Dough – Tampa, FL
“You could search for decades to find a boss bakery. You could eat rich buttery croissants…or die trying. That’s one of my boss rules. It feels good to eat some Bruuuu-Lay” – Not Rick Ross
I’ve walked around this state for so long, looking for something. I’ve been searching for yeasty keys on the road map of life, with the belief that there are treasures to be unearthed in the form of breads and danishes. My journey has taken me so very high into the rolling hills of Britton to the deepest depths along the Atlantic coast. Until about six months ago, nothing could sate my hunger for water bagels. There weren’t enough layers of buerre to pacify my passion for a perfect patisserie. Could doughnuts exist that are as good, if not better than Mark Israel’s? I may have experienced traumatic expulsive iridodialysis with vitreous prolapse , because my mind’s eye was blind to its usual logic. Because there I sat, full of doubt that even the most enticing storefront would ever match the love I feel for New York City baked goods.
Then I found Dough.
Well it kind of fell in my lap due to the popularity of its big brother next door. The Tampa Bay area had been proofing for months, awaiting the unique concept of a high quality bake shop. A bake shop to sway attention even from those with an affinity toward fructose.
My friend is all business. He likes to keep his Oakley’s perched on top of his head at all times. He’s known around the office as the guy who wears his Oakley’s perched on the top of his head at all times. He keeps things professional in every respect, and only pays with a debit card that earns him rewards. His breakfast choices tend to be straightforward with a dash of pink Himalayan sea salt.
Naturally, he went right for some breakfasty breads that he could savor for hours as he lay motionless, splayed across the length of the oddly shaped desk that resides in his makeshift office. He chose a percariously thin personal sized baguette, completely stuffed with pork sausage seasoned with Herbes de Provence. He followed it with a smart, all in one breakfast puck. A bacon encapsulated over-easy to medium egg, cooked into a cross between a crumpet and focaccia, with a little Vermont white cheddar. He made smart choices that day. Stories will be told of his courage and quick decision-making in the face of infinite pastrybilities.
I’m a wild stallion. Like Miley Cyrus, I can’t be tamed. I admit it, I’ve got a sweet tooth that goes deep into the nerve endings of my molars. Guys like me need a little walkin’ around money. We stress eat and don’t want our wives knowing every single food purchase we make. I enjoy having cash on hand at all times, just in case a food truck parks in my general vicinity or a less than legal restaurant likes keeping things less than legal by only accepting cash or exotic trades.
En route to the car, we made a pit stop over at the coffee counter so my pastry partner could forfeit any possibility of work for the rest of the day by summoning a bacon latte, laced with strands of luscious smoked belly renderings. What seemed like hours passed, but in the real world it couldn’t have been longer than a two minute wait. We were parking lot bound, our little white boxes full of priceless goods secured so well, not even Mama Fratelli could steal our treasure. Sorry lady, these pastries were worth more than a fifty dollar bill. My box opened first, my hand reaching for the guava and cheese fauxnut (a.k.a. cronut a.k.a. 1/2 donut 1/2 croissant). My teeth sunk in, cutting through the layers of pastry like a hot knife through foie.
I’ve displayed halfhearted admiration for Dominique Ansel, the proclaimed inventor of the cronut for ages. Years before he struck gold with 2013′s most celebrated invention, I would always recommend his flagship NYC store as a destination not to be missed. Sadly, no one except my loyal partner here at Eat a Duck ever took me up on my suggestion. Now you’ll have to wait hours just to get a sniff near the door. My sob story all leads to this, he is a master. I recall it took months to come up with the perfect formula to create the beloved mutant hybrid. I can’t imagine how much trial and error it took to re-create a masterpiece of these proportions. Just so you know, they pulled off a fine rendition. Truth be told, the fauxnut wasn’t even the best thing I ate that day, but it was definitely an impressive feat of modern food science.
If your going to match yeast strains with a titan such as The Doughnut Plant, you have to go no holds barred. Dough did so with style, grace and copious injections of pastry creme. The creme brûlée donut need not be dissected. It only requires a heralding as a textural wonder. Two layers, in stark contrast to each other, a pillow soft squared out yeast dough, and a not so paper-thin crust of crackly torched sugar, served as a liason for two servings worth of rich creme custard. There were only two words, “Holy crap”, and then I quietly put it down and had a moment of reflection.
Learning how to make some of these creations is a task I’d rather pay to enjoy than engage in myself. You might have heard a chef say that it takes a special kind of person to go into pastry, because it’s an exact science. If this the case, then consider Dough, the Bill Nye of Tampa Bay bakeries. Science rules!