ll!”

Quality is the cornerstone of Tucker’s products and her services.

“Quality is incredibly important to me,” Tucker adds. “When you put out a lot of one item, you lose focus. I try to give everyone the mindset of paying attention to each individual item I put out and what makes it unique. We do try our best to use the highest quality things we can find, even down to the flour.”

While it is a dream come true, running Milk & Honey hasn’t come without its challenges. Tucker says it’s been a bit tough introducing the community to an entirely new concept of coffee and pastries.

“It’s been challenging to get people to choose a small business over a chain for coffee or pastries,” Tucker says. “We try to feel out what the customers want but also introduce completely new products.”

One thing that brings Tucker the most joy is hearing customers taste the food and enjoy the company of their friends and family in her bakery. Recently, a child dining there with her family screamed, “Woo hoo!” after biting into a chocolate chunk cookie from the menu.

“I told my husband there’s a specific bakery in North Carolina and to this day I think about the donut I had from there as a kid, and I would go to great lengths to get it,” Tucker says. “The fact that I could make a cookie that 20 years from now some kid will think about is really cool to me.”

Milk & Honey is located at 111 S Vine St in Plainfield. You can give them a call at 317-406-3955 or visit them online at milkhoneybakery.com for more information.

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