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The Dish: Sourdough from Arkansas Fresh Bakery

The Dish: Sourdough from Arkansas Fresh Bakery
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By Jarred Kibbey

This month’s piece will be a little different than the previous months. Instead of writing about a particular dish at a restaurant, I want to share with you a particular farmers market item and how I use it throughout the week.

While more people in Little Rock have likely had Arkansas Fresh Bakery’s bread before (they supply many local restaurants), the bread that they sell at the Hillcrest Farmers Market is unlike any you can get in a restaurant. In particular, the sourdough loaf from AFB is simply outstanding. I have never been a huge fan of bread, but when AFB started selling fresh baked loaves at Hillcrest Farmers Market for $5, I thought I would give it a try. Now I can’t pass their booth and not buy a loaf.

One thing that AFB has always done well is crusty bread, and the sourdough is no exception. It has a perfectly hard crust, but maintains a chewy center with the typical sourdough bite. These three characteristics allow for many creative (and not so creative, but delicious) uses in the kitchen.

Here is how I used the most recently loaf.

First, I made sandwiches. Specifically, BLT’s. The B, the L, and the T can all be found at neighboring booths at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. The only additional item needed is a healthy spread of Duke’s Mayo on the lightly toasted sourdough and you are in sandwich Nirvana.

BLT’s

I also really love using this bread as French toast. Nothing too fancy here. Just mixing eggs, milk, and some vanilla bourbon and letting the slices of sourdough soak up the mixture for about ten minutes before cooking them in a pan with melted butter. Slice up a nicely ripened peach, sprinkle on some powder sugar and serve. (Side note: I also like to use a little Grade B maple syrup)

French Toast

This left me with two heels. I decided to cut the heel in thin strip and use the leftover peppered bacon grease (because every true Southerner saves their bacon grease in a tin can) to fry them. I just heated the bacon grease up enough to crisp each side of the sourdough. When they were all golden brown, I removed them to a paper towel and realized they looked like French fries. And this is how the peppered bacon sourdough “fry” was born.*

Peppered Bacon “Fries”

So I would like to encourage everyone to get out and go to the farmers market while there is still plenty of fresh local foods and support our farmers. While you are there, buy a tasty loaf of bread and get creative (or just have a sandwich, you can never go wrong with a sandwich).

*And yes, I realize I just made a crouton, but it seems more like a hipster menu item if I call it a “peppered bacon sourdough fry.”