Some of my earliest, fondest memories are of passing over U.S. Highway 75 on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. The reason wasn’t the not-yet-existent Mockingbird Station or the La Madeleine that’s still there. It’s something much simpler.
The smell of baking bread is something that goes through your nose and fills your body with comfort – and it’s something you don’t want to let go.
Of course, the Mrs. Baird’s bakery that was once on that southwest corner is long gone. But what still gives me that warm feeling on an afternoon drive is a local bakery that opened up on my route home not too long ago.
Village Baking Co. is, unfortunately, no real local secret. It isn’t terribly packed, but it surely is getting attention with the growing number of farmers markets its products are getting into. Step in the University Boulevard shop on a Saturday morning and you’re greeted with a smile from someone behind an island topped with baked goods, but you’ll be waiting a bit to order your sweet breakfast.
For that meal, the scone is a safe bet. Any flavor available that day is lively enough to keep you full for the morning. The cranberry scone has a subtle flavor that comes out in every bite of the bread that has a crunchy exterior and soft, dense inside. It’s delightful, warm, and sweetly satisfying.
Another expected option on this wooden table of baked assortments are croissants: plain, au chocolat, and ham and cheese. In my visits there, the ham and gruyere croissant was the most popular order by most people around me. I always go for the pain au chocolate. This one is fine, but doesn’t strike me as terribly fresh, even as it takes me to a sidewalk cafe in France or to any other scenario that evokes French delicacies.
There’s a crisp exterior; the inside is soft and delicate, but it’s a bit dry, as is the tiny bar of chocolate that runs throughout it. I’ll go for a ham and cheese next time, but the plain croissant does come out in a manner that seems fresh – just as you would expect from the aroma that fills this space. It’s smooth on the inside, subtly sweet, and one just won’t be enough.
But it’s not all sweetness in this tiny bakery. Its breads are worth the carbohydrates, too. The white sandwich rolls couldn’t be softer: they’re simple, but the freshest you’re going to get around here.
I’ll surely try a baguette on my next visit. Sitting in a wicker basket nestled in the east-facing window, they look like perfection, and they sound like they must be fresh. On a recent visit, a customer asked for one of the tall baguettes – the woman behind the large island reached up for one – “Oh! Still hot!”
Really? I need to get myself one of those.
Village Baking Co.
Location: 5531 E. University Blvd. in Dallas, 75206
Contact: 214-265-1170, villagebakingco.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
Service: friendly and fast
Ambiance: naturally-lit and spacious inside, picnic tables full of breakfast-eaters outside
Payment information: major credit cards accepted
Want to catch them at a farmers market? It shouldn’t be too hard. This Saturday, you can find them at those for Coppell, McKinney, White Rock, Collin County, Saint Michaels, Rockwall, Frisco, Little Elm and Keller.