The story of starter dough
I guess Saimi Moilanen could have gone herself, but she was otherwise occupied. So, her ten-year-old son, Jussi, was sent to buy starter dough from the lady next door, who always sold her baked goods at the market square. In the 1950s, Finland did not have too much bread, literally, so the Moilas family thought they could bake bread themselves and generate some income for the family as well.
“What are you going to do?” asked the old lady when Jussi arrived and wanted to buy starter dough to bake Finnish fish pasties and other baked goods. Jussi replied enthusiastically: “We are also going to start selling goods at the market square.” It did not occur to Jussi that the lady might not want competition. However, the lady only smiled, wrapped the starter dough carefully in butter paper, gave it to Jussi and lay her hands on top of Jussi’s head and said: “Godspeed.”
“Well?”, asked Mother Saimi at home. “Did she sell it to you?”
“No,” answered Jussi, still a bit shocked. “She gave it to me.”
So, Saimi decided to put the starter dough in good use, conjure up new treats in the home oven and pay it forward.
Juha “Jussi” Moilanen and his wife Marketta came across the concept of gluten-free baking on accident. At a social gathering, they met a coeliac who could not eat anything that was offered, only butter. The astonishment sparked an idea: “We could solve this!”
The road towards a gluten-free bakery started with product development. At first, sales included a lot of work and products were made when ordered by phone. One small package might have been sent to Kokkola in the west and another to Utsjoki in Lapland. The solution was found in frozen production, and soon an increasing number of special diet followers became overjoyed, knowing that there was finally bread in supermarkets that fit their dietary needs.
The popularity of Moilas Gluten-Free has increased so much that today both of the Moilas bakeries in Pieksämäki only bake gluten-free goods. And in order to not have the treats run out, a new wheat-free and gluten-free product family was born: Moilas Free From.
Taste samples throughout the years
- In 1955, Saimi Moilanen baked the first rye loaves at her home bakery. They were sold at the Pieksämäki market square.
- In the beginning of 1960s, the delivery area had spread out to only the closest municipalities. At the end of the decade, it had reached Varkaus. Rice pies were already part of selection.
- In 1972, the home bakery got too small, which is why the new, bigger bakery was built in Naarajärvi, in the central urban area´s western side. The boys, Juha and Matti, got the company´s leadership from their parents.
- In the 1980s, Moilas Oy was among the first to bring low-salt breads and organic breads to market.
- In 1985, we began to bake gluten-free products.
- In the 1990s, Moilas Oy was the first company to roll out frozen pastries. The cocktail rice pie became a major success, and people started calling them “Moilases”.
- In 1995, Jussi and Marketta´s son, Ville Moilanen, came to work for the company. Ville´s little sister Anne followed suit a bit later. Today, both of them are owners of the company and board members.
- In 1998, a separate gluten-free bakery began operations at the shores of Lake Naarajärvi.
- In the beginning of 2000s, the exporting of gluten-free products began, to Sweden.
- In 2002, a new convenience food line and freezer storage was built by the gluten-free bakery.
- In 2018, the third generation – Ville Moilanen – became the CEO of the company. Juha Moilanen continues as the Chairman of the Board. The main bakery switched to fully gluten-free production.
- In 2019, we created the Moilas Free From product family for everyone´s enjoyment.