Teddy and Martin Paudrups are the principle bakers responsible for attracting the attention of an increasing number of Calhoun County residents. Fans are enjoying such products as Bama Sourdough bread, brioche, various cookies, pretzel breads, lemon cakes, vanilla and chocolate French macarons, cheesecakes, scones, croissants, Danish pastries, and, occasionally, something new.
I spent an afternoon with the two recently, watching as they massaged a large tub of dough into shapely, football sized loaves. Eventually, I put my own hands onto a loaf. I pulled on my loaf’s soft-as-a-puppy “neck,” folded over its “shoulders,” stretched and tucked its “ears,” and plopped the quivering substance into a cloth-lined basket that was to be placed in a refrigerator overnight. It would continue to proof for 16 hours.
I had bought and eaten a similar loaf the week before, and I thought how much work, attention, and, yes, passion, had gone into its creamy, yogurt-like flavor. My Bama sourdough bread was great when it was eaten fresh from its bag or, later, when toasted.
As the brothers worked, they explained that love for family brought them to Anniston. The two had lived in Michigan with their parents, Alice and Marty, and a sister, Anastasia. They moved because relatives Linda and Rick Burke, who own Mata’s Greek Pizza next door, had the then-empty bakery available for use.
“We wanted to be closer to family,” said Martin. The boys’ grandparents are the late Bill and Mata Rodopoulos, who created Mata’s Pizza in the early 1980s.
A few years back, Teddy graduated from high school. He and Martin were deciding where to work, perhaps together. After much research, Alice learned that the King Arthur Flour Education Center in Vermont offered weeklong courses. Bakers sign up from throughout the country. She encouraged her sons to register, and they came back “almost addicted,” said Teddy. They made plans to open a bakery focusing on Artisan breads and pastries.
“The course took us from zero to sixty,” said Martin, “and we have continued to learn from there.” Both continue to take other classes and communicate with professional bakers whom they have met.
On the afternoon I visited, Teddy and Martin worked on the sour dough and answered buzzers that went off from time to time throughout the bakery. Teddy left the worktable to check on lemon cheesecakes. He returned with a jar of homemade lemon extract. I smelled it and was amazed how strong the lemon fragrance was. I remembered eating one of the small lemon Bundt cakes a few weeks ago and now understand why it tastes like a fresh lemon has been picked from a tree and squeezed over it. Martin opened the lid of the homemade vanilla extract and let me smell it. He explained that it takes weeks to make in order for vodka to extract the full flavor of the vanilla beans.
The brothers were working on a Tuesday, the day before the bakery opens each week. Even when they are “off,” they often work, traveling to Atlanta or Birmingham for prized ingredients. The bakery’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Customers may sample each day’s wares. Also, they may visit the bakery’s Facebook website to stay abreast of each day’s featured items. Go to www.facebook.com/ABGoods and, soon, to www.artisanalbakedgoods.com. Teddy is building a fan base on the site and is encouraging customers to give him feedback and suggestions tailored to their tastes.
Email Sherry at email@example.com.