FREDERICK — With the lights still on a half hour after the Styria Bakery and Restaurant’s scheduled closing, a woman walked in and ordered soups and sandwiches to take home.
While paying, she realized the bakery was already closed and apologized.
“Don’t worry about it,” co-owner Peter Kaiser said, smiling and encouraging the woman to return.
Occupying the large space left by what used to be a grocery store in Frederick’s Clark Plaza on Fifth Street east of Oak Street, Kaiser and business-partner Dieter Campbell are hoping that the appeal of hand-crafted loaves will take hold of Tri-Town residents and many of those who pass by on nearby Interstate 25 each day.
“It’s a health issue,” Campbell said. “I think people are becoming conscious” of the value of whole grains and unrefined flours.
And with the increasing popularity of farmers’ markets in the area — the pair has been selling bread and pastries at markets in Longmont and Boulder, among others, for the last three summers — Kaiser said many people are growing accustomed to driving a distance to find the particular products they demand.
The kitchen at Styria is enormous. An electric mixer can handle up to 500 pounds of dough, which is eventually divided to the point where the loaves can be finished by hand.
On busy baking days next summer, the men said, they should be able to turn out 5,000 pounds of dough, enough for about 3,500 loaves.
“For a (hand-crafted bread) shop, this is a big place,” Campbell said.
The list of breads offered is extensive: sourdoughs like Jewish rye and white Tuscan; and potato breads like foccacia and ciabatta. In all, Kaiser said, he expects to offer about 30 different styles of bread and pastry.
The name of the bakery is taken from the Austrian province where both men were born. The men did not know each other in Austria and came to the United States about 30 years apart.
Although Kaiser was a chef before arriving in the U.S. about five years ago, both men said baking is a relatively new passion that they learned from one of Campbell’s relatives in Utah.
The passion is obvious. Kaiser speaks disdainfully of the breads that generally line the shelves of supermarkets.
The flour used in such breads, he said, is refined to the point where “mostly the only thing left is calories.”
And while the bakers are working on developing a wheat-free loaf to cater to the demands of those sticking to currently popular diets, they said the long-term prospects for bread remain positive.
“I think these diet things come and go,” Campbell said. Meanwhile, the art of making bread continues even after it was developed thousands of years ago.
Business at the large restaurant and bakery has been steady, the men say. Rather than hoping for early crowds — and the possibility of them later disappearing — both emphasize that they are relying on word of mouth to gradually build the business.
Anthony Lane can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 226, or by e-mail at email@example.com.