Father Kyle Schnippel of ‘The Great American Baking Show’

When the ABC show put out calls for contestants in the winter of 2017, Father Schnippel applied and got accepted.

Father Kyle Schnippel (right) with Father Leo Patalinghug
Father Kyle Schnippel (right) with Father Leo Patalinghug (photo: Father Kyle Schnippel)

A quick web search turns up names of a few priests who hang out in the kitchen cooking or baking. That includes Father Kyle Schnippel, pastor of Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann Catholic churches in Cincinnati, Ohio. His claim to fame: Father Schnippel has appeared on ABC’s The Great American Baking Show.

There have been some events with Father Leo Patalinghug, he said, who has come to the parish for cookoffs. “I beat Father Leo the first time by a fluke,” he said. “The second time was much more fair-and-square. We used a local barbecue sauce with leeks.”

But despite his love of cooking and baking, Father Schnippel did not choose a culinary career. Instead, he followed his Catholic family’s heritage. A native of the town of Botkins, Ohio, he grew up a block from Immaculate Conceptionchurch, so going to Mass and his faith were part of his young life. “I even thought about attending seminary,” he said, “until my first year of college at Ohio State. But I felt convinced the Lord was calling me to the priesthood based on a priest giving a presentation on the priesthood to the Catholic student group at Ohio State.”

A year later, he entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. After graduation, he entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati. He noted that throughout his time of discernment and studying for the priesthood, his parents were very supportive and encouraging. “Early on in my formation,” he said, “they sat me down and said that they were so happy and proud of me.”

His first parish assignments included teaching high school at an all-boys Catholic high school called Elder. He then was assigned as a vocations director in spring 2006, where he served until 2014, after which he was assigned to his current parishes.

That’s when his culinary skills kicked in, thanks to what he learned from his mother. “My mom likes to cook,” he said. “There were six of us in the family, and I remember in grade school and high school, my mom would often set out the ingredients for dinner. When we came home from school, we would call her, and she would tell us what to do. Growing up in a farming town, we always used natural ingredients.”

When he first came to the parish, he had never had his own kitchen. But a couple of months after his arrival, the parishioners held a parish festival with a baked-goods booth and had found a challenge from King Arthur Flour. “It seemed like a fun challenge,” he said, “so I put it together and posted the final product to Instagram, which then started a series of ‘monthly challenges’ which developed skills even further.”

When the Great American Baking Show put out calls for contestants in the winter of 2017, a parishioner said that Father Schnippel should apply. “I thought I don’t know what I am doing,” he said. “But I applied, and I got a call and got accepted. They flew us to England for the show. It was a great experience. I did not do so well. I was the second person eliminated. But it was lots of fun and it expanded my talents and knowledge.”

For the past several years, he has tried to turn cooking into a side ministry in his parish. He invites families and seminarians over for dinner. And for the school fundraiser, one of the auction items is a dinner cooked by Father. “This has upped my game,” he said. “It is a great way to bring people together.”

He noted that his favorite dish is whatever the next thing he is going to prepare. “I have a few standbys,” he said, “but I like the challenge of figuring out something new. But I have a favorite dessert, the Breton kouighn amann, a French pastry similar to a croissant and baked with salt and sugar rolled into it so it becomes a buttery caramel pastry that melts in the mouth.”

Note: Father Schnippel has his own blog and website: https://fatherschnippel.blog.


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Cinnamon Roll

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs

Using a dough hook, mix everything together in the bowl of a stand mixer until just combined. Let rest for 10 minutes to hydrate the dough. Knead the dough for 7 minutes until a soft, smooth, supple dough results. Put it back in the bow, and let rise for 1 to 2 hour, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, make the mixture.

Cinnamon and Sugar Filling Mixture

  • 7/8 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

Combine the cinnamon mixture. After the dough has proofed, roll it into three large (10 x 15-inch) rectangles. Cover with the cinnamon and roll into a log lengthwise.

Split logs down the center, lengthwise, to form six long strands of dough. Weave three together to make a braid, and repeat with the other three strands; form the two braids into a wreath by connecting the ends together and tucking any loose ends under the wreath. Let the dough proof until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the roll for about 22 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes, and cover with the icing ingredients to form a thick, pourable icing.


  • About 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 7/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Mix together and drizzle over the still warm wreath. Let cool and serve!