In 2002, after frequenting his fair share of Parisian boulangeries and patisseries, Nick Ambeliotis was inspired to open a bakery in his adopted state of Pennsylvania. About 10 years and several family vacations in Arizona later, Ambeliotis opened a similar artisan bakery in the Pinal County town of Coolidge, where he partners with a farmer to grow, harvest and mill heritage grains. “We had our first harvest in 2014 and have increased the amount every year,” he says.
Using a brick hearth oven hand-built in France, his crew crafts about 20 different varieties of slow-fermented bread, from rosemary olive oil and raisin challah to French baguettes and sesame semolina ($3.29-$9.99). “On an average day, we bake about 5,000 loaves,” Ambeliotis says. Some are dark and chewy, while others are soft and sweet. All are full-flavored and mighty habit-forming.
For Ambeliotis, “less is more,” and his breads reflect that philosophy. Many have only three ingredients – local-grain flour, filtered water and Italian sea salt. “We use a starter that’s almost 50 years old, and there’s no commercial yeast. It’s as natural as you can get,” he says. “You start with bags of flour, which are basically dust, and by the end of the day, you have these beautiful creations.” Find them at Whole Foods and AJ’s Fine Foods, and at many Valley restaurants and farmers’ markets.
226 S. Main St., Coolidge