One bite of the gooey organic egg — stacked with tangy sautéed greens, savory bacon, and coastal cheddar with herb aioli on a soft onion poppy seed roll — is all it takes to know the new Madruga Bakery is a special place.
Open just two months and tucked into Coral Gables off U.S. 1 on Madruga Avenue, next to Green Monkey Yoga, the bakery is the brainchild of Naomi Harris, 27. Her dad, Larry Harris, who helps out, said she enjoys the challenge.
“She goes to great efforts to procure high quality ingredients. There’s organic apples, sugar, butter, eggs. It’s artisan,” he said.
Sonora Loaf is the signature bread here. It’s made from flour that is milled on-site using organic heritage wheat berries from BKW Farms in Arizona and Heartland Mill in Kansas.
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Madruga Bakery’s mill, which can be seen behind glass, was custom designed by the baker Fulton Forde of Boulted Bread in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“It’s cool that I can control every step of the process,” Naomi said. “It’s really important and I can develop different profiles.”
“With bread, it’s alive. It’s naturally fermenting and there’s so much complexity and simplicity. You have to respond to bread. You’re watching it all the time,” she said.
Madruga Bakery is not just about breads, though you also can find pecan raisin and multigrain sourdough. There are delicately frosted cakes, babka, melt-in-your mouth cookies, muffins, croissants, alfajores and macaroons.
Lunch is fresh quiche, salads with grains or greens, house-made chicken soup, and wild caught yellowfin tuna salad or organic chicken salad with walnuts and golden raisins that can be enjoyed in a sandwich or atop a salad.
“I love the way she mixes different herbs into a simple dish to kick it up a notch,” said guest Leonor Liebler. “I have already been here five times and I just found it two weeks ago. The space is airy and it’s a great place to meet a friend for a healthy meal.”
Sandwiches, served on ciabatta rolls, include roasted vegetables and portabella with goat cheese and salsa verde, coffee cumin rubbed roast beef with Brussels sprout slaw, and the Madruga BAT which is Niman Ranch bacon, arugula, house tomato jam and aioli. There’s a vegan roasted sweet potato sandwich with spiced cashew cream and pesto served on whole wheat.
Besides the egg sandwich, breakfast includes yogurt parfait with house-made granola, and hearty grain porridge that is vegan and gluten free. Toasts are thick cut slices of Sonora Loaf with almond butter and jam, house ricotta and berry or tomato jam, and cultured butter with Florida honey.
Coffee and espresso are ground from Durham, North Carolina’s Counter Culture beans. The lemonade is house made and the orange juice from Tropical Fresh is squeezed to order.
“My dad saw this guy in a truck one day with a ‘fresh oranges’ sign and he flagged him down,” Naomi said.
“I’m not a baker but I’m very entrepreneurial,” Larry said.
“We have a family network. Naomi is the third-generation food entrepreneur in Coral Gables and South Miami,” he said. His grandfather started Red Road Food Market in South Miami, and Larry and his brother Stuart started Pollo Tropical, which they sold in 1998.
“I have aunts I used to see just once or twice a year who are helping me now,” Naomi said.
She started baking when she was at Miami Palmetto Senior High and made small challah bread loaves, about seven inches long, with her B’nai B’rith Youth Organization chapter Zericha BBG.
“We baked every Friday for the residents of The Palace in Kendall. We would go visit the Jewish patients with mini loaves.”
She now makes challah at her bakery every Friday.
Naomi went to Northwestern University to study political science with a minor in environmental policy and culture, but after college she wanted to keep baking.
She joined World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and as a WWOOFer worked two small farms. She moved to Anchorage, Alaska, to work at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop and took a class at the San Francisco Baking Institute January 2011.
Back at Fire Island, she slowly transitioned to making bread and then traveled to England to Tracebridge Sourdough where she lived and baked at the Somerset “bakery in the woods.”
She worked with Zak the Baker for six months and with pastry chef Trew Sterling at Lyon + Lyon, as well as at Cafe Curuba to help develop the pastry program.
“I fell in love with the craft of baking bread. I used to think I’d retire and open a bakery,” Naomi said.
Everyone wanted to help her open Madruga Bakery sooner that that. “My old boss from Alaska even came down in December to give advice. It was really helpful,” she said.
Madruga Bakery has high ceilings, an open kitchen, and seating for about 40 people. Bags and boxes of wheat are stacked up waiting to be milled. Wire shelving has dough at various rising stages. Small plants line shelves. Vintage flour sacks and African mud cloths found on Etsy decorate the white walls.
“I really like textiles. I want it to be homey here,” Naomi said as she worked some dough and gave it a little pat.
“I’m always trying to make the bread better,” she said. “I want this to be a neighborhood bakery. I want to be here in 20 years.”
▪ What: Madruga Bakery
▪ Where: 1430 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 117, Coral Gables
▪ Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
▪ Prices: $3-$12
▪ Phone: 305-262-6130