Indigenous Ingredients and Inspired Baking Mastery, at Gusto Bread

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The pleasure of a well-made kouign-amann — a French pastry from the city of Douarnenez, perfected in bakeries throughout Brittany — is in that tickle of salty butter layered all through the laminated roll, set towards the sweetness of the yeasted dough and the darkish caramel that covers it.

At Gusto Bread, in Lengthy Seaside, the savoriness is intensified by sourdough and a dose of nixtamalized corn. The mixture is sufficient to utterly recalibrate the flavour and texture, to shift the pastry’s fealty away from France and to reposition it as a Mexican candy bread, a pan dulce. This requires a brand new identify, no?

The Nixtamal Queen is scrumptious, each as a pastry that leaves you glad and sticky-fingered, and as a problem to the concept of Eurocentric authority within the bread and pastry world.

Arturo Enciso and Ana Belén Salatino run that uncommon sort of bakery, unrestrained by conventions or nostalgia, however with a reverence for Mexican and Indigenous traditions. Their xocolatl emphasizes the deliciousness of the cocoa bean in its most simple and historical kind, the darkish chocolate crushed and whisked into sizzling water till it dissolves virtually utterly and solely a faint grain stays.

The drink shouldn't be creamy, precisely, however it's full-bodied and head-filling — a chocolate bar you tip again. Heat and undiluted, the flavors open, shifting from floral to fruity to tangy in the midst of a single sip.

Gusto Bread, which opened in Lengthy Seaside in 2020, is a part of a constellation of panaderías, together with Panadería Rosetta in Mexico Metropolis and Barrio Bread in Tucson, Ariz., which have reclaimed the ideas of craft baking — conventional fermentation strategies, heirloom grains and native, seasonal components — away from European traditions, which by no means held unique rights within the first place.

As with that Nixtamal Queen, Mr. Enciso bakes all of his naturally leavened breads and pastries not with yeast, however with a pancake-batter-like sourdough starter fed with bread flour — his masa madre — and works with a wide selection of grains, lots of them grown in Mexico or California: wheat, corn, amaranth, rye, spelt, buckwheat and rice.

Mr. Enciso, who was raised in California by mother and father from Mexico, realized to bake comparatively lately, in 2013, utilizing a e book by the baker Richard Miscovich and a wood-fired oven in his yard.

As his interest grew to become extra severe, in 2017, Mr. Enciso and Ms. Salatino moved into a brand new residence a number of blocks away the place they began a cottage bakery out of their front room and located an keen viewers within the neighborhood.

Vacation breads and each day specials have additionally made Gusto one thing of a vacation spot. Via the tip of October and main as much as Día de los Muertos, the bakery sells sourdough pan de muerto, brushed with syrup because it comes out of the oven and rolled in cinnamon sugar.

And this previous Three Kings Day, Gusto offered miniature Roscas de Reyes — rosquitas! — the candy dough full of guava, cranberries and almonds.

Although I’m not completely gained over by the whole-grain cookies made with buckwheat and spelt, the fragile walnut polvorón and whole-grain concha, coated in cocoa-stained butter, are a pleasure.

Gusto’s pudgy pan de maiz, roughly textured with corn milled within the kitchen, and candy with honey, is fantastic plain. I additionally like to interrupt it into bowls of beans and greens drizzled with chile oil, mushing a number of crumbs into the broth, the place they maintain agency, and soak, and make the meals I’m consuming even higher.

The California loaf I introduced residence lately from Gusto had a darkish, skinny crust and a phenomenal open crumb, however with a good, sound construction (not so gaping with holes that it was unimaginable to unfold with butter). Baked with regionally grown Yecora Rojo, a tough pink spring wheat, this bread saved me firm for an entire week, each directing and informing my meals.

At first I loved its chew and malty, mellow tang simply plain, with butter and salt, subsequent to a pile of salad. Because it staled, I toasted items underneath the broiler and dipped these into runny egg yolks. I coated some with sautéed garlic greens, walnuts and a spoonful of Gusto's habit-forming salsa negra — sizzling and fruity with morita chiles and candy with garlic confit.

Most lately, I tore and fried the final of it in olive oil, then constructed a kind of panzanella utilizing pomelos, mushy herbs and tinned smoked trout. At each stage, in each state, the bread had one thing to present.

I let you know all this as a result of it’s not sufficient to say that the bread was good. As a result of in contrast to a restaurant, a extremely nice bakery will fold itself into your life in fairly an intimate manner, in the event you let it. Since you don’t simply go to a bakery, you additionally deliver it residence.

Gusto Bread, 2710 East Fourth Road, Lengthy Seaside, Calif.; 562-343-1881;

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