Perhaps the late iconic chef James Beard said it best: “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” He would know, having written 20 cookbooks and, along with Julia Child, having de-mystified French cuisine for America’s home cooks.
The retail bread market is a multibillion-dollar business in this country, and tearing off a chunk of that loaf are a growing number of specialty bakeries producing more artisanal breads than ever. Our local go-to’s for those include Les Baux (5090 Folsom Blvd., 916-739-1348; www.lesbauxbakery.com), Grateful Bread (2543 Fair Oaks Blvd., 916-487-9179) and the Bread Store (1716 J St., 916-557-1600).
Recently we discovered the excellent stone-baked pizza bread cooked in the wood-fired pizza ovens by Robert Masullo and his staff at Masullo Pizza (2711 Riverside Blvd., 916-443-8929; ww.masullopizza.com). Right now, it’s sold exclusively at Taylor’s Market (2900 Freeport Blvd., 916-443-6881; www.taylorsmarket.com).
Masullo shapes the focaccia-like loaves from pizza dough, baking them at high heat for about two minutes and delivering them to Taylor’s between noonish and 1:30ish p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. They’re seasoned with rosemary, olive oil and salt, and are fragrant, chewy and slightly charred ($2.99 each). If you appreciate good bread, you’ll love this.
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“Some customers take it home and put pizza toppings on it,” said Taylor’s market co-owner Danny Johnson (with wife Kathy).
How does it sell?
“Out,” said Johnson.
Does Masullo have plans to expand distribution?
“We’ve been talking to the Natural Foods Co-op and they seem interested,” he said. “It’s in evolution right now, but it probably won’t get too much bigger than that, given the physical limitations of our space. We’ll do the best to meet the demand, but I don’t want to compromise what we’re doing at the pizzeria.”
Meanwhile, you can taste the bread at the restaurant, as it’s served with the salads.