WAITE PARK -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we roll up our sleeves and get baking at Great Harvest Bread Company in Waite Park.

There's no denying the passion Mike and DeNae Hiltner have for baking, or how tough the work is making everything from scratch.

"Everything has to happen at a certain time to get an excellent product," says DeNae Hiltner.

The Hiltner's have been running Great Harvest for 15 years and every morning begins early mixing the dough needed for the day.

"They start at about 4:45 a.m. mixing our sweets and dough's, then Mike and I will come in at about 8:00 a.m. and start the production schedule," says DeNae Hiltner.

As the dough begins to rise, Mike makes his way to the back to start milling more wheat berries.

"We put them through our Danish Mill to mill fresh flour every day," says Mike Hiltner.

Hiltner says they use only fresh ingredients and stay away from artificial preservatives.

Once the dough is ready it's placed on the table where it's kneaded by hand and put into baking pans.

"Everything from his point is hand kneaded, put in our pans and our baker takes over and proofs our bread," says Mike Hiltner.

Then it's thrown in the oven, sliced, packaged and out the door.

The entire process can take about seven hours and DeNae says while every day has its challenges, you can't replace the satisfaction it brings.

"It's definitely a small business teamwork and that's been one of the greatest things, just getting to know all the awesome people that come through," says DeNae Hiltner.

Great Harvest Bread Company is open 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Employees at Great Harvest Bread Company are hard at work baking bread. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)