One thing that has always been great about Austin is finding the hidden gems where you wouldn’t expect them. Flour is certainly one of them, a quiet artisan bakery located right where one wouldn’t first expect, upstairs from a thrash metal bar on Red River Street, the heart of Austin’s downtown music district.
Hope Williams and Greg Wilson are the founders of the unconventional commercial bakery. The pair recently set up shop in the 110 year-old building and have since been focused on the careful, honest process of producing delicious pastries and breads.
After going to the same private school in Midland, TX years ago and parting ways for many years, they found each other on Facebook and discovered that they had quite a bit in common.
Hope lived in Mexico for several years, and eventually found her way back to Texas, settling in Austin about 4 years ago. She had always wanted to have a bakery and went to ACC in Austin to learn the craft.
“The bread really became a passion. I learned to respect the process.” Hope said.
Greg has worked in IT for the past 15 years, where he said the idea of a bakery became attractive after working for so long in a sort of virtual setting. He admits that starting a bakery has been a learning experience.
“Having something substantive at the end of the process is really appealing for me,” Greg said. “The ovens have only been on 3 weeks, everything is new and a challenge.”
The techniques that Flour uses, such as allowing yeasts to naturally ferment in the open air, are designed to work with the natural characteristics of the ingredients, instead of trying rush the process and force them into submission.
“We’re not a bakery for everyone. We don’t take any shortcuts in our processes and our ingredients are the highest quality. It just takes so much time,” Hope said.
While we were there, Hope showed us how she makes the lime curd that Flour uses as a filling for some of their pastries (see below). Though the recipe is simple, the fresh, high quality ingredients and Hope’s careful attention to detail made for a wonderful treat.
Both Hope and Greg expressed their enthusiasm for seeking out high quality, local ingredients whenever possible.
“We’ve always been passionate about food sourcing and slow baking,” Hope said, “Finding Vital Farms was important for us. I grew up on a farm, I gathered eggs, and I can tell they’re good from the orange yolks.”
“If Vital Farms weren’t around, we’d probably be trying to raise our own chickens!” Greg joked.
Flour’s stellar goods are available to order through their website www.flourbakery.net, and will soon be available at Farmer’s Markets around Austin. Also, follow them on Twitter (@FlourAustin) to hear about opportunities to visit the bakery and test some of their newer treats.
Flour’s Incredible Lime Curd
-1/2 cup Sugar
-5 egg yolks
-1 stick butter
-Zest and juice of 4 limes
Combine half of butter, half of sugar, and all limes, bring to a boil.
Blend egg yolks with remaining sugar temper in and return to boil, stir in butter, chill.