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Breaking Bread: 4 Amazing Artisan Bakers In Asheville, North Carolina

“If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation.” – Regina Brett


A Artisanal Bakery

The Backstory

Working with dry flour is intriguing; on its own, it gives inspiration to what could be. When mixed with water, salt, and even olive oil, it becomes something. Something malleable - artisan bakers become the sculptors who create and design from memory. Each bread is shaped and baked with the utmost care, paying attention to weight, size, and moisture. They bake with purpose and intention, asking themselves if each loaf is fit for the masses—baking in coal-fired or professional bread ovens. Each with its distinct way of cooking the dough.


Bread oven and Baker

As a child, we ran a woodstove to heat the downstairs, always focused on maintaining balance. Adjusting when we fed the fire, managing the outdoor temperatures, and putting moisture back into the air as we burned the wood. The same goes for coal-fired bread; steeping coals to the correct temperature - adding a pot of water brings moisture to the environment just before the baking. Once the baker gets to know the environment, they have more control. Each baker brings their understanding and techniques with an artistic flare steeped in the traditions of their backstory.


Wood Stove

Underground Baking Company

The bakery opened in 2009, but August 2021 marked a special occasion for Lisa Hoffman and Matthew Hickman, owners of Underground Baking Co.(UBC) - the re-opening of the bakery. In March 2020, UBC closed to the public - shifting to online and wholesale orders during the pandemic. They run a double booth at the local farmers market in Asheville, selling weekly bread and loads of croissants weekly. They make a Pain Au Levain (French Style Sourdough) Wednesday through Friday. All bread is made with locally milled organic flour.


Handcrafted Bread

City Bakery

In early 2001, Patrick and Rose Dennehy took over City Bakery, a small footprint in downtown Asheville, baking high-quality artisan baked goods. It began with a Kemper mixer, holding 275 pounds of dough, and their 3-deck Bongard bread oven. Baking artisanal bread and other baked goods using bulk fermentation takes a bit longer but produces better flavor profiles and follows age-old traditions. Today, they run three bakeries and a bakehouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have an excellent bread list and a production schedule sorted by type/name. They make a traditional French Batard, Sourdough, and Challah.


Challah

French Broad Pantry

The French Broad Pantry in Asheville prides itself on crafting some of the most beautiful pastries in the market. Chef Dune Pierre Michel brings world-class training and cross-cultural experience to the kitchen. He begins baking with products grown using regenerative farming methods by procuring some of the best-milled products from Carolina Ground and Lindley Mills. He uses the freshest fruits to make pastry using ground vanilla bean pods, charcoal powder, and fresh carrot juices. He uses the best farm-raised products from Dry Ridge Farm. Dune and his team take the time to bulk ferment and produce country loaves, which he sells at three local farmers' markets. You can find them at Asheville City Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, and Black Mountain Tailgate Market.


French PAstry

OWL Bakery - Old World Levain

When Susannah Gebhart opened OWL Bakery in 2014, she knew it was her pathway, like when that voice in our heads leads toward something great, welcoming it into our lives. Susannah and her team bake bread and pastries daily, offering country sourdough, baguette, and others. On Fridays, they make Brioche, and on Sundays, they offer an ancient Heirloom Einkorn. She purchases grains from Farm & Sparrow, using heirloom stone-milled wheat and other flours. Of course, OWL also purchases from Lindley Mill and Carolina Ground.


Sourdough Bread











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