Bethany McCall may speak about bread all day lengthy. “Bread is my forte, the place my true ardour lies,” she says. That is excellent news for many who step by means of the doorways of Bent Willow Baking Co., McCall’s bakery in downtown Franklin, North Carolina, the place she sells her artisan sourdough, croissants, and focaccia. Opened two years in the past, the bakery has turn into a fixture of the neighborhood and a well-liked cease for vacationers traversing Western North Carolina.

McCall didn’t plan on changing into knowledgeable baker. She grew up in Franklin and found baking as a artistic outlet as an grownup. When her three youngsters grew to become school-aged, she determined she wished to open Bent Willow and started renovating a Nineteen Twenties dwelling constructed by her husband’s great-great-great grandfather, which already had a industrial kitchen. The ensuing modern-meets-vintage house—with rattan furnishings, loads of crops, and brass accents on the bar—is a tribute to the house’s historical past. “I’ve spoken with so many older members of the family who stated that [original owners] Bruce and Sue had been a lot about household and buddies, and so they had been at all times gathering round meals,” she says.

Earlier than she may formally open, although, McCall realized she wanted some assist. “I used to be sleeping thirty minutes an evening and baking all evening lengthy,” she says. She enlisted pastry chef Logan Kimsey, a cottage baker in Atlanta on the time, to maintain the pastry case filled with jam-filled Danishes, thick cinnamon rolls, candy and savory biscuits, and quite a lot of cookies.

Standout objects on the bakery are typically seasonal. The focaccia, for instance, comes topped with tomatoes in the summertime and caramelized onions and goat cheese within the fall. “We at all times attempt to be as aware in regards to the sourcing of our elements as we may be,” McCall says. Within the fall, the apple pie cookies particularly shine. The recipe, developed by Kimsey, is taken to the “subsequent degree” by brown butter, McCall says, which provides a toasty, nutty richness. On the store they’re made gluten-free, however dwelling bakers can use all-purpose flour in the event that they’d like.

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