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The Kentucky Millstone: Sitting Down With Lori Himmelsbach

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” - John Muir

Lori Himmelsbach

The Kentucky Millstone

If you drive down Mill Street through Butler, Kentucky, on any given day, you will smell fresh sourdough bread and morning buns baked with love from Lori and Tom Himmelsbach’s bakery, The Kentucky Millstone. Coffee is on, and doors open by 7 am, ready for commuters and morning traffic headed off to work and school.  As you step through the door, carefully placed on the wall just across from the entrance is a positive and thoughtful reminder: “There is something to always, always, always, be thankful for.” A heartfelt thought to begin our days with a bit of gratitude. 

The Kentucky Millstone Morning Buns

As you walk up to the bakery counter, look to your left and give a wave;  Lori or Tom might be baking sourdough bread with beautiful ears. That’s the extra crunchy flap of crust that develops on the bread while baking—the one we love to tear off and eat with some olive oil or butter. Don’t forget to grab a mug on your right because we all love to start with a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Tom only roasts the best beans for their cafe operations, and it’s fresh! I wonder if they roast and brew coffee for the farmer’s markets?  Bring your insulated mug, and they’ll fill it up for your commute to work. Grab a Country Ham Sandwich with their housemade rolls for those longer drives to Cincinnati or Louisville. The morning buns are gorgeous and a local favorite. 

The Kentucky Millstone

Pop-up Dinners 

Don’t forget to ask about the monthly pop-up dinners she carefully curates for her friends and neighbors. Make sure to get your name on the sign-up list quickly. Tables go fast in town, and Lori wants everyone to join in on the experience of a “Chef’s Choice” meal. The wines to pair with your beautiful dinner are just above the mugs at the front of the bakery counter. Good food and conversation with friends and family is a great way to spend a weekend night at The Kentucky Millstone. The cafe holds 18, and they offers two seatings, the first at 5 pm and the second at 7 pm. Tickets are $40, see their website for upcoming events. They hold their annual holiday dinner on December 16th, and the New Year’s Eve dinner is scheduled too. The Cafe is open Thursday - Sunday, 7 am - 2 pm. They are also open from 5 pm to 6:30 pm on Fridays.

The Kentucky Millstone Focaccia

Milling Practices 

Lori and Tom mill grain and partner with Branstrator Farm in Clarksville, OH, for Red Wheat and Rye.  Jon Branstrator is the fifth generation caretaker to his family’s farm; they celebrate 200 years of family farming and growing grain. Soil health and regenerative farming are essential to Jon and other grain farmers practicing these principles.  The Kentucky Millstone uses an Osttiroler brand grain mill; they run it onsite at the cafe, and everything is always fresh and hand-curated.  Hand-selecting grain for beautiful loaves of bread and pastries is a philosophy in practice; Lori plans and distills down to the most intimate details of running her bakehouse. Her favorite bread to bake is Foccacia, using the best olive oil and freshly harvested rosemary; she just loves the earthen notes and crispy crust.

The Ostermiller

Farmer’s Markets & Community Education

Lori and her team participate in two farmers' markets.  The Covington Farmer’s Market is on Saturdays from 9am-1pm. They also attend a Wednesday night event called the Fort Thomas Farmers Market at the Fort Thomas Mess Hall from 3pm-6pm weekly. She continues beyond running her business and pop-up events and diligently passes down the knowledge and trade of starting your own bakery stand and operation. 

Branstrator Grain

Lori takes cooking school one step further and adds the depth of baking and business management; both are important for a successful trade. During the course, you work one-on-one with Lori, baking artisan sourdough products, pastries, and English Muffins while planning bakehouse operations and immersing yourself in sales and community connections. Be sure to check her course schedule for bread and pasta making.

The Kentucky Millstone Pasta making class

Early Experiences In Baking 

Lori is a trained chef and professional baker by trade, cooking and restaurant skills run in her family.  Her first book purchase was a healthy desserts cookbook, and then later in life, she created programs to train others how to bake. Lori worked with her younger brother for over five years at his restaurant, MozzaPi, in Louisville, Kentucky. She supported every aspect of the restaurant, taught bread baking (Artisan Bread Camp), and participated in running a family business. Later, by 2019, she was eager to return to her log cabin in Butler with a goal in mind - to bake some bread! She didn’t anticipate the opportunity that came knocking, the one to build her own operation from the ground up, and she did just that.

Dog Ears - Kentucky Millstone

Today, Lori and Tom support a beautiful community of people in Butler, making delicious food and baked goods for hard-working folks. If you are ever on a road trip, heading through Cincinnati, Louisville, or Lexington - take a diversion toward Highway 27, and just down the way from the Licking River sits The Kentucky Millstone Cafe and Cooking School. Drop in, ask for Lori and Tom, and get some of that Focaccia and Sourdough with the Dog Ears to boot! 

Kentucky Millstone

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