OWL Bakery in Asheville, NC
Asheville, North Carolina may be known for the Biltmore Estate (the largest privately owned house in the United States) but it’s also the home of OWL Bakery – a European-style bakery that specializes in pastries, handmade breads, salads, quiches, coffee, and teas.
Located in a small white cottage in West Asheville, just a few miles from the city center, OWL Bakery is not a vegan or vegetarian bakery, but a place that welcomes and caters to all types of foodies. What draws everyone to this incredible bakery, is the quality and flavor of the food, which is made using mostly locally grown ingredients.
OWL stands for Old World Levain so it only seems natural for a plant-based eater to focus on the bread, which is incredible, amazing, delicious, and truly some of the best I’ve ever had. On my first visit, my expectations were not that high as the glass showcases displayed an array of croissants, brioche, “tartelettes,” tea cakes, shortbread, and buns that would have set my heart swirling 10 years ago, but I was advised to persevere. So, I did.
I happened to be at the counter at noon right when the Country Sourdough came out of the oven. The smell of fermented yeast took hold of me and I felt like I won the lottery when I was handed a warm loaf in a brown paper bag. With a medium brown crust, a moist interior with yeasty holes and an earthy sourdough flavor, the Country Sourdough won me over completely. Made with organic flours, rye, and buckwheat groats, toasted and milled in-house, the Country Sourdough is a daily staple so make sure your visit is between noon and 1 pm, when the fresh loaves come out of the oven.
On my second visit, I took my husband with me on a Sunday morning. While he enjoyed a flaky croissant, I ordered a piece of toasted Porridge Pan Loaf bread with jam. And, then I ordered another because this bread was so delicious, I just had to have more. Crunchy on the outside and moist inside, Porridge Pan Loaf bread is made with oatmeal, barley, and buckwheat porridge, flax and sunflower seeds. It’s porridge in bread form!
On my third visit, I bought loaves of Porridge Pan Loaf bread and also Squirrel Bread, a wheat-less, vegan loaf of bread made with oats and psyllium husks, laden with seeds and almonds. Heavy, moist and crunchy, this bread is dense with flavor and texture. I since learned that a Squirrel Bread is usually loaded with nuts and seeds (makes sense, right?) and is worthy of a cheek stuffing (I definitely agree). This one hits the mark. Delicious plain or toasted, Squirrel Bread is a super nutritious scrumptious bread worthy of your plate.
OWL Bakery also makes traditional yeasted baguettes, Raisin Flax Pan loaves, Sesame Spelt Pan loaves, Whole Wheat Walnut Batards, Seeded Whole Wheat Batards, Rye bread, Rye Pumpernickel Boules, 100% Whole Wheat Boules, Ciabatta, and more. Check out the website (www.owlbakery.com) for the daily rotation of breads. Also, open for breakfast, lunch and light fare throughout the day. Located at 295 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC (828-785-1770). Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 8 am – 6 pm and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 am – 9 pm.