Eman Abdulmuaty, a former banker in Qatar, had always baked on the side. When she was laid off due to the pandemic, she saw it as her chance to make her love of baking a full-time job.
Seto Homemade Baked Goodies is the first step toward that dream.
Abdulmuaty had originally planned to open a bakery storefront, but the pandemic forced her to get creative. She applied for a cottage food license online and began listing baked goods online in December.
Business is booming — pie, cake and cookie orders are streaming in, and she’s sold food at Bleu Duck Kitchen’s markets in the spring.
“I get the comments from people I don’t know that they love the cooking and they just hope I’m very successful,” she said. “This does not surprise me, but it does please me. I want to do more, to please these people.”
Cooking and baking have been Abdulmuaty’s hobbies for many years. Seto’s menu displays an array of cultures and personal favorites — from Mediterranean cookies and Abdulmuaty’s “best in town” baklava, to homemade pies and citrus cakes.
Abdulmuaty, originally from Egypt, traveled overseas with her husband before moving to Rochester to be near her children. Every place she’s lived, she diversified her slate of pastries, taste-testing and refining them until she has something “that people love” to write down in her recipe holder.
Dina Abo Sheasha, Abdulmuaty’s daughter and lead marketer, said her practice originated in the Mediterranean, but “she likes to explore” and make local recipes her own. Take Seto’s apple pie, for example.
“She always likes to introduce international cuisines,” Abo Sheasha said. “When she came here, she asked me, ‘What’s an item people like here?’ I told her, ‘Mama, apple pie — people love apple pie here.’ ”
Cue the montage of slicing apples and testing recipes — a little more caramel here, a little more cinnamon there — and rolling out crusts until she found the perfect combination.
“She puts it in her mind that it’s a challenge, and she will make the best one,” Abo Sheasha said. Family members in the Midwest taste-tested each of the offerings until it was just right.
The whole idea of the bakery goes back to Abdulmuaty’s mother, who used to gather the entire family together for home-cooked meals. “Seto” means “grandmother” in Egypt, and was chosen as a tribute to her — the logo also features her face.
Best-sellers include that baklava, apple and cherry pies, chocolate chip-caramel cookies, and konafa, a surprising recent hit with local buyers.
In the future, Abdulmuaty hopes to add her “very famous” éclair and syllabub to the list. For now, her license prohibits dairy-based desserts.
“I like to please the people who taste the food and they love it,” Abdulmuaty said. “I want to offer the thing I love.”
What: Seto bakery
Contact: 507-269-4322 or email@example.com
Online: www.myseto.com or www.facebook.com/SETOBAKERY