Barrio Bread, Tucson's award-winning bakery, coming to Phoenix this fall | Phoenix New Times

Baked Goods

Barrio Bread, Tucson’s award-winning bakery, coming to Phoenix

James Beard award-winning baker Don Guerra is bringing Barrio Bread to the Valley.
Barrio Bread's Don Guerra and Chompie's Neal Borenstein have teamed up to create a "Sonoran-style" bagel that will be available in Phoenix starting in September.
Barrio Bread's Don Guerra and Chompie's Neal Borenstein have teamed up to create a "Sonoran-style" bagel that will be available in Phoenix starting in September. Janelle Gleeson
Share this:
Celebrated Tucson baker Don Guerra is coming to the Valley — at least for one day a week — and he’s bringing his apron with him.

The Barrio Bread founder and owner and James Beard award-winning Outstanding Baker will take over Hayden Flour Mills’ kitchen at its new Gilbert location on Tuesdays starting in September. It will be the first time Valley residents will be able to get their hands on the Tempe native’s bread locally.

“To come back home … that is going to be fun for me,” says Guerra, who grew up about a mile from the original mill.

Guerra, known for his use of local, heritage grains and natural leavening, will turn out Barrio Bread’s beautifully designed, crusty sourdoughs, baguettes and his newly launched bagels, among other baked goods in the kitchen at Hayden's Gilbert location. The new facility will also house their mill, customer pick-up, warehouse and offices. Barrio Bread items will be available to be reserved online in what Guerra calls “click and collect.”

Guerra has been a long-time supporter and user of Hayden products and has a signature flour blend with the mill. With the proximity to freshly milled flour at the facility, Guerra says he hopes to experiment with some new flours, stretching beyond Barrio’s normal offerings in Tucson, but while still keeping the breads regional and naturally leavened.

“It’s a great opportunity to be one door away from the mill, which is, for me, a dream come true,” Guerra says.

It’s also a way for him to deepen his relationship with Hayden. Mill co-founder Emma Zimmerman, who received a James Beard nomination this year for her cookbook, “The Miller’s Daughter," agrees.

“That’s pretty cool to have that long-time friendship and history. It’s exciting to finally get to do something a little bigger together,” she says.

Selling fresh-baked bread at Hayden Flour Mills invites people to understand more about their food and where it comes from, Zimmerman says. Collaborating together is something they’ve discussed for a while, and finally, “the stars aligned,” Guerra says.

Guerra worked at bakeries in Flagstaff before he launched Barrio Bread out of his garage in Tucson in 2009. For Guerra, his baking pop-up at Hayden feels like a return to those days in the garage.

“It’s going to be fun to be back in my baker clothes, floured up and greeting people,” he says, noting he’s been more focused on managing Barrio Bread of late. “For me to go back (to baking), I’m so excited to have that creativity … That’s going to be really energizing for me to get back into the bread and get dirty and make something beautiful.”
click to enlarge
Barrio Bread is distinctive for its use of regional grain and natural leavening.
Janelle Gleeson

Barrio, Chompie’s partner to create ‘Sonoran-style’ bagel

Part of Guerra’s menu at the bakery inside Hayden Flour Mills will include Barrio Bagels, which he developed with Chompie’s Neal Borenstein. Instead of trying to approximate a New York or Montreal-style bagel, the bakers instead leaned into the local ingredients to come up with a “Sonoran-style” bagel.

“We came up with a recipe together using some of the concepts of Chompie’s and using many of the concepts from Don,” says Borenstein, who is an owner and founder of the Arizona bakery and deli empire. “There’s a lot of unique differences and I think we’ve created something really special.”

Creating their “Sonoran-style” bagel was a year in the making, Guerra says, noting the collaboration was a natural partnership. To develop the recipe, they use the same approach Guerra has taken with his other breads – employing natural leaving and Hayden’s Sonoran white wheat.

“It’s nearly a whole-grain bagel that eats and appears like a sifted-flour bagel,” Guerra says. “The flavor of the grain comes through in the bagel, which is really amazing.”

There are also no added oils or sugar, Guerra says, in efforts to make this a healthier take on the bread.

The bagels are mixed, boiled and par-baked at Chompie’s and then Guerra finishes the bake. He debuted plain, sesame and everything bagels at a pop-up in Tucson on July 1. He says he’ll continue to do pop-ups to grow interest along with selling the bagels at Hayden’s bakery on Tuesdays.

“That went extremely well,” Guerra says of the launch. “So far the response of the community is they’re ready for it.”

Barrio Bread

Available at Hayden Flour Mills, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, starting in September
932 N. Colorado St., Gilbert
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.