Each weekend, Matthew Johanningmeier, a video producer, director and editor by day, dons his signature bonnet and bandana to become the Dough Dealer, purveyor of local, made-to-order cookie dough.
But before you ask, he’s not the Dough Dealer because of that. The name is partially inspired by Future’s “Move that Dope” (a favorite on Johanningmeier’s workout playlist) and from the friendly ribbing of a friend who sought credit for the original name for the venture: “The Real Dough.”
For Johanningmeier, baking has always been a tool for him to wrestle, as he puts it, with depression and mental health.
“When I’m feeling particularly down, baking helps me take my eyes off of myself and focus on making someone else’s day,” he said.
Before the pandemic, the beneficiaries of his baking were fellow members of the photography and videography board at his church. Johanningmeier’s baking quickly developed a devout following, and even his pastor searched him out for his chocolate chip cookie recipe.
With his day job slowing down because of the pandemic, leading him to spend an excessive amount of time in his apartment sheltering in place, Johanningmeier could feel himself approaching a low point and thought, “Man. I gotta do something.”
On a whim, he posted to his personal Instagram page asking if friends wanted to buy his homemade cookie dough. He went to bed that night with a few messages of interest but when he woke up to nearly 50, he knew it was a sign.
But not necessarily a sign from the transportation gods. When he left his apartment for an epic shopping run, he found his car battery had died during his shelter-in-place. After a jumpstart from a neighbor, a new battery courtesy of his cookie-appreciating pastor and an emergency stand mixer purchase, the Dough Dealer was on the move.
The first weekend was a success: He sold enough cookie dough to repay his pastor for the car battery, break even on ingredients and cover most of the cost of the stand mixer.
Since then, the dough life has been in perpetual motion with cookie dough sales, flavor development and finessing the perfect packaging with the goal of a “home-done product with a layer of professional excellence.”
When asked why he’s dealing the dough instead of the cookies, Johanningmeier says it comes down to practicality and philosophy.
Practically, the Dough Dealer is operating as a cottage food provider out of his apartment, so storage space and ovens are limited.
Philosophically, “I want to make gourmet baking at home as easy and as fun as possible,” he said. He's selling “an at-home cookie experience,” the joy of baking and sharing freshly baked goods with loved ones in a simple way without the mess and clean up. And for that last part, we thank him.
The standard flavor lineup includes the Classic Chunks’N’Chips (five for $9.50), the Dough Dealer’s version of a classic chocolate chip cookie; the Black’N’White (five for $12.50), a chocolate chip cookie dough base with cocoa and white chocolate chips; the s’mores-inspired Campfire Delight (four for $11.50); and the Chocolate Queen (five for $12.50), a dark chocolate enthusiast’s dream chocolate cookie with both black cocoa and Dutch cocoa, with a little espresso for good measure.
On special through Thanksgiving to satisfy basic fall needs is the PSL-Doodle (four for $12.50), an espresso-crème filled pumpkin flavored cookie with pumpkin spice coating and white chocolate chips.
For the indecisive, the Dough Dealer recently launched a cookie flight option ($7.25) with one cookie dough ball each of the Classic Chunks’N’Chips, the Black’N’White and the Chocolate Queen.
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