Upper Crust 5

Louisville’s Moxie Bread Company is On the Rise

The dictionary definition of bread is “food or sustenance.” Any thesaurus lists similar life sustaining synonyms as well. Therefore, by definition, bread = nourishing food.

Clearly, this floury fare has earned a lofty position in the arsenal of modern eating. A veritable gastronomical giant. Indeed, bread has been around for a very, very long time. It’s thought to have originated 30,000 years ago and is likely the reason humans gave up the hunting-foraging lifestyle.

Nomads no more, people have been baking and breaking bread for millenia.

Despite major advances in commercial baking and packaging, many people today are finding they prefer a more old-school, artisinal product and the simple, wholesome ingredients that go along with it.

Enter Moxie Bread Co., Louisville’s newest bakery darling. Situated in an historic Victorian home on downtown Main Street’s most visible corner, Moxie came out swinging last summer and has been a heavyweight contender ever since.

Moxie, so named for its courage and spunk, features European style baking with old world practices. Included in those is on-site flour milling and a slow fermentation process that imbues the breads with a extra nourishment and a heartier taste, while making the bread more easily digestible.

The bakery was founded by Andy Clark, who honed his baking skills in prior jobs at Whole Foods Market and Udi’s Bakery, among others. He started Moxie because he craved the freedom to impulsively create new and unique offerings in an intimate setting. This self-described “extroverted introvert” says he likes to be “in the background watching beautiful things happen.”

A look around the place reveals the bakery’s intentions to bring a rustic and simple feel to the whole undertaking. From creaky floorboards to the antique potbelly stove standing sentinel in the front dining room, everything here feels timeworn and Old World authentic.

Bakers racks and the counter display are brimming with fresh loaves and baguettes: Farmhaus Whole Wheat, Barley Oat, Ciabattas, and a couple of Ryes – some loaves swelling to the diameter of large hubcaps and priced at $3-$8 per loaf.

The bakery is open for breakfast and lunch and features a unique assortment of pastries and savory goodies hailing from around the world, including a very authentic bialy, a lesser-known relative of the bagel. Daily offerings change, but typically include muffins, bread pudding and cookies that somehow manage to be deliciously chewy and crispy at the same time.

But the pièce de resistance, a raison d’etre perhaps, of this establishment is a little buttery pastry called the Kougin Amann. About the size of a dinner roll, it features flaky croissant-like layers topped with carmelized sugar giving it a burnished golden top. “It’s a really delicious base from which you can kind of do anything,” Clark says. Variations include peaches, blood orange and chocolate, persimmon, and recently candied yam. This pastry traces its origins to the Brittany region of France and is found in only a handful of bakeries in the U.S.

Moxie also offers a lunchtime selection of sandwiches and recently added soup to its menu. And not to be overlooked by the din and delight of all the baked goods, Moxie features a full cafe-style menu of coffees and teas. With a new full-time barista and locally sourced beans, Clark is very proud of how far their coffee offerings have come since opening. Hint: go “off-menu” and order the Ganache Mocha, which is made with Colombian dark chocolate.

If you visit on a Saturday at lunchtime you can catch some live piano. At other times, music is always encouraged. Grab a guitar or banjo off a hook on the wall and jam. Or just chat with the remarkably welcoming and knowledgeable staff.

“What we’ve done here is create a community hub, a hearth where you can go and warm your feet,” Clark says. “My dream was that it would be a place where people could hang out, talk to each other, meet each other. That has really happened in spades and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

The Details:

Moxie Bread Co.

641 Main Street