Lisa and Jim Challenger have a family-run, home-based bakery in Northfield, Illinois where they give away dozens of loaves every week to people in their community. Jim has attempted to learn to bake bread on several occasions throughout his life. In August 2016, he finally made the decision to give baking a three-year commitment to learn the craft. This commitment evolved quickly from baking once a week to a daily obsession.
At first, frustrated with baking in a home oven, Jim soon sensed an opportunity to design and build a product to help home-based bakers. Jim found a mentor in Sara Dahmen of House Copper, whom he met on Instagram, and she introduced him to a great product designer, Julia Behm of Design Between. This was the beginning of what is now the Challenger Bread Pan, formerly known as Jim’s Bread Pan (#jimsbreadpan).
Jim hadn’t felt a passion like this since he started a software company in the 80s. An entrepreneur at heart, Jim knew it would take dedication, commitment, and an obsession exactly like this to succeed. He’s always been impulsive, and perhaps a bit naive in the beginning, but he’s thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the process of bringing this pan to life.
Jim found that the only way to really learn this craft is practice, practice, and more practice—which produces lots of bread. He started giving it away to family, friends, and neighbors with the hope of establishing a Community Supported Bakery in the near future. Jim is still working to perfect the craft of sourdough baking.
Challenger Breadware strives to be the industry leader and innovator in manufacturing products specifically designed for baking bread in homes, bakeries, and restaurants. While connecting the ever-burgeoning community of bread bakers around the world, Challenger Breadware is committed to encouraging and supporting family businesses and local artisans wherever possible.
Lisa and Jim are committed to supporting healthy lifestyles for everyone. For every pan sold the Challengers are donating $1 to No Kid Hungry because living a healthy life begins with food security. There is no acceptable excuse for children to go hungry in this country, yet it happens every day in every community.
Lisa and Jim live just north of Chicago at Blue Moon Farms, their home and Challenger Breadware headquarters. Here, Jim will grow his bread baking hobby into a Community Supported Bakery and Bread Lab where they will hold bread baking classes and workshops.
In addition to their five kids, they keep busy caring for their beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Jambo, and two horses, Charlie and Jackie. By next spring, they will have an organic garden and free-range chickens, too. Check out Blue Moon Farms to Fete, our blog that will keep you updated on Challenger life on the farm.