Wisconsin Home Bakery

Business By mommabuda Updated 2 Mar 2014 , 6:28pm by debbiecakes75

mommabuda Posted 22 Oct 2009 , 5:28pm
post #1 of 13

So I've been looking into this and I always thought Wisconsin didn't allow baking out of their homes??? I just talked to our building inspector and he said that we can bake cakes and sell them out of our home with the proper home occupation license. I am so confused! lol... anyone know what I'm talking about?

12 replies
littlesweetpea Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 1:07pm
post #2 of 13

I am in WI. About 15yrs ago, I wanted to do baking out of my home. Everything was going to be separated from our home life. This was Waukesha. The health inspecter at the time said-"no way!" I told him that everything would be separated-"absolutely not!" was his response. Well skip to today-I know of many who run their "bakeries" out of their home. I know at one time it depended on the county. I wonder if those people have licenses???-I do not know. Check with the local health inspecter & the county health inspecter. Yes both, because local look for different things than the county. Good Luck!

Mike1394 Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 3:49pm
post #3 of 13
Originally Posted by mommabuda

So I've been looking into this and I always thought Wisconsin didn't allow baking out of their homes??? I just talked to our building inspector and he said that we can bake cakes and sell them out of our home with the proper home occupation license. I am so confused! lol... anyone know what I'm talking about?

So that means the ZONING is fine. Now talk to your Healthe Department, and see what they have to say.


Peridot Posted 23 Oct 2009 , 4:04pm
post #4 of 13

I am in Central Wisconsin and I had wanted to also do cakes from my house and I called all over and was finally told that I had to call the Dept of Agriculture. I never did talk to anyone because the several times I called the person I needed to talk to wasn't in and I never bothered. I had previously called the health dept and they made it sound as if you HAD TO HAVE A SEPARATE KITCHEN!!!

Littlesweetpea - everything separate and they said NO! I know of a woman in a neighboring town that has baked out of her house for years and years. I have no idea if she if legal or not - she has her business listed in the phone book and when you go to pick up a cake you go into her house. Maybe she has a set-up in the basement - I don't know.

So is this a local thing, county and not state law? Talk about irritating and confusing. Can anyone ever get a straight answer when government is involved?

What is a home occupation license??

littlesweetpea Posted 24 Oct 2009 , 1:59pm
post #5 of 13

I originally went thru the same thing-leaving messages without anyone getting back to me. Eventually I reached the guy. He was very irritating. Didn't seem to want to deal with me. At the time we were building & we were going to work out a separate section with absolutely no contact from the "living" area. He didn't want to here any of it. Just said I could not have a food based business adjacent to my home. Like I said-this may have changed. But I do know it can be very hard to find any kind of info relating to this. Restaurant info you can find a lot of-but not so much cakes or other bakery business info.
Look at the WI Restaurant Association website-there's some good info on that.

mommabuda Posted 26 Oct 2009 , 5:55pm
post #6 of 13

Thanks. I did just contact the health department via email and I got the reply saying that I would have to check with zoning for this type of application. Then he went on to say: The State of WI. licenses bakeries as it is considered retail food. And then gave me the inspector's name, phone number & email. Ugh... run around... lol... we'll see.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:31am
post #7 of 13

I am in Wausau WI and just opened an in-home bakery. We had to be rezoned in order to have a retail space where people can come in and buy already made baked goods. If you're not zoned commercial but have a liscensed kitchen you can only take advanced orders and have people pick it up at the location. We also had to have a kitchen seperate from any part of our home kitchen so in my case it was a garage we renovated. Also, we could use the well water on the property but not use the septic system so we had to have a holding tank put in to put waste water in. The list is endless but it is possible, with proper planning and the correct information.

I didn't need to go through the Dept of Agriculture because I don't plan to sell off premise. There are other factors in that but the lady at the Health Dept I worked with said it was a non-issue for what I was doing.

Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions.

HeidiCrumbs Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 3:52pm
post #8 of 13

Sorry, my e-mail add got removed. Didn't know the rules.

If you want to talk further you can send me a message on CC.

mommabuda Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 6:10pm
post #9 of 13

I did send a PM to you icon_smile.gif

jenmat Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 6:10pm
post #10 of 13

momma budda~
I am in Greenleaf, and I know Brown County licenses home bakeries. Not sure about Manitiwoc County. I would contact John Paul at Brown County Health Dept. He is great to work with, and he will give you his counterpart in Man. County.
You do have to have a separate kitchen, but it can be in your house. Good luck!

bfranzen Posted 29 Oct 2009 , 6:35pm
post #11 of 13

I just put in my licensed kitchen this summer and I'm legal, so yes it is possible in WI. Where it gets confusing is if you are zoned to have a business in your home.

So, check with your city office first to find out what the zoning laws are in your city--they can be different in different parts of town. I had to go to 3 city council meetings, ask for a variance in zoning, meet with the zoning committee to explain what I wanted to do, etc. (In my "newer" area of town, we were not zoned to have a home business, but I was granted a variance to allow a small home business).

Then, contact the health dept (dept of ag). They can send you a document with rules/reg. as well as the name of the local person who does the licensing. I contacted the person doing the licensing and asked some questions (like, I got permission to use my bathroom sink as my hand washing sink instead of having to put in a new sink. My bathroom is right off of my new kitchen and no one else uses it). She was great to work with and easily made sense of the basic rules of a licensed kitchen.

Hope that helps. I'll be glad to answer questions if I can.


madbaker213 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 3:43am
post #12 of 13

NO KIDDING! I just moved back to Wisconsin, Columbia county, and want to run my own cottage bakery. When I lived in Colorado you could do that, with proper licensing, no bigy! But if it was something like bread (different requirements than baked goods) you would need a commercial kitchen (6 sinks, why would anyone need that many sinks?!) Ok solution, don't do bread just baked goods (Cookies, brownies, etc.) good. Well come to find out after we move here they have no such thing. I've been doing my own research and tried calling the department of agg and getting no where.


I'm still left with so many questions and the biggest one is, what do I need to do to get this going? How much money will it cost? And what kind of licensing do I need?

debbiecakes75 Posted 2 Mar 2014 , 6:28pm
post #13 of 13

It definitely depends on what county you live in.  I am in west central WI and I didn't think it was very difficult to get licensed.  I contacted the Dept. of Agriculture and asked what I needed to do.  The requirements were to take a food safety class and have an inspection (pay the inspection fee).  I started out in the fall of 2012 by renting a nearby (already inspected) commercial kitchen and that location was listed on my license.  In the meantime, we built our own licensed kitchen in our basement (completely separate from our personal kitchen) and when it was finished, he came and inspected that and issued me a new permit with my residence as the address. Since baked goods are considered low potentially hazardous foods, I did NOT have to spring for all commercial equipment.  It is classified as a LICENSED kitchen, not a commercial kitchen.  I did need a 3 compartment sink, a separate hand washing sink, thermometers in the fridges, and smooth, washable floors, walls and ceilings. Customers can pick up and I can sell premade goods as well, although I don't have a bakery display as of yet.


As far as zoning, I live in a rural area and had already been running another business out of my home for several years, as did a neighbor who runs an excavating business.  So obviously, this was already okay within my township.  I don't know anything about an occupational license.

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