A couple months ago, I read that Knead Bakehouse & Provisions was opening in St. Louis’s Southampton neighborhood. I’m always on the lookout for new bakeries in town so I was excited to hear about Knead. I stopped by about a month ago on their opening day.
The first time I walked through the door, I thought: “This place is going to be a success.” I thought this because it was already packed during the first hour of their first day in business. But also, I could tell that Knead was serving up real baked goods.
A lot of times, bakeries ship in frozen products and pass them off as their own. I say this having worked at a number of bakeries that did this. There’s nothing wrong with a frozen pain au chocolat. In fact, the ones from Trader Joe’s taste great.
But there’s a noticeable difference between fresh and frozen. You can tell everything at Knead is made by hand, and an expert hand at that. It’s rustic and delicious, and it happens to look pretty on a plate.
The bakery is the brainchild of AJ and Kirsten Brown, who for a while were baking bread out of a kitchen in a retirement facility in St. Charles. The Browns increased their business and raised funds through a Kickstarter campaign to open Knead. They’re an inspiration to me because I hope to start a small bakery one day.
My favorite thing about Knead is their reinvention of the classics. The bakery offers a small menu with standard bakery fare such as jelly-filled doughnuts, soups, sandwiches, and morning buns. But doughnuts come in flavors such as cranberry spice jelly and lemon poppyseed, and morning buns have smoked gouda, kale, and lemon-butter onions. Everything tastes like it was baked that morning because it was.
Knead’s lunch menu is also impressive, not so much because of its size but because of its quality. I got a half-and-half deal the other day, so half a smoked turkey sandwich and a harvest salad. The turkey was fresh, the sunflower sprouts on top were fresh and crunchy, and the bread was soft, slathered with a mayo and grainy mustard combination.
The salad almost stole the show, though. It came with crunchy wheat berries, shredded cheese, shaved radish, and smokey pecans. I thought that I would neglect it for the sandwich like I usually do, but this time, I finished the salad first.
If/when you stop by Knead, don’t leave without trying one of their housemade sodas. I got one with juniper and grapefruit and it was so refreshing. I bet it will taste even better this summer when I need something to cool me down in 100-plus-degree weather.
I’m happy that Knead is in the neighborhood. I think St. Louis needs more small bakeries committed to making pastries with fresh, local ingredients. Knead fits the bill. I can’t wait to go back again soon for breakfast and lunch. No matter what, I’ll walk out with a doughnut. To do otherwise would be pastry sacrilege.