Time is of the Essence at Nashoba Brook Bakery
At Nashoba Brook Bakery, time is everything. For almost 16 years, the bakery has been producing bread the old-fashioned way: by hand, using a slow-rise technique.
The company believes “anything worth having is worth waiting for” – a mantra that is true not only of the bread but also of the business itself, which is the result of a life-long friendship between owners John Gates and Stuart Witt. Although the two took very different career paths – John worked in land conservation while Stu became a baker – they remained in touch over the years. Then in 1998, long after they first teamed up as co-captains of their high school football team, the pair joined forces again to open Nashoba Brook Bakery in West Concord.
Today, John manages the business administration while Stu heads up the bread kitchens, which run virtually non-stop to produce 6,000 loaves daily. Each one, whether it’s the popular potato-based Pugliese or the classic sourdough, is a little labor of love, handcrafted by a team of highly skilled bakers. “We like to say that we’re bringing it from our heart to your home,” John explains.
Although most of Nashoba Brook Bakery’s bread is distributed to restaurants, caterers and retailers in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, a good amount is also sold at the company’s friendly café, which is located right next to the bread kitchens on Commonwealth Avenue.
Despite being set back from the street and slightly hidden, the bakery welcomes a steady stream of customers through its doors each day. Visitors treat themselves to gourmet sandwiches as well as salads, soups, scones and other goodies. Of course, people also come in for loaves of bread to take home with them. There are 14 different kinds on offer, although not all are available daily.
Having brought their bread to past editions of the Boston Local Food Festival, John and his team are looking forward to this year’s event in September. “The idea of local is at the very core of who we are,” he says, explaining that their products are “inherently local” because they’re made without preservatives. The bread, which lasts only a few days, is meant to be enjoyed almost immediately.
And no doubt, it usually is. John says that their customers are a loyal bunch, and it’s easy to see why. The bread is tasty and satisfying with just a bit of butter or olive oil, although it may inspire you to get creative too. If so, Stu suggests recreating one of their popular café sandwiches that combines sweet and savory flavors.
The unnamed sandwich uses “Harvest,” a whole wheat bread made with pecans, walnuts, apricots, figs and candied ginger. Spread some honey mustard on the bread and top it with slices of Vermont cheddar cheese, Granny Smith apple and arugula. It’s a simple but flavorful combination that will add a bit of Nashoba Brook Bakery flair to your lunchtime routine.
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