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Fresh, Out-of-the-Oven Bread and Baked Goods at House of Bread Bakery Cafe

By Marina I. Jokic

Dennis Vik opened the first House of Bread Bakery Café with his wife in 2008 in Albuquerque, specializing in over twenty-five types of specialty breads in addition to a slew of deliciously fresh cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, and a well-stocked lunch menu. The Viks' love of baking has made their small franchise, made up of seven stores strewn across the west, wildly popular with customers.

There are a few things as enticing as the smell of freshly baked bread. It's the kind of aroma that constantly envelops the House of Bread Bakery Café. Vik says that the secret to the distinctive taste of the bread and baked goods at House of Bread Bakery lies in preparing everything from scratch, using only natural and wholesome ingredients, and always serving only the freshest products to the customer.

"We bake about twenty-five to thirty different breads throughout the week, and twelve to fifteen on any given day," Vik explains. If you visit their website, you will see a bread schedule for each day of the week. This way, customers know exactly what their options are before walking into the store.

House of Bread makes sandwich breads, sweet breads, and cheesy breads, both whole-grain and white varieties to name a few. Their sweeter offerings include Snickerdoodle Cookies, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Berry Bars, Lemon Bars, Apricot Walnut Chocolate Bars, regular brownies and brownies with nuts. "Our most popular breads are Grandma's White, Green Chile Cheese Bread, and Honey Whole Wheat," says Vik.

The process of making your own bread is quite delicate and painstaking. For instance, it's especially important to ensure the dough is neither too wet nor too dry, that it has been kneaded adequately, and that it's placed in the oven as soon as it's reached its desired fermentation. The ultimate secret to wonderful bread is of course the billions of yeast cells that make the otherwise unappealing looking blobs of dough into soft and airy clouds. Apparently, New Mexico's high altitude causes the bread to rise more rapidly, which speeds up the process but also makes timing even more critical, Vik points out.

Pictured above is their Green Chili Cheese Bread

House of Bread does not cut corners when it comes to the quality of its ingredients. "Our breads are made from all natural ingredients, and taste like home-made," Vik ensures. Many customers are actually reminded of the bread they ate growing up. There are breads of all types and flavors- sweet, savory, and anything in between. The Apple Cinnamon Swirl is especially popular with breakfast enthusiasts, while the Garlic Cheddar and Basil Parmesan are deliciously savory with a meal at dinner. If you are more of a sandwich-maker, then perhaps the Honey Whole Wheat or the 9-Grain are suitable choices.

Being a small franchise has its advantages; consistently exceptional customer service, an unfailing quality of ingredients, and a reliably delicious final product. Their Albuquerque store opened eight years ago so that it could serve the local university, Nob Hill, and Ridgecrest communities. "Our bread has been so popular that we now draw customers from as far away as Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Edgewood, and Grants," notes Vik. House of Bread also offers a catering service.

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