If you’ve eaten at Laundry Kitchen & Cocktails, Low Country Kitchen, or Cafe Diva in Steamboat Springs (or, really, any of the mountain town’s fine-dining establishments), you’ve probably tasted Juli and Sam Gordon‘s fresh-baked breads.

The couple launched Smell That Bread Bakery as a wholesale business in April 2014, making everything from challah to baguettes to multigrain. “We were friends with the chefs in town, and they were frustrated they couldn’t find good bread,” Juli says of getting started. “It was something the town desperately needed.”

But the delightfully yeasty smells wafting out the doors just a block off Lincoln Avenue (Steamboat’s main drag) were too enticing to passersby, so they started selling the loaves and cookies to customers through a Dutch door a couple of days a week.

In May, the Gordons debuted a full retail space with an expanded menu that now includes pastries, toast, and sandwiches. (They also added two baker’s assistants and two prep chefs to the team.) The selection of sweet treats has quickly emerged as a top draw. The flaky, just-sweet-enough kouign-amann is a must order, but we suggest buying a variety; the almond croissant and cinnamon-y monkey bread are worthy additions.

The limited menu of three toasts (try the avocado, which comes topped with bacon and crumbles of hard-boiled egg) and three simple sandwiches are meant to recall traditional French boulangeries. Juli, a longtime home baker, and Sam, a chef, were inspired by the French techniques and traditional instruction they received at the San Francisco Baking Institute. “Everything the French do is to highlight the bread,” Juli says. “What I find so attractive is the simplicity of it.”

The sourdough round we brought home from a recent Steamboat adventure had a crunchy crust and a soft, slightly acerbic inside. We found ourselves ripping off hunks to eat plain. The French would surely approve.

135 11th St., Steamboat Springs, 970-761-2692

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.