Panzenella and Billy Bread – Richmond, Virginia
You know something must be be really good when you drive up to a tiny little building in the middle of an urban neighborhood in Richmond and there are two women standing next to their bikes taking whiffs of the air surrounding the building.
The smell of freshly baked bread filled the city block. Could it be that THE Billy Bread is baking in that little green building???
Executive Chef Walter Bundy, of Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel, told me that Billy Bread was a must have while in Richmond, so we decided to stop by on our way out of town as we were heading to Pennsylvania to see what all the fuss was about! If this chef says it’s good, then it must be good! 🙂
Unfortunately, we did not have time to meet with the master himself, Billy Fallen, the creator of Billy Bread. We are not sure if he is the urban legend or if it’s his bread, but Billy Bread has been part of the Richmond food scene since 1999. The bread has been baked in several locations in Richmond over the years, but we visited the South Allen Street location where he bakes the famous bread today.
This beautiful, hearty bread is a naturally leavened bread that is made with hand ground grains that include spelt, rye, hard red winter wheat and wheat flour. The crust is crunchy and oh, so good when hot out of the oven!
Billy sold the business six years ago to an investor that had grand plans for the bread. Those plans didn’t seem to work, so Billy had the opportunity to buy back his business.