BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD
Lauded local chef bakes up bread and pastry shop in Austin suburb
One of the Austin area's most anticipated bakeries is set to open in Dripping Springs, and the news is getting quite a rise out of local bread heads and pastry paramours.
Abby Jane Bakeshop, led by pastry chef and Austin restaurant industry veteran Abby Jane Love, will officially open January 21 at 16604 Fitzhugh Rd., after a reservation-only soft opening January 16-17.
The new bakery shares a space with local heritage grain supplier Barton Springs Mill, a pairing that was hardly half-baked. Love — a seasoned baker who cut her teeth at Austin restaurants Qui, Vespaio, and Dai Due — befriended Barton Springs Mill owner James Brown while still creating her pastry marvels at Dai Due in hopes of building a more symbiotic food relationship.
“Three years, a winding professional journey, and many bakes later, I tricked James into letting me hitch my little bakery wagon to his,” Love says on the Abby Jane Bakeshop website. “Now his new, gorgeous milling facility contains a new, gorgeous bakery where we get to work together on turning the most incredible flours into tasty products we are so proud to serve.”
In an all-too-familiar that’s-the-way-the-cookie-crumbles COVID saga, Love had to rethink her opening plans last year after the pandemic hit, opting to unroll the concept as temporary pop-ups, which gained the Abby Jane Bakeshop brand a loyal following of fans eager for a brick-and-mortar.
And the 2,500-square-foot confectionary boutique, which includes a 9-foot window into BSM’s mill room, doesn’t disappoint. Noting that working with heritage flours has changed the way she approaches baking, Love focuses on preparing breads and pastries created from heritage grains grown in Texas.
Abby Jane Bakeshop features a seasonally rotating variety of bread loaves, cookies, pastries, and even wood-fired pizzas on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Menu highlights include jam-stuffed scones, citrus cream layer cake, olive and seed-studded sourdoughs, whole-grain pumpernickel, and a buffalo chickpea pizza served with blue-cheese dressing. Pastry enthusiasts will definitely want to check out Love’s take on the classic French kouign-amann, which she’s calling the Queen P, due to its rich filling of sweet pecan paste and topping of nutty caramel.
Love’s local love extends to the beverage offerings as well, with the drink menu featuring loose-leaf teas from The Steeping Room and SRSLY hot chocolate. A full coffee bar will serve Wild Gift Coffee, and alcoholic options (Who doesn’t love a beer with their pastry?) include Texas Keeper Cider and Lewis Wines on tap and beer from Roughhouse Brewing, including its wit beer made with BSM’s Sonora flour.
“I want AJB to be a place where you can stop for an indulgence like warm croissants and giant cinnamon rolls or a quick, light salad nibble for lunch,” Love says. “It’s important to me to show that all this can be made of the goodness growing on our Texas grain farms, and I think we’re doing a darn good job of it.”
Abby Jane Bakeshop will be open 8 am to 4 pm Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 am to 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Guests can order at the counter, then head to outdoor picnic tables to nosh, as indoor dining is currently unavailable. Per further COVID-19 precautions, the bakery will limit the number of customers inside at the same time and is offering online ordering with contactless curbside pickup.