Thursday, May 29, 2008

Au Naturel

The yeasty aroma of freshly baked artisanal bread, and exposed brick, surround me inside Fervere Bakery in Kansas City, Missouri's revitalized Westside neighborhood. Racks of rustic loaves flank the wall, and customers dip samples into herbed olive oil.

Owner, Fred Spompinato, has spent the last 7 1/2 years creating his over-sized, crunchy-crusted loaves using organic milled Kansas flour and a brick-limestone oven with a centuries-old French tradition. The only mechanized equipment that he and his two co-bakers use is a large mixer. Other tools of their trade include Belgian linen used in proofing and large wooden paddles that heft risen dough into the oven. While most of the world sleeps, they're hard at work creating incomparable loaves for appreciative customers who drive as much as half an hour to purchase and enjoy them.

Because Spompinato decided he would not be consumed by his business he only sells bread on Thursdays through Saturdays – until they run out. So you'll have to visit Kansas City to try Pain Complet, Ciabatta and Cheese Slipper, or Olive-Rosemary, Polenta and Grain Travel Breads. Fervere Bread is worth the trip.

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