Classic Bakery brings delicious, healthy breads to downtown Liberty Hill
By SHELLY WILKISON
Flavia Barton looks for healthy foods that taste good together.
Then, with a touch of spice and occasionally a little sweetness, she combines it all together and the result is scenting downtown Liberty Hill with the delightful aromas of fresh-baked bread, cookies, brownies and cinnamon rolls.
Classic Bakery opened last week at 100 Myrtle Lane, Suites D-E, but Mrs. Barton has been baking fresh breads and desserts for area farmers’ markets for four years. She and her husband, Robert Barton, live in Georgetown with their seven-year-old son, Max. But with the growth of their business, the family chose Liberty Hill as the site for a storefront and kitchen because they found it to be the best “small business-friendly environment” in the area.
“The City of Liberty Hill was so easy to work with, very helpful,” said Mrs. Barton, adding that start-up costs and permitting fees in their hometown of Georgetown were out of reach.
On Monday, the ovens in the gluten-free kitchen were baking spinach bread, different varieties of baguettes, and loaf after loaf of sweet breads and sandwich breads. The smells of homemade bread filled the street.
“When we set up at a farmers’ market, a line forms in front of the booth,” said Mrs. Barton.
“I love to cook and I love trying new things,” she said.
Born and raised in Brazil, Mrs. Barton earned a degree in economics from a university there. Her mother owned a business and it was her mother’s dream for her daughter to one day join her and take over the family business. Instead, she came to California where she worked two years as a waitress in a mediterranean restaurant.
“I was amazed with all the tastes, and the freshness of everything. That (experience) motivated me to cook,” she said.
She met Robert Barton in California and the couple married and moved their family to Texas five years ago. It was about that time that they learned their son, then age two, had an allergy to gluten.
Mrs. Barton said he suffered from frequent stomach aches and other digestive problems, and after extensive testing, doctors said he could be allergic to gluten. “I didn’t know what that (gluten) was,” she said.
Mrs. Barton began researching gluten, and found a group of mothers that met regularly in an Austin public library. The group shared experiences with gluten allergies, and exchanged recipes. While Mrs. Barton’s son is not autistic, some of parents believed foods made with gluten were contributing to their child’s autism.
She started buying gluten-free products at the grocery store. While her husband complained about the prices, they also found most of the foods to be tasteless, she said.
“Most of it was trial and error,” she said of her quest to create healthy and tasty foods for her family. When she was successful at developing recipes her family enjoyed, her son’s digestive issues went away.
“We were gluten-free when we started (the business), and she (Mrs. Barton) does it better than anyone. She thinks about the freshest ingredients, and most who try them (gluten-free breads) are pleasantly surprised,” Barton said. “She incorporates fruits and vegetables. Not only do they reinvent natural sweetness, they keep the breads moist.”
When her mother-in-law from Sun City began tasting her gluten-free breads and cookies, she encouraged Mrs. Barton to participate in the Sun City Farmers Market in Georgetown. Mrs. Barton said it was the first time she had been to a farmers market, but immediately discovered a niche there with her product. Since that time, she has expanded her farmers market sales to Wolf Ranch and to the Church of Christ, both in Georgetown, as well as Lakeline Mall.
Among the most popular breads she sells at farmers markets are those made with carrots, beets and squash, and the bread made with green apples, maple syrup and butterscotch. Sweet potato bread with pecans is also a favorite during the fall months. All are gluten-free.
Classic Bakery offers seasonal breads featuring fruits and vegetables in season, and each month the bakery has a bread of the month.
Mrs. Barton said she uses only locally-grown products in her bread, and typically obtains them from fellow vendors at the Georgetown area and Lakeline Mall farmers markets. At the end of each market day, she exchanges her remaining bread with vendors who have fruits and vegetables left unsold.
She also makes homemade, gluten-free pizza crusts with and without olives, which sell out within a short time after the markets open every week.
But perhaps the top draw to Mrs. Barton’s booth at farmers markets, which is sure to be as popular among her new Liberty Hill customers, is the Brazilian Cheese Bread. The rolls are flour free, yeast free and sugar free, crunchy outside and chewy inside stuffed with Parmesan cheese. Mrs. Barton said that in Brazil, the bread is enjoyed with salads, or for breakfast with coffee.
Mrs. Barton stressed that Classic Bakery isn’t just a gluten-free kitchen. There’s something for every taste and every diet.
“But things have to have nutritional value or I don’t know how to do it,” she said.
Mrs. Barton has several friends with cancer, and she prefers to cook foods without ingredients known to contribute to their health problems. She added that she uses no refined sugars in any of her products.
Also in the bakery, customers will find fresh kale juice, which Mrs. Barton refers to as a “super food” because of its high nutrional value.
“Her cooking is artistic,” said Barton. “She enjoys finding the artistic things in food.”
Look for the possible addition of an outdoor eating area next to the bakery in the coming months and possible additions to the menu, including pizzas and paninis made fresh in the bakery’s mobile wood-fired oven.
Classic Bakery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Look for the Bartons’ fresh-baked breads at the Sun City Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon on Tuesdays; at the Georgetown Church of Christ on State Highway 29 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays; at Wolf Ranch Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays; and at Lakeline Mall Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.