Taylor and Reagan Petrehn have a not so secret plan to bring back the neighborhood bakery in Lawrence. The brothers have spent the past year building out a former laundromat at 1900 Barker, which last weekend had its soft opening as 1900 Barker Bakery & Café.
“We were taking a loaf of bread that was almost too hot to hold and giving it to people,” Taylor Petrehn says. “That’s exactly where I want to be…where people couldn’t possibly get it any fresher.”
1900 Barker debuted last Friday – they’re going to have a series of soft opening weekends (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday) this month – in order to gradually roll out more from behind the counter and coffee bar. It will be coffee and pastry in the morning with the bread coming out of the oven around 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
“We want people to really experience the production side of the bread, to see the mix and see the sprouts go in, and see the bread loaded and unloaded from the oven,” Taylor Petrehn says of the space that features a large open coffee bar, subway-tiled walls and plenty of warm wood.
The bakery will sell three loaves for now – Petrehn would eventually like to have a rotating list of six breads. Their utility loaf, what Petrehn calls “toasted cheese sandwich bread,” is a naturally leavened hearth bread. The dough is made with a mixture of milled wheat (they’re looking to build their own mill on site or nearby in the future) and sprouted wheat.
“It’s got this nice dark red-hued crust and a nice soft open crumb inside,” Petrehn says. “You get this tang from the sprouts caramelizing in the oven. It’s really beautiful because you get the whole flavor of the wheat life cycle.”
The second bread is a seeded version of the utility loaf, which adds sunflower and toasted sesame seeds to the buckwheat, quinoa, sprouted rye and steel coat oats in the utility dough. The third, Petrehn’s favorite, is a pecan and raisin bread studded with golden and black raisins and pecans.
“We try and treat grain in the way that’s going to create the most flavor and is the most nutritious,” Petrehn says.
1900 Barker will also have pastries. The next few weekends they’ll feature their galettes – a pastry made with whole grain pie dough (a mix of spelt, whole rye and whole kamut). They’ll have a sweet and savory option. At the opening it was fresh cherries and cultured peach cream and a savory collection of bacon (from nearby Hank Charcuterie), caramelized onion, cultured cream and parmesan cheese. This week, Petrehn is considering something with gooseberries or a potato and garlic scape creation.
The coffee program is just as mindful as the bakery side thanks to Taylor’s brother and partner Reagan – a former barista at Parisi.
“Our primary focus is sweetness,” Reagan Petrehn says. “I want to find a bean that is actually in season and have an exciting range of flavors.”
The coffee bean selection will be rotated on a quarterly basis with the seasons. They currently have beans from Heart Roasters out of Portland, Oregon, and the Supersonic Coffee Company from Berkeley, California.
The coffee menu is meant to be approachable ranging from espresso-based drinks – Petrehn will pull two kinds of shots daily – to a sweet vanilla drink. They don’t have an ice maker yet, but they intend to figure out iced coffee later this summer. Petrehn is also experimenting with house nut milks, almond and cashew, to feature in their coffee drinks.
“While you wait for the bread to come out, you have a cappuccino,” Petrehn says. :That’s what I would do.”
The plan is to have 1900 Barker open for the next several weekends only. And once the staff has been trained and some systems are in place, the Petrehn brothers envision being open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.[Image via Facebook: 1900 Barker]