There is a new bakery cooking in the Rosemary District, but this one is teeny tiny. Artisan Bread: A Micro-Bakery is the new brainchild of Louise Kennedy Converse, who is running the new endeavor out of her Artisan Cheese Company shop and showcasing the naturally fermented sourdough on a new menu.
“One of the things I have a passion for is bread,” says Kennedy Converse, speaking as emphatically about her new baking project as she does about cheese. She and her team have been experimenting with grains from around the country and finally settled on a flour from Utah.
In addition to testing the bread recipe, the shop is anticipating a new bread oven will be delivered within a week—a Rackmaster RM2020. “It’s made in the U.K., and I’m made in the U.K.,” the British-born Kennedy Converse says. According to her, there are only 10 of this type of oven in the U.S.
The new equipment will allow the team at Artisan Cheese Company to grow the micro-bakery to serve their loyal following. Kennedy Converse hopes to retail the bread in addition to featuring it on the shop's menu. The staff is currently baking one loaf at a time in a Challenger bread pan, which creates an ideal baking environment in a standard oven not made specifically for baking bread.
“Bread and cheese go hand in hand,” says Kennedy Converse, and she’s not wrong. The shop's “Melted Cheese” is an open-faced combination of three cheeses on toast. The bread has a crisp, deep brown exterior with a soft-but-chewy interior. The thick toast holds a generous draping of rich, gooey cheese, which is highlighted by a delicately sweet apricot jam. It’s hard to say who the star of the show is in this dish, because the ingredients work together beautifully. Brightly dressed greens from Homestead Hydroponic accompany the toast and cleanse your palate so that when you return to the cheesy goodness it’s as though you are taking your first bite.
Even as the cheese cools and loses its stretch, I can’t put it down. I’m full, but the flavors marry together so well that I’m addicted. It’s a simple dish, and simplicity requires impeccable execution.
Artisan Cheese Company is located 550 Central Ave., Sarasota. For more info, call (941) 951-7860 or visit the shop's website.