I walk into Barrio Bread in central Tucson, Arizona and the tiny place is suffused with the wonderful smell of just-from-the-oven loaves.
“Wow! This looks and smells like a fantastic bakery,” I say to no one in particular.
“No. It’s the greatest bakery in the universe,” a fellow customer corrects me.
Not going to argue with that.
It’s actually a little overwhelming, at first, scanning the shelves of artisan bread choices—about a dozen on any given day. On our visit, for example, there’s a Guadalajara-style birote (made with beer malt and lemon), a pan rustico, a khorasan, a rustic nine grain.
For help, I turn to a guy unwrapping tea towels from risen little loaves waiting to go into the oven. Turns out he’s the owner, Don Guerra, who started the business out of his garage in 2009.
He explains the breads are created with ancient baking techniques and locally grown heritage grains such as organic durum and hard red spring wheat, as well as more exotic einkorn and khorasan wheats. Some are leavened naturally or with a wild yeast culture. The result is exceptional bread with a chewy interior and great crusts.
We pick up a puffy einkorn loaf for breakfast toast and an apricot-cranberry pain levain for snacking; it disappears before we’ve driven a couple of blocks.
Thank God I don’t live nearby.
18 South Eastbourne Avenue, Tucson, Arizona
Tuesday-Friday 9 am-5 pm, Saturday 9 am-2 pm or “until gone”. Closed Sunday and Monday