I dismount my bike in front of Bosque Baking Company’s small storefront; windows steamy, the aroma of freshly baked bread seeping from the cracks around the doorframe, the owners Jim and Stephen bustling behind the counter. I walk into the comforting space and am immediately enveloped with warm smells, sweet smiles and quiet conversation. Stephen ushers me over to his side, gives me a quick hug and explains what he is doing: kneading bread. I wash my hands and he hands me my own heap of dough to work with. It is somewhat meditative, the push and pull, push and pull of the sticky dough into a beautiful, smooth oval. A quick cut on the top of the loaf and it is popped into the fiery oven alongside an array of others.
Stephen wipes the flour from his hands and sits down on one of the stools adorning the place and begins to tell me how he got introduced to his craft in a small bakery in his hometown of Gettysburg, PA. Before settling in Albuquerque, Stephen moved around quite a bit, working in a wide range of bakery settings. During this time he befriended Jim, who he would later ask to join him as his business partner. The two began baking for the Downtown Growers’ Market and their following quickly grew, to the point they were having trouble keeping up with the demand. Feeling confident about their business, they took the leap and signed a lease on their current storefront at 922 Coal SW. Located on the edge of downtown, the bakery is a welcome addition to the area and draws customers from near and far.
With a lull in the conversation, Jim calls me to the other side of the open kitchen to help him prep the savory empanadas. We place flavorful carne adovada in a circle of buttery pastry, fold it in half and crimp the edges before pricking the surface with a fork. Jim slides the tray into the oven and picks up the conversation without missing a beat. I ask him how they define themselves as a “local” business, and he discusses the array of local flours that they use in their breads and baked goods. Jim also assures me that their lunch menu utilizes as much in-season, local produce as possible. It is always refreshing to talk to a local businessman who cares about the community and strives to support the artisans and businesses around him. Jim and Stephen make it obvious in every corner of their storefront how highly they value this outlook. Even the interior furniture of the bakery was built entirely by local craftsman Rocky Norton, as well as the bike rack outside.
As Jim and I talk, Stephen has been flittering around the shop, prepping lunch items, cleaning the counters, putting AJ Woods on the sound system, and watering the plants in the windowsill. The duo work well together, acting with purpose but maintaining a certain level of Zen that others may spend a lifetime trying to achieve. Bosque Baking Company is one of Albuquerque’s many local treasures, and a must visit when in the downtown area. The pair can also be found at the Corrales and Downtown Growers’ markets, or at their storefront (922 Coal Ave SW) Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, check out the Bosque Baking Company Facebook page, read Amy White’s Edible article about the duo, and watch this short film by local artist Johnny Gomez that follows the preparation of Bosque Baking Co.’s legendary green chile sourdough loaf.
-Posted by Zoey