Oh, how sweet! Gainesville resident offers up delicious options at popular Mountain Home bakery

Gainesville resident Rachel Klessig opened her French bakery, Petite Patisserie, on the Mountain Home, Arkansas, square in May 2023.

The bakery case is filled each morning with fresh-baked delights including homemade loaves of bread, croissants, pastries, muffins and more.

Rachel and Matt’s daughter Clara holds a tray of freshly fried apple fritters. Clara works in the bakery, as well as helping with transportation to and from school for her five school-aged siblings.

If you need something extra sweet for Valentine’s Day - or, really, any other day for that matter - stop in Petite Patisserie, a French bakery on the Mountain Home, Arkansas, square, owned by Gainesville resident Rachel Klessig and her husband Matt. 

Inside, you’ll find rows and rows of freshly baked pastries, homemade breads and enough creative, European specialty baked options to make your head spin.


How it started

Rachel officially opened the bakery last May, but many people in the area have been well-acquainted with her sweet treats, delicious breads and other baked goods for over a decade.

“I started baking to have good quality bread for my family,” she told the Times recently. “It took years of practice to master yeast breads, and then I moved into experimenting with sourdough.”

Rachel said in the early years she and Matt began attending farmers markets and offering chicken, beef and other meat options from animals they’d raised on their farm north of Gainesville, Jersey Knoll Farm. After seeing an opportunity to also share her sourdough bread, bagels and English muffins with customers, she added those items to their offerings each week. 

“I did this off and on over the last 15 years, taking breaks now and then when things got a little too overwhelming,” Rachel said. 

It’s understandable that balancing the farm and farmers market demands could get overwhelming, especially because Rachel was also homeschooling and caring for their nine children.


Macaron Maven to Petite Patisserie

In 2020, after a break, Rachel decided to make another go of selling at market to help out with the family’s income, supplementing Matt’s full-time career at an off-farm job. 

This time, she decided to focus her energy a little differently. Instead of making her breads and bagels the star of her farmers market booth, she specialized in French macarons, a sweet meringue-based sandwich cookie confection filled with various flavored creams. That began her time as “The Macaron Maven.”

“It was an instant success at the market,” she said. “We branched out into doing special events and even providing baked goods to local coffee shops.”

Seeing continued success and garnering a real demand for the creative-flavored macarons, Rachel and Matt decided to take a leap of faith and transition into a brick-and-mortar location on the Mountain Home square last spring. They named it Petite Patisserie.

“It’s clear that I like alliteration,” she said, referencing her former business name Macaron Maven. “Patisserie is French for pastry shop. Since I specialize in European and French-inspired pastry, it made sense to use that in the name, and we are just a small mom-and-pop-shop, so Petite it is!”


Hard work, sweet success

The bakery has become a popular spot since it opened its doors, but it’s not been without a lot of hard work. 

“I am currently working six days a week. We are closed on Sunday and Monday, but Mondays are my biggest prep day of the week. 

“My day starts before 1 a.m., and I prep about 60 loaves of various types of breads to bake over the course of the following two days. From beginning to final forming, it takes about 10 hours to finish [the loaves]. I do this at least one or two other days during the week,” she said. 

“I also prep desserts and my gluten free options on Mondays, as well as other prep that needs to be done before Tuesday,” Rachel said. 

“Bagels, brioche cinnamon rolls and muffins get started... Then we start laminating the croissant dough all while baking off breads that were prepped the day before. We make 150 to 200 croissants every morning,” she said. 

Everything the bakery uses is made in-house, from their jams to compotes to Danish fillings and citrus custards, it’s all handcrafted by Rachel and her crew from high-quality ingredients. 

The result is nothing short of spectacular. Cases upon cases hold endless options for breakfast and brunch each morning.

The croissants are offered in various sweet or savory flavors (which vary by the day) including spinach artichoke, ham and cheese, potato and leek, white chocolate pistachio, lemon blueberry and espresso mocha.

The freshly baked sourdough breads are as beautiful as they are tasty with spiraling scroll work adorning the tops of many loaves. Offerings include classic flavors such as honey oat, rye and traditional sourdough, as well as inventive concoctions like cranberry walnut and cracked pepper Asiago. Foccacia bread and ciabatta rolls are also offered, as well as large, sweet cinnamon rolls. 

Sourdough bagels of various flavors are a staple at the bakery, sometimes with unique toppings such as orange marmalade cream cheese or lox-topped with smoked salmon and dill. 

Rachel still offers her popular macarons in a variety of flavor pairings, as well as  other dessert options. She always ends the week with “Apple Fritter Fridays.”

Those who are gluten free shouldn’t shy away from the bakery, as Rachel prepares several GF breads, pastries and desserts. 

In addition to the regular bakery items, the shop fulfills a lot of custom orders for macarons, pastries, cookies and other items, as they are requested. 

Some of the biggest orders they fulfilled over the last year were custom orders at Christmastime. That included 1,800 cookies for Missouri State University-West Plains, as well as yule log cakes for the entire staff at the local hospital, Baxter Health’s holiday meal.

“We have also done special orders for pastries for office meetings at several businesses in Mountain Home, custom cookie orders for customer appreciation gifts, macarons for weddings and birthdays and occasionally I take special orders for cakes,” she said. “We also have many people just come to order in advance a certain number of various pastries to be picked up certain days of the week.”

Rachel said her favorite part of running the bakery is coming up with new flavor options for croissants and experimenting with different forming techniques. She said last summer the shop branched out and began offering sandwiches and lunch items on the freshly baked breads and pastries for a short time before discontinuing them. She said she’d eventually like to do that again after she is able to set up the shop a little better with different prep stations to make the lunch process smoother. 


Continued changes

The growing success of the bakery has been wonderful for the Klessig family, but it has come with some transition as Rachel, Matt and their children work to find balance. 

“It has led to some changes at home including our children attending public school for the first time beginning last fall,” she said.

She said that her girls do help out with the bakery on the weekends and on days when they’re not in school. Matt also helps as needed. The family’s goal is to bring him into the bakery in a more full-time role at some point this year. 

“The schedule is getting easier, and we are kind of getting into a routine. Right now, I’m trying to get the bakery established and running smoothly without me being there to supervise all the time, so that has meant a lot of hours for me,” she said. 

Five of the Klessig children are still school-aged ranging from preschool through 10th grade and now attend classes at Gainesville School. Clara, one of the Klessig’s adult daughters, has been a “lifesaver,” Rachel says, driving the kids to school in the mornings, something Rachel can’t do because her days at the bakery start at 1 a.m.. 

After dropping the kids off to school, Clara then joins her mom at the bakery, working at the shop until close. Sometimes she volunteers to pick the kids up after school so Rachel can go home and get some sleep before her early morning wake-up. But most nights Rachel comes home and makes dinner to enjoy with her family. “They help with that though, so we can get dinner on the table at a decent hour. The girls can really hold their own in the kitchen, even though they are only in their early teens,” she said. 


Stop by for a visit

Petite Patisserie is now open for its winter hours from 7 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Saturday on the Mountain Home square (27 E. 6th Street). In the spring they’ll begin staying open an hour later until 1 p.m.

“Just come in, and come early for the best selection.  We want things to always be fresh every morning, and some things can sell out.  It’s so hard to predict just how much to prepare on any given day but we do our best to make sure we have plenty and a good variety of options,” Rachel said said. To find out more, call Petite Patisserie, 870-232-5211. 

Ozark County Times

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PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
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