Bread that deserves a standing ‘dough-vation’
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Anyway you slice it, nothing beats a crusty loaf of artisan bread fresh from a European-style bakery, especially a rustic sour dough. With a chewy crust, dense interior and rich taste, Miche Bread ($5.85) from Fendu Boulangerie is just that.
Though bread is usually cast in a supporting role — as a vehicle for sandwich fillings, a bed for butter or a sponge for sopping up what’s left on a plate — the round French-style loaf deserves a place in the limelight. Caramel undertones from whole wheat and rye flour and a pleasant tang from wild yeast are just a sampling of its repertoire.
The man behind the scenes is Fendu’s owner and long-time baker Niel Koep, and he takes pride in his craft. “Some people have a cat and a dog. I have a sourdough,” he says in jest referring to the live culture he uses to give the dough its lift.
Sliced and toasted, miche sings on its own. But if you want to get creative, try the toast topped with horse radish, creme fraiche and a slice of prosciutto ham or pancetta. Koep says the ingredients are an ideal counterpart for the bread’s sourness.
Another one of the bakery’s showstoppers is Pumpkin Bread ($8.75, medium). The seasonal item turned into a mainstay by customers’ request for an encore.
How does Koep suggest that people eat this this loaf? “With their mouths,” says the jocular baker. “It doesn’t need anything on it.” The bread’s nice balance of moistness, touch of sweetness and lightly spiced pumpkin is enjoyable enough on its own. “It’s great with coffee or tea, as well,” says Koep.
Pear Almond Tart ($2.85) is the darling of desserts. The European-style tart features a crisp almond cookie-like crust filled with almond cream and vanilla custard, and layered with thin slices of poached Bartlett pears. The trio of flavors performs well together.
Koep finds success in sticking to a script where the idea of simple things done well prevails. “That’s what gourmet is. It’s not mad science.”
Keep watching to see what’s in store for the bakery’s second act. An addition of a cappuccino bar in the beginning of next year is waiting in the wings.
2752 Woodlawn Drive
Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m