Chefs Zachary and Hannah Welton moved to the Lowcountry to be a part of famed chef Sean Brock’s vision for Husk (76 Queen Street, Charleston), but are now part of a new wave of inspiration in the Charleston scene. The duo recently opened Welton’s Tiny Bakeshop (682 King Street, Charleston), after building a stellar reputation around town with their Welton’s Wood-Fired Pizza pop-ups. The bakery is currently only open on Saturdays, but it’s creating buzz for the couple’s tangy benne loaves, flaky croissants, creative compound butters, and the must-order honey pie.
The Weltons didn’t know each other when they came to Charleston to work at Husk (Zachary as sous chef and Hannah as chef de partie), but three years later, they were engaged and living together in Tulum, working at the prestigious Hartwood.
After a stop in Houston, a marriage, and another stop in Upstate New York, they just happened to buy a wood-fired pizza oven right before discovering the restaurant they were leading was shutting down due to the pandemic. “We said, ‘Why don’t we just move back down to Charleston?’ And we literally packed up our stuff within two weeks, moved down to Charleston, and opened up our mobile wood-fired pizza business,” says Hannah. With Zachary’s background in wood-fired cooking and Hannah’s background in pastry, pizza was a natural fit — and so is their new bakery.
“We think of pizza as like a blank canvas and feel like that it is similar to the bakery. You have this croissant dough or Danish dough and you can be super creative with it,” says Hannah. Some recent creations at the bakeshop include a hot honey croissant and a mushroom and gouda Danish. “We’re heavily influenced by the seasons,” says Zachary, “We’re super proud to have really amazing produce, which is also an easy point of inspiration for us. We vibe well together coming up with things with a little bit of European influence, but also something that’s unique to the Lowcountry.”
The key to what makes the taste difference at Welton’s is that they use their sourdough starter in all their dough. “It definitely elevates the taste of all our items,” says Hannah, “As well as using really good butter, Lowcountry Creamery milk, Story Farms eggs, and Anson Mills flour. These items might be a little bit more expensive, but the end product is so much more superior and makes you feel so much better when you eat it.”
With only a few weeks in business, Welton’s Tiny Bakeshop is already seeing lines for pastries on Saturdays, but it’s not only the talent in the kitchen — it’s the connections and friendships the couple has made around Charleston. “It’s all about community,” says Hannah, “We want to support everyone — even other people that do pizza or other bakeries in town — we’re all in this together. I think there’s a really awesome renaissance of small business owners happening in Charleston. Community should always be about uplifting your neighbors.” Zachary adds, “I think that the more that we lift each other up and inspire one another, the more successful we’re all going to be.”