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Photo: Sean M. Peters

El Camino Baking Co. Owner Ryan Morgan Tries Out Sicilian Pizza Recipe

College Hill is now home to El Camino Baking Co., which, after several weekends of what it described in an Instagram post as a “low-key dry run,” is now open for regular bakery/coffee shop hours from August 24. .

The bakery is owned by Ryan Morgan, who has come to national attention as owner and head baker of Sixteen Bricks, and pastry chef Megan Ketover, who has made a name for herself in the industry as a chef. executive pastry chef for Boca and, more recently, Khora and Hart & Cru. It will be the first time Morgan has opened a bakery with retail options instead of the wholesale business he is used to running at Sixteen Bricks.

“It’s very nerve-wracking to realize that you’ve never had an outlet before,” Morgan says. “I run a pretty good sized wholesale operation, but it’s just to get all these other human movements browsing – they really want a lot of attention.”

Morgan isn’t sure how he’ll transition into direct customer interaction – the baker is well known for his personable way of communicating which some say translates incredibly well into the straightforward way he cooks.

“I’m going to be canceled before it’s all over,” he said between laughs. “They’re gonna be like, ‘this fucking dude is mean!'”

As long as the quality of its bakery products maintains its level of excellence, this should not be a problem. In the end, don’t we all want a good loaf of bread more than a simpering baker?

For those familiar with the College Hill food scene, El Camino operates out of the building once occupied by Red Rose Jems Pizzeria. El Camino serves coffee as well as all of its carbon-centric offerings and the store is set to add pizza to the menu in the near future once they have constructed the rest of their building, which will include a dining room. to eat. The bakery has not yet set a date for the launch of its pizza menu.

Click to enlarge El Camino Baking Co. is located in the former Red Rose Jems Pizzeria in College Hill.  - Photo: Sean M. Peters

Photo: Sean M. Peters

El Camino Baking Co. is located in the former Red Rose Jems Pizzeria in College Hill.

“It’s going to be Neapolitan, for sure,” Morgan says of the style of pizza he’s going to tackle. “I don’t think it’s going to be better than St. Francis [Apizza]but it will be very different.

Neapolitan pizza is characterized by its simple ingredients and thin, airy crust – a not unusual choice for a baker whose fermented pizza dough is supposed to be the highlight of the dish.

As soon as it opens, the bakery offers an assortment of pastries – think seasonal fruit tarts, croissants and other delicacies – and for bread, there’s cardamom and apricot bread made with ancient grain flour from khorason, country bread (French sourdough), schiacciata (Tuscan flatbread similar to focaccia) made with Yocora Rojo flour, “Super Seed” whole wheat breads and baguettes and spelled pretzels. The menu rotates because, as Morgan says, El Camino gives him the ability to make bread he wants to bake, not what his wholesale clientele demands.

“I ran a big bakery and couldn’t really focus on the things that made me very happy,” Morgan says. “Baking and creating breads was once something that made me exceptionally happy. And then over the years, working with chefs, you know, you do what makes them happy.

Morgan has set up his stone mill in the El Camino storefront so passers-by can get a glimpse of how grain is turned into flour.

“It’s on a stage and it’s kind of enclosed like an aquarium, so the dust doesn’t go everywhere,” Morgan says. “I can just hang around in there and grind flour and look like a circus act.”

Click to enlarge Bakery owner Megan Ketover bakes pastries at El Camino Baking Co. - Photo: Steve Paszt Photography

Photo: Steve Paszt Photography

Bakery owner Megan Ketover bakes pastries at El Camino Baking Co.

Morgan’s bread is popular with consumers thanks to its adherent use of locally grown wheat – not necessarily local, but native to Kentucky. For this reason, he claims his bread is superior to commercially available bread made from imported and overly processed flour.

“I can keep prices low by giving people real food,” he says. “It tastes better, it has better nutritional value, there is no waste because every part of the wheat berry that I put in is ground into a powder and made into bread that you eat. It gives you nutrition and fiber and minerals. It makes you poop and it makes you feel energized and it doesn’t weigh you down.

Fresh bread is in high demand on El Camino and runs out quickly, so if you’re planning on buying a loaf, be sure to arrive early.

El Camino Baking Co., 5915 Hamilton Ave., College Hill. Info: instagram.com/el_caminobakingco.

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