Set your alarms, people. Every day at 9 a.m., the skillful bakers at Deluxe Cakes & Pastries unload the ovens stocking their front cases with freshly baked French baguettes. They nail it every time and produce stunningly delicious, slightly tangy baguettes with a chewy crust of a beautiful bronze hue. If you want to feel like a true Parisian, order a baguette sandwich. They hit the cases by 10 a.m. once the bread has cooled and these simple sandwiches truly sing with minimal classic ingredients. Options include sopressata and lettuce, gruyere and butter, ham and gruyere, or a sesame baguette with brie and lettuce.
The crew at Caucho in Cedar Rapids are cranking out freshly made corn tortillas on the daily for both tacos and tortilla chips. The process involved in making tortillas (at least here at Caucho) is a little more laborious than you might expect. Using the ancient process of nixtamalization — boiling feed corn with lye or another high-alkalinity substance — the corn breaks down a bit, becomes more nutritious and flavorful, and more elastic. The kitchen team then grinds the corn on a lava stone to produce the masa flour and rolls out hundreds of tortillas daily for service.
The Everything Bagels from The Local Crumb are, well, everything. Delightfully seedy with a slightly shiny crust and chewy interior, these treats are worth hunting down. Owner Aaron Hall wholesales his bagels at both Rapid Creek Cidery and Trumpet Blossom in Iowa City but orders can be placed with him directly through his website, www.thelocalcrumb.com or at the Iowa City Farmers Market.