Posted on 15 December 2009 by dubs
The Bread Store
1716 J Street, Sacramento
Words & Photo by Josselin Bassaldu
Driving east through Midtown, I was on my way. With my hair pulled up in a ponytail, a college sweatshirt on my back and a water bottle in my bag, I was determined to be prompt to photography class.
A long, late night of work and an early morning of class had the guttural depths of my belly begging for baked goodies. Luckily, I just “happened” to be driving in the lane nearest to The Bread Store and was able to pull over and appease the craving for a crunchy-topped bran raisin muffin. Prompt? Psssssht, I made like a Parisian and embraced a laissez-faire approach to time for a pastry.
Walking up to the cash register, I looked over and was enthralled with the beauty before me. Who knew a cold, bright morning would be the setting to one of “those” encounters?
Never expecting such a serendipitous situation, I made an acquaintance Nov. 5 that inspired me to share my story with my dear Submerge-ists.
Through the groggy beginning of one of those sleep-in-Saturdays, the wonderosity of oncoming winter winked from the center of the glass shielded display at visitors of The Bread Store, with the glistening golden of an icy, orange confection, never before seen.
The large, center-staged tray was filled with orange bread, the gentlemen behind the counter answered when customers inquired. Oh, but it wasn’t just some measly orange bread, it was Orange Cobblestone Bread with vanilla bean bourbon icing. A quick sample made me feel like a purchasing pushover; I decided I needed two goodies.
Orange has almost always been a flavoring that kids would choose only after the red flavor (cherry, strawberry) of candies, popsicles and gummi snacks were gone. And to me, orange has been a second-class flavor. This only slightly sweet orange bread was unique, causing me to consider the folly of my second-classifying ways.
For $2.25, the nearly inch-thick slice of Orange Cobblestone Bread was doughy, had a great crust and was topped with vanilla bean and bourbon icing. It was French bread-like, but doughier, crunchy and sweet in places. The icing topped it off. The top of the bread was textured with escaped bubbles of dough that hardened and offered that melt-in-your-mouth crunch that glazed fritters have, with that vanilla bean bourbon of an icing blessing.
This “baked good” was so difficult for my culinary mind to understand. The hybrid bread was a melding of different classifications of meals, techniques and expectations. It was bread, it was breakfast, it was dessert; it was sweet and not so sweet. Uni-cultural fusion baking?
I had to hit the streets and figure out this culinary conundrum. Back at the source, Bread Store employee of two and a half years Lauren Cassavoy was on site. She put me in touch with the man responsible, head baker Kevin Reynolds, but not before raving about how much she loved the bread and still had half a loaf at home.
A five-year veteran at The Bread Store, Reynolds has spent 20 years in the business of baking. The Tower CafÃƒÂ©, New Roma Bakery and River City Brewing company are just a few of the Sacramento spots contributing to Kevin’s culinary credentials.
As it turns out, the Orange Cobblestone Bread was the result of a happy—and ingenious—accident. Kevin had to do something with leftover orange zest and orange essence from The Bread Store’s orange cookies. Since he had some scraps of ciabatta bread dough, he threw it all together, baked it in a pound cake tin and iced it for consumption.
When he made and tasted his creation, Reynolds realized, “People are going to want that.” He then admitted, “I was just trying to use stuff.”
Reynolds has begun to have more creative control, Cassavoy told me. A new schedule establishes a rotation of featured baked goods each second, third and fourth Saturday. But Reynolds will get to work his magic on whatever he likes each first and fifth Saturday. If the Orange Cobblestone Bread was any preview of what Reynolds has in store, I recommend marking your calendars for a trip to The Bread Store the first Saturdays of the month.
There’s no telling when the Orange Cobblestone Bread will return. It would all depend upon whether or not he has the basic ingredients are on hand.
With orange being such an essential holiday fruit, the time seems right. With inquiries from lots of interested eaters (that means you, Sacramento!), Andy Smith and other folks calling the shots at The Bread Store just might see the benefits of baking this bread for Sacramentans more often.
Screw Atkins, everything about bread says love. Everyone could use more love—especially if it’s zesty and sweet, like Orange Cobblestone Bread.