PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- What started as a sourdough breadmaking hobby during the pandemic turned into a business for a Peoria mom. Last year, while on maternity leave, Bailey Ienuso lost her job.

"Being cut from my job really kind of rocked me, kind of shook my core," said Ienuso. She started baking as a way to cope.

"It was a really strange time, kind of riding the verge of postpartum depression and anxiety already...I really loved my job," said Ienuso. "I love working. I love having something I feel successful at. To have that cut all of a sudden at a vulnerable time was just such a big shock to the system also."

Soon, she began to wonder if her hobby could turn into a full-time gig.

"So many people started baking sourdough last year," said Ienuso. "It was the funny meme. It was the joke. Everybody was baking sourdough."

Ienuso loved her time in the kitchen so much she launched Bloom Bread and Bakeshop last November.

"It really is what makes me just feel the most at peace," said Ienuso.

Right now, she spends about 20 hours a week in her kitchen baking. Once her son goes back to school, she says she'd like to scale up and eventually get a brick-and-mortar building.

Just recently, she entered a Sourdough Hope contest through Sourhouse. It's a search to find America's Most Hopeful Sourdough Baking Story.  If Ienuso wins, she gets more than $1,000 in baking supplies, a chance to grow her business while sharing her story of disappointment turned blessing.

"This is probably, as crazy as it sounds, the best thing that could have happened last year," said Ienuso.


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