Strawberry Pecan Sweet Bread. French Toast with almonds, apples, cinnamon. Honey Wheat Bread. Cinnamon Rolls.
All it takes is one whiff from the bakery at Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Café in Harrison, Arkansas, and you’ll be ready to taste it all.
Tim Stretton serves as head baker, and holds the distinction of being the first employee of Neighbor’s Mill, hired by owners Mike and Karin Nabors. Mike says, ‘He and I did all the painting and staining of the Mill back in the spring and early summer of 2000 in preparation for our opening.’
Now, Stretton rises early (at 3 a.m., to be specific) to get the bread started – making an average of 250 loaves of bread per day for sale and use in the café. ‘We grind our own wheat, spelt and rye berries,’ he says. ‘French breads are our specialty, but we do a starter for sourdough that is five years old and delicious. Our dough process starts with a sponge. We add water, yeast, clover honey, but no sugar or preservatives.
‘Everything is made fresh,’ he adds. ‘The bagel is the only thing we don’t do from scratch.’ Stretton bakes all weekend – not just bread, but sweets and pastries as well, including the popular cinnamon rolls. Their products are supplied to health food and grocery stores around the country, including as far away as Florida.
The Neighbor’s Mill concept includes a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all featuring the fresh breads and including other specialty items such as their honey pecan chicken salad. Tip: That’s what Stretton likes best, served up on his honey wheat bread. They also offer soups such as the most-requested potato with bacon.
‘We try to invent,’ says Stretton. ‘Mike encourages us to try new things with the ingredients we already have. We try to stay away from what anyone else is doing. I have created a few of my own recipes that no one else gets!’
All Neighbor’s Mill breads are bagged at room temperature and guaranteed fresh for five days, even without food preservatives. ‘We won’t sell day old bread. We want to give people breads that are good.’
Hmmm. Maybe that’s why this editor ended up buying two bags of breads and rolls ‘for the road.’ And, with a little help from friends, ate every bite. No five-day guarantee needed.
Kind of fits with the Neighbor’s Mill tag line: “Break Bread with Neighbor’s.”
Check out our video 'spotlight’ interview with Neighbor’s Mill owner Mike Nabors.